NGT- Okhla Notification Okayed, But Will the Relief Be Short-Lived?

After over a year of suspense and agonising wait for thousands of home buyers, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) gave the final go-ahead for the notification fixing the Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) around the Okhla Bird Sanctuary in Noida on August 19, 2015.

The final notification says that the ESZ will range from 1.27 km on the northern boundary of the sanctuary till the DND flyway and 100 meters on the other three sides.

This means around 60,000 to 1 lakh home buyers will now be able to move into their dream homes. These apartments were ready for possession but home buyers could not take possession as these fell in the radius of 10 kilometres from the Okhla Bird Sanctuary and were denied completion certificates as a result of an order by the National Green Tribunal, the country’s green Court imposed in October, 2013.

As per the National Green Tribunal order, any residential building falling within a radius of 10 kilometres from the Okhla Bird Sanctuary would not get completion certificates until the Eco-Sensitive Zone around the sanctuary is notified or the housing project got a clearance from the National Board for Wildlife.

The 10-km radius was based on a directive issued by the National Board for Wildlife (NBW) in 2005 that had deemed such a radius around sanctuaries to be considered eco-sensitive unless the respective state notified a certain buffer zone around sanctuaries.

As a result of the NGT order around 50 real estate projects went into a limbo adversely impacting the investments made by home buyers. Additionally, the real estate market of NOIDA took a huge hit as consumer sentiments hit an all time low.

Manoj Gaur, President, CREDAI (NCR) told NDTV, “this has come as a huge relief for the home buyers as well as the developers. More than anything else it will clearly be a sentiment booster”.

However, NGT may still have its last word in the matter. NGT has already clarified that the notification can be challenged by stakeholders. On August 17, while directing MoEF to issue the final notification within three weeks, the green court also said that “all concerned stakeholders or aggrieved persons” could challenge the notification in accordance with law. But till such time it is good news for the much aggrieved home buyers of Noida.

Oineetom Ojha, Special Correspondent- Real Estate.


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