Okhla Bird Sanctuary EcoSensitive Zone notified

After two years of wondering whether they'd get to live in their homes, buyers of thousands of apartments in Noida heaved a sigh of relief with the ministry of environment and forests approving the notification of the EcoSensitive Zone (ESZ) around the Okhla bird sanctuary .Close to 100,000 apartments have been built or are being constructed in the area with the loss due to the hiatus estimated at Rs.3,500 crore.
An October 2013 order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had forbade the Noida Authority from giving completion certificates to projects that fell within 10 kilometres of the sanctuary .Under the new notification, the ESZ will be re-designated, bringing it down to 100 meters from the eastern, western and southern boundary of the sanctuary and up to 1.27 km from the northern boundary up to the Delhi Noida Direct (DND) Flyway across the river bed.
The standing committee of the National Board of Wild Life (NBWL), chaired by Prakash Javdekar, approved the draft notification for the Okhla ESZ on Tuesday . Javdekar said that while this will spell a “big relief“ for home buyers in the area, the sanctuary would be intact as the notification allows for “justifiable limits.“
Once the final notification is issued, the Noida Authority will give completion certificates to the affected projects, after which builders can start handing over apartments.
About 55,000 of the apartments are said to be complete while 40,000-45,000 are in various stages of construction with builders having gone slow on account of the uncertainty .
The delay has cost buyers, builders and the state government over Rs.3,500 crore.While many homebuyers have been making monthly loan repayments during this period even as they paid rent, builders have had to keep paying interest on borrowings and didn't get final possession dues on time.
The government lost money because of the delay in getting stamp duty from the registration. Some builders have refused to account for the two-year period as a delay for which they should pay penalties, adding to the pressure on home buyers.

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