In a huge relief to the tens of thousands of home buyers around Noida and adjoining south-east Delhi areas, the environment ministry on Tuesday spelt out the dimensions of the eco-sensitive zone around Noida’s Okhla bird sanctuary by limiting it to one kilometre.
The decision prompted the Noida authority to issue a statement saying it will promptly issue occupation (completion) certificates to all 27 realty projects that had been stalled in the past one year.
The reaction came after the ministry of environment and forest (MOEF) gave its in-principal approval to an eco-zone around Noida’s Okhla Bird Sanctuary. The Centre said the process of demarcating the eco-sensitive zone was cleared and a notification in this regard will be issued within a week. The non-declaration of the eco-zone had restrained the authority from issuing occupation certificates to realtors.
While making the announcement, Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar said: "It is a big relief for people who had booked (flats). Many people were already been paying monthly EMI. Hard-earned money of people was invested there. They will get relief. The confusion has been ended. The final notification will be done in a week. The orders of the NGT have been fully followed."
Rama Raman, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Noida authority, said: “The day we will receive orders from concerned authorities on the eco-zone around Okhla sanctuary, we will officially begin issuing occupation certificates to realtors so that home buyers do not suffer anymore. We will issue occupation certificates promptly to those realtors who have submitted deed of declaration and other required papers in the planning department of the authority. We will speed up the process of issuance of a building occupation certificate to ensure that home buyers get possession expeditiously."
Once a notification is issued, the government will allow home buyers outside the ESZ to get occupancy certificates of their flats, which had been pending for quite some time as the NGT had passed an order barring development of any infrastructure within ten-kilometre radius from the sanctuary's boundary.
The ministry's notification last year, which was cleared on Tuesday, says that ESZ will be the area up to 100 metres from the eastern, western and southern boundary and up to 1.27 kms from the northern boundary of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary, which extends up to DND flyover across the riverbed situated in Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddh Nagar district and southeast district of NCT Delhi.
Raman said the defaulter builders, who have not cleared monthly dues, will not get occupation certificates. Defaulter builders will first have to deposit dues to be eligible to get occupation certificate to a ready building. The Noida authority needs to recover nearly Rs 13,000 crore from builders who have not paid land cost regularly on monthly basis, officials said.
According to the authority, around 30 realtors have already applied for obtaining occupation certificates for their buildings. The authority said a realtor for a project has to prepare a set of 20-25 pages to obtain occupation certificates. And it takes 2-3 weeks to get this certificate that enables a realtor to offer flat possession to a buyer.
“We will review all realtors’ papers on a case to case basis and do the needful. Realtors should prepare their required documents well in advance so that buyers do not suffer,” said Raman.
Apart from housing units, 25 lakh sqr feet of retail, commercial and institutional development is in a ready-to-move condition, with an investment of Rs 20,000 crore, the realtors’ body said. The 12 major realtors affected by the eco-zone issue have welcomed the Centre’s move.
The non-declaration of eco-zone was affecting 30,000 home-buyers, whose units are ready to move in, and 70,000 under-construction houses.
“We welcome the move of MoEF because it will immensely benefit home-buyers, who were waiting for possession of their houses for a long time. The move will give an economic boost to Noida’s realty sector,” said RK Arora, CMD of Supertech, who has its mixed-land use project in Sector 94, which is located next to Okhla sanctuary.
Okhla Bird Sanctuary is at the Okhla barrage over Yamuna river and is situated in Noida Gautam Buddh Nagar district on Delhi-Uttar Pradesh state border. It is known as a haven for over 300 bird species, especially waterbirds.
The Uttar Pradesh registration and stamp department is estimated to earn revenue of nearly Rs 600-700 crore if buyers start getting their property registered, following obtaining occupation certificate, officials said.
As per norms, a buyer cannot get his/her property registered without obtaining occupation certificate. Also, buyers, who had purchased flats in 2012, will not have to pay extra on registry of a flat.
“Buyers will have to spend same amount of money now in 2015 for property registration as they had required in 2012 because we have not increased circle rates for flat in last three years,” said SK Singh, an official of the UP registration and stamp department.
“MOEF move will give a major boost to realty and other businesses in Noida. When nearly 1 lakh buyers shift to Noida, they will require commercial facilities, transportation, healthcare and entertainment areas among others. Therefore, with new population will come new opportunities in Noida. We welcome this move of MOEF,” said Amit Modi, director of ABA Corp, vice president of realtors’ body CREDAI (western UP).
(With inputs from PTI)