In the wake of the HC ban on groundwater for construction purposes, real estate developers in the city have come down heavily on the Haryana government for failing to provide adequate water despite charging them crores of rupees in the form of external development charges (EDC).
National Real Estate Developers Council (Naredco) and other realty organisations are planning to become a party in the ongoing case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court to put across the industry's concerns and also "to protect the interest of lakhs of end-users and investors who have purchased housing units and plots" in upcoming projects.
Town and Country Planning Department of Haryana has issued show-cause notices to 52 developers for using borewells for extracting groundwater for 81 projects in Gurgaon. The developers cautioned that the investment of lakhs of individuals was at stake if the court maintained a blanket ban on the use of groundwater for construction and Gurgaon might witness a 2009-like situation when property buyers had taken to streets demanding their money back from the developers because of delay in completion of projects.
The developers have accused the state government of making them "a scapegoat" for hiding its inefficiency in providing them adequate infrastructure, including canal water for which it had taken thousands of crores of rupees in the name of EDC and internal infrastructure charges. According to them, the EDC had gone up many times over the years. In 1983, it was R1 lakh per acre while currently it is R2.34 crore per acre in the case of a group housing/high-rise residential project and R78 lakh per acre for a plotted township (minimum 100 acres). Apart from these charges, developers have to shell out a huge some for getting the licence for their projects.
NK Sehgal, former senior consultant of Ansals API and author of Handbook on Real Estate Township Development, said the state government has failed to provide water in townships which were developed two-three decades before. "Sushant Lok, which was floated in 1983, gets just 40% of the total requirement, forcing the developer to extract groundwater as Huda had failed to provide adequate quantity of canal water in this area. The Huda is repeating the same mistake in case of new townships coming up in Sector 58-115 also."
In lieu of EDC, the government is supposed to provide the developers water, roads, sewage connections. Brig (retd) RS Singh, the director general of the council, said, "The water has to be provided by the state government that has collected crores from us. We have been hearing about NCR Water Canal for long, but it is yet to become a reality. The state government is bound to provide infrastructure, including water, in lieu of EDC and IFC."
According to a rough estimate, the state government has collected about R3,000 crore in the form of EDC and IFC from the developers since 2008. As many as 500 licences with 90% for group housing or high-rise projects have been issued by the Town and Country Planning Department.