Was Noida Authority unaware of massive changes in prestigious project’s layout plan?
Can a builder change the layout plans of a project and sell part of the project to another developer? Can four towers in the project of 20 to 26 floors be converted to six towers with 45 floors each? On top of that, does the Noida Development Authority have no idea of such massive changes in a project’s plans? These are the questions arising from a writ petition filed in the Allahabad High Court by Mohinder Kumar Bhatla and Aviral Bhatla, investors in the Jaypee Greens Kristal Court luxury project in Sector 128, Noida.
The Kristal Court project, part of which was sold around three years after its launch by Jaypee to the builder Mahagun India and launched as Mahagun Manorial, an ambitious luxury project, allegedly violates the provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Apartment (Promotion of Construction, Ownership and Maintenance) Act, 2010. The layout plans of the project have also not been approved by the Noida Authority – a fact admitted by the Authority in Allahabad High Court. The petitioners who had bought apartments in Kristal Court smelt a rat after they saw newspaper advertisements of Mahagun Manorial, its layout plan covering almost half of what used to be the original Kristal Court plan.Talking to this correspondent, Aviral Bhatla said that "Kristal Court, spread over 463.60 hectares, is a part of Jaypee Greens in Sector 128, Noida. People had bought apartments on the basis of the initial layout plans, which had 11 towers with open park and common amenities. Four towers were to stand on one side of a golf course and seven on the other side. When Mahagun Manorial was advertised, however,it showed Kristal Court as a small project comprising of just four towers on one side. Out of the seven towers in the original plan, four were shown as part of Mahagun Manorial and the remaining three towers were shown as reserved by Jaypee for future development."
Bhatla said the homebuyers did not have a problem with the space reserved for four Kristal Court towers in the initial plan being sold to Mahagun. “What bothered us was that the four towers, which were supposed to have 20 to 26 floors, have turned to six towers, to be built really close to each other, having 45 floors, complete with a helipad. Brochures of the new project show that the towers have no space between each other, preventing free flow of air and completely blocking out sunlight from the golf course,” adds Bhatla.
Suspecting that the Noida Authority had allowed Jaypee or Mahagun to amend original layout plans, the Bhatlas then filed the writ petition in the Allahabad High Court, arguing that “before amending the original sanctioned plan, prior permission of the intending purchasers should have been taken as required under the UP Apartment (Promotion of Construction, Ownership and Maintenance) Act. So any alteration/amendment in the original plan is illegal.”
Much to the surprise of the petitioners, Noida Authority informed the court that it had neither revised nor amended nor sanctioned any fresh layout plan in the Jaypee Greens Group Housing Society. The petition had also made a plea to quash the amended plan but no argument over the matter took place as the Authority said in court that it had not amended the original plan. “Under the circumstances, the allegations made by the petitioner that the initial layout plan has been amended by bifurcation/division/alternation doesn’t stand. That be so, we don’t find any merit in this petition warranting interference in writ jurisdiction,” the court ordered.
The Kristal Court homebuyers are satisfied by the order, but the bigger question now is how the developer Mahagun advertised a layout plan not approved by the Noida Authority.
“If we go by the Noida Authority’s version, Mahagun Manorial is basically four towers of Krystal Court – two with G+20 and two others with G+26 floors. However Mahagun Manorial’s brochures showed six towers each with 45 storeys. There is a big film star promoting the project. What if someone buys an apartment there? Isn’t such an advertising misleading the homebuyer as he might lose his money investing in a project for which no Authority approvals have been acquired?” asks Aviral.
Homebuyers are also questioning why the Noida Authority has not taken any action against the developer. “When allottees of Kristal Court can notice the misleading advertisement, why can’t Noida Authority do so? Under section 4 (1) of the UP Apartment Act 2010, it’s an offence to launch any project without getting its layout plan approved,” he adds. Efforts to get a reaction from Noida Authority proved futile.
Project as per approved plans, says Jaypee
When asked about the present status of the Kristal court project, the response from the Jaypee group was: “In order to have clarity in this regard please note that the development in Noida by Jaypee Group is divided into various sub-projects. It includes residential, commercial, institutional and recreational development as per the layout plan approved by Noida Authority. The development as per the layout plan is being carried out in a phased manner since the year 2008 as per the NOIDA Building Regulations. The various group housing clusters/pockets are given names primarily for identification purposes."
“Jaypee has been given the right to develop the properties on its own or through any other person under arrangements considered most appropriate for the said purpose. The arrangement with Mahagun is in line with the said right of Jaypee."
“Jaypee Greens Wish Town Project is continuing as per the layout plans approved by NOIDA Authority from time to time. The four tower of Kristal Court Sub-project are under construction. You may note the following in this regard."
“We may also mention here that one buyer along with the joint allottee in Kristal Court had filed a Writ Petition in the Hon’ble High Court of Allahabad on 27th April 2015 alleging certain incorrect facts. The Hon’ble Court after examining did not find any merit in this petition and dismissed the writ petition in the first hearing itself vide its order dated 30.04.2015.”
Commenting on this, Aviral Bhatla said, “On one hand the builder says that Jaypee Greens Wish Town Project is continuing as per the layout plans approved by NOIDA Authority from time to time and the four tower of Kristal Court Sub-project are under construction. However, when the Kristal Court project was sold in 2011-12, it was projected as having 11 towers on both sides of the golf course. Where have the rest of the towers gone? This shows that the plan has been amended without taking the consent of allottees.”