While there is no denying that we need to maintain the bird’s habitat, Authorities seems to have forgotten about the habitat of thousands of home buyer in Noida. Home buyers in 10 km aerial distance are suffering from the year old order from National Green Tribunal(NGT) order.
After an year long debate, National Green Tribunal in April 2013 decided to halt the handover of close to 100000 apartments In Noida. It decided that they were built too close to the Okhla Bird Sanctuary, a four-square-kilometer island on the Yamuna River, which is an important rest stop for hundreds of types migratory birds.
While the home buyers are not at fault, the negligence of authorities and greed of city developers have broken more dreams than the apartments built. Even after making full payments for their apartments, people have not been able to move into their apartment.
The Green Tribunal says construction of projects within a 10 kilometer radius of the sanctuary cannot be given a so-called “completion certificate/ OC,” which states the project was built to code. It is the last clearance needed for builders to hand over properties to buyers.
The NGT Order:
- Projects where construction is already completed, the construction shall be subject to the final order passed by the Tribunal and the authority shall not give any completion certificate to such constructed buildings.
- Buildings which are half way through, we permitted the construction to go on without prejudice and subject to final order which will be passed by the Tribunal.
- No permission shall be granted by any public authority for New Projects, till final orders are passed by NGT.
- Uttar Pradesh government has already notified the reduced sensitive zone around Okhla Bird Sanctuary.
- Central government after considering new eco sensitive zone notified the draft and invited the objections within 60 days of notification.
- It is since pending with the government and no official stand has been taken on it.
Current Status: [PENDING WITH CENTRAL GOVT.]
[Technical Understanding of the Issue]:-
How did the issue unfolded:
- Environment activists filed an appeal with NGT to stop construction in 10 KM radius around Okhla Bird Sanctuary.
- Activists demand demolition of structures where construction is being carried out without clearance from National Wildlife Board.
- Activist relies on the following guidelines: Ministry of Environment and Forest on 9.02.2011 by which the Government has declared ”eco-sensitive zone” around the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries to an extent of 10 KMS.
- Observations made in Goa Foundation case: Apex Court has directed the Government of India to convene a meeting of State Governments and decide about the “eco-sensitive area” and till such decision is taken and notified, the radius of 10 Km shall be treated as “eco sensitive area”.
Department of Forest’s stand :
- 10 km radius of the boundaries of the National Park/Wildlife sanctuaries should be notified as under Eco Fragile Zone under Section 3(v) Environmental Protection Act. It is also stated that Addl. Director General of Forest (Wildlife) in the letter dated 06.02.2002 has requested all the States to list the areas which fall within 10 Km radius of the boundaries of the National Park/Wildlife Sanctuaries as Eco Fragile Zone.
- Declaration of eco sensitive zone has been made out by the Government of India and it is the duty of the State Governments to take appropriate steps.
Noida Authority’s stand:
- Noida accepted that 55 projects falls under 10 kms radius.
- That out of the 55 projects, 6 are the projects which are outside the 10 km radius.
- In 7 projects no construction has been commenced and the layout and building plans are yet to be sanctioned by the authorities.
- In respect of 15 projects out of the 49, construction has been completed and completion certificates have been issued.
- Further out of the remaining 27 projects the environment clearance has been received in respect of 25 numbers.
- 2 projects are of the built-up area of 6,000 sq. meters and 8,000 sq. meters respectively and,
therefore, they do not require environmental clearance.
The National Board for Wild Life’s stand:
- Eco sensitive zones would have to be site specific and would be regulatory rather than prohibitory of specific activities.
- State Government will have to be consulted in this regard and only after obtaining concurrence, a final decision can be taken up.
The NGT’s stand:
- It is incumbent on the State Governments, that when the Government of India has taken a policy decision and the Hon’ble Supreme Court has also stated in accordance with the policy that 10 Km radius shall be eco fragile zone, the State Governments ought to have followed the same. In the event of the State Government deciding otherwise as directed by the Hon’ble Apex Court the same should be considered by the Government of India.
- The State Government and the Union of India have not taken any decision in this regard and according to him the slackening attitude of both the State & Central Governments show that the Governments have least interest in the environmental protection especially relating to the Okhla Bird Sanctuary.
- Govt. of Uttar Pradesh has sent such proposal restricting the eco sensitive zone to 100 meters radius from that of Okhla Bird Sanctuary, the MoEF has raised certain queries to the State Government which relates to the boundaries to be fixed etc. and the Uttar Pradesh Government has not so far responded to it.
We at “The Logical Buyer” have been consistently trying to engage with Environment Minister Mr. Prakash Javdekar and Guatam Budh Nagar M.P Mr. Mahesh Sharma. While we have been assured time and again that the issue shall be resolved soon, there seems to be no respite for lakhs of home buyers.
Home buyers should tweet at (@, @) and send him message at his Facebook profile :https://www.facebook.com/pages/Prakash-Javadekar/148253598653018
Copy of full order can be downloaded from here: NGT Order Okhla bird sanctuary