Interest waiver for Noida housing projects affected by NGT ban near Okhla bird park
The NGT had halted construction because Uttar Pradesh did not (in 2013) declare the areas within 10-km radius of national parks and bird sanctuaries as eco-sensitive zones. The forest ministry on August 19, 2015 specified a 100 metre eco-zone and cleared all realty projects.
The Noida authority has waived off interest to 20 housing projects whose work was affected for 77 days due to the National Green Tribunal’s ban on construction in August 2013 as these are located within 10 kilometres of the Okhla bird sanctuary.
The exact amount is yet to be calculated but it is estimated to be about R200 crore.
The NGT imposed had the ban because the UP government had not notified the eco-sensitive zone around the bird sanctuary, a protected wildlife habitat.
The Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) had been for long demanding interest waiver for the period when the NGT order was in effect.
“We have declared zero period (zero interest for defaulter builders) for 77 days, when work was halted due to the NGT order. We have also waived off the penalty interest to help builders to deliver struck realty projects,” said Amit Mohan Prasad chief executive officer of the Noida authority.
The authority has waived off all interest on land dues from August 14, 2013 to October 28, 2013, when work had totally stopped.
Builders had from 2007 onward bought group housing land after paying 10% of the total land cost. The builders were supposed to pay 90% land cost in instalments.
The authority charges 12% interest on the principal amount and 3% more if a builder fails to clear instalments on time.
“We have also waived the 3% additional penal interest from October 29, 2013 to August 19, 2015. It is the period when builders’ work was affected as the case was finally settled only in 2015,” said another Noida authority official.
An environmentalist, Amit Kumar, had moved the NGT seeking a ban on construction without environmental clearances near the 3.5-sq km sanctuary -- home to more than 300 species of birds and notified as one of the 466 important bird areas in India.
The NGT had halted construction because Uttar Pradesh did not (in 2013) declare the areas within 10-km radius of national parks and bird sanctuaries as eco-sensitive zones.
Finally, the ministry of environment and forest on August 19, 2015 issued a notification specifying a 100 metre eco-zone around the sanctuary and cleared all realty projects struck for over two years.
Homebuyers paying penalties for defaulting on flat instalments to builders’ also demanded a similar waiver.
“If builders get financial relief, it should be passed onto us. The builders kept charging penalty from us even when they cited NGT orders for delay in construction,” said Sachin Sharma, a buyer.
Officials feel the waiver should be passed onto buyers.
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