After 10 months of gloom and uncertainly, Noida Extension is back to life.
Much to the delight of homebuyers, builders resumed construction in the controversial housing hub in Greater Noida on Tuesday.
The Allahabad High Court had in October 2011 ruled that housing projects would remain stalled till they were cleared by the NCR Planning Board.The board, which comes under the union urban development ministry, approved a revised master plan (2021) of Greater Noida on Friday.
RK Arora of Supertech said, "We have begun construction. The authority on Monday told us (the builders) to resume (construction). An official letter will reach us on Wednesday."
"We have called manufacturers to test and overhaul the machines and equipment lying unused for long. Labourers had left the sites; the contractors are getting them back again," Arora said.
Supertech has three projects in Noida Extension with a mandate to build 25,000 flats in all.
Anil Sharma of another realty firm, Amrapali, said: "This is a huge relief. We're changing the steel and other equipment that had gathered rust. The workforce is also being tapped again."
Sharma, whose company has five projects comprising 5,000 flats in Noida Extension, said: "We're committed to providing flats to the existing buyers at old rates. Efforts are also on to maintain the affordable housing concept in the area by not drastically raising rates for new bookings."
The Noida Extension dream went sour about a year ago when courts quashed land acquisition in Shahberi and Patwari villages, where 26,500 flats had been booked.
A larger bench of the high court had last October offered more relief to farmers and upheld land acquisition in Greater Noida. But it had also asked the authority to get its plan approved by the planning board before resuming construction.
"We are really very happy. The authority has said the period during which construction remained halted would be treated as zero period," said Abhishek Kumar, a buyer.
Builders had not been able to pay installments towards the land allotted as the titles became disputed. The authority will not charge interest for the zero period. "Builders have been told to pass on the relief to existing buyers," said authority CEO Rama Raman.
Of the 2.5 lakh flats sanctioned in Noida Extension, 1.5 lakh flats had already been booked.
Builders invested about R15,000 crore in 60 projects. So far, buyers paid about R1,500 crore for booking the flats.