NGT rules redrawn, Noida flat owners breathe easy

In a huge relief for nearly one lakh home buyers, the government on Tuesday sharply curtailed the eco-sensitive zone around the Okhla Bird Sanctuary near Noida, a move that will enable several builders to resume construction in areas earlier declared as a <g data-gr-id="25">no-construction</g> zone.

The eco-sensitive or green zone will be applicable to an area up to 100 metres from the eastern, western and southern boundary of the sanctuary and an area up to 1.27 km from the northern boundary, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

Now, over one lakh home buyers will be able to get occupancy certificates of their apartment that had been held up for long due to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order  restraining the Noida Authority from issuing completion certificates for structures falling within 10-kilometre of the sanctuary. 

The minister, after chairing the meeting of the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL), told reporters that his ministry has ended the “confusion” regarding the issue and all the orders of NGT have been fully followed. “The notification of new ESZ will be out in one week. The limitation of justifiable limits around the sanctuary has been completed. The government has approved the draft notification on Okhla Eco Sensitive Zone,” he added. 

As per the notification, the eco-sensitive zone is the area up to 100-metre from eastern, western and southern boundary and up to 1.27 <g data-gr-id="37">kms</g> from the northern boundary of the sanctuary up to the DND flyover across the river bed, situated in the Gautam Buddh Nagar district and neighbouring southeast district of Delhi.”

The minister said that the minutes of National Green Tribunal (NGT) would be ready in two days. The move will make thousands of apartments legal. “Today’s decision will help thousands of home buyers and ease the pain of EMIs,” he said. The minister also allayed fears on any negative impact on the bird sanctuary and assured that the natural habitat won’t be in danger because of the decision.

It may be noted that the Okhla Bird Sanctuary is at the Okhla barrage over the Yamuna and is situated in Noida, Gautam Buddh Nagar district, along the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh state border. It is considered to be a haven for over 300 bird species, especially waterbirds. The environmental activists had gone to NGT to protect the area from rampant construction.
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