OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNMENT OF UTTAR PRADESH G.NOIDA INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT
AUTHORITY THE NCR PLANNING BOARD & PRINT MEDIA WITHOUT PREJUDICE
Anil Garg & Pankaj Saraogi
421, Ocean Plaza
SUBJECT: High handed attitude of the Greater NOIDA Authority unchecked by UP Govt and Speculation/Profiteering by the Builders will rob the common man/urban poor of its dues and crisis like that of NOIDA Extension will erupt again and again.
It has nearly been a month now that the NCR Planning Board had cleared the Master Plan of Noida Extension (with some riders) and even after full one month the crisis seems to be far from over. There are still continuous protests by the farmers demanding their legitimate dues and also the buyers of the flats are running from pillar to post just to ensure that their life time savings are safe and are not gobbled up by scheming builders. Infact the high headed Greater Noida Authority in collusion with the scheming and profiteering builders has not only precipitated the crisis in the first place, it has ever since not at all done anything to resolve it to everyone’s satisfaction. Cosmetic changes like renaming the ill-fated area as Greater Noida (West) will certainly not heal the wounds inflicted on thousands of innocent flat owners and cheated farmers. Infact the Government of Uttar Pradesh has also failed to rein in and check the arbitrary working style of the Greater NOIDA Authority and sadly it is also responsible for the things to come at this impasse.
Failure of the Government of Uttar Pradesh
The Govt of Uttar Pradesh has not only totally failed in controlling the arbitrary and autocratic functioning style of Greater Noida Authority but it has also not adhered to the directions of the Honorable High Court at Allahabad. In its judgment dated 21/10/2011 in its para no 6 of the Orders/Conclusion on Page no 222 the Honorable Court had ordered:-
We direct the Chief Secretary of the State to appoint officers not below the level of Principal Secretary (except the officers of Industrial Development Department who have dealt with the relevant files) to conduct a thorough inquiry regarding the acts of Greater Noida (a) in proceeding to implement Master Plan 2021 without approval of N.C.R.P. Board (b) decisions taken to change the land use (c) allotment made to the builders and (d) indiscriminate proposals for acquisition of land, and thereafter the State Government shall take appropriate action in the matter.
The Govt of Uttar-Pradesh has totally failed to appoint any officer/committee to look into the omissions and commissions of the Greater Noida Authority. The answers to the questions that what was the pressing need and hurry for the Greater NOIDA Authority to implement the Master Plan 2021 without approval of NCRP Board? Why did the authority whimsically changed the land-use? What was the basic and ulterior motive of allotting (doling) bulk lands to under-capitalized builders at concessional rates and lenient payment terms by the authority? Why did the authority acquired such huge tracts of lands indiscriminately? It is imperative for the Govt of Uttar Pradesh to search for the answer to these probing questions and fix responsibilities and book the guilty. However not a single communication answering these questions has ever been issued by the Authority or the Govt, not a single officer or person has so far been named leave alone implicated as being responsible for this huge crisis. Not a single allotment has been challenged, not a single bidding/tendering process has been changed or altered. This indicates that the Govt of Uttar-Pradesh is also hand in glove with the Authority and the Builder Lobby in fleecing the farmers and the common man.
In case the Govt of Uttar-Pradesh actually means business and benefit of a common man is its prime objective then it should immediately constitute a impartial high powered committee and bring before the people of the state the actual truth and take appropriate actions so that such incidence like that of Noida Extension is not repeated again. It will not be out of place to present herewith some suggestions which will bring much relief to the common man:-
a) The entire process of allotment of land of Group Housing Plots in particular should be converted into “e-tendering” and made utmost transparent using the modern electronic media.
b) The tendering/allotment could be done through Auction also. There is no point as such in doling out land at subsidized land to profiteering builders at the expense of the state exchequer. As such the logic of subsidized allotment stands only when the residential units are further allotted to the needy section of the society and not to the affluent and the riches.
c) The practice of allotting land on 8 years installment basis should also be done away with. Why should the builders who are jumping in the fray for profit not be made to pay atleast 50% of the price of the plot initially when a common man who is allotted a plot for his own dwelling (not profiteering) has to compulsorily pay 30% and sometimes even 100% payment initially. Infact the flat allottees are being made to pay 40% of the total cost of flat to the builder within just 90 days of the booking!!.
d) The builders must be made to complete the projects in 3-4 years maximum and should not be given time of upto 5-8 years when a common man who is allotted a plot (for his own dwelling and not profiteering) is compelled to construct a house within 2 years of the allotment.
e) The practice of allotting Group Housing plots under CONSORTIUMS should also be scrapped altogether. Consortium bidding is logically invited/applicable to those projects where the project is of state/public importance and is very huge (so that the stakes and risk are distributed) and is certainly not required for housing projects which are just 25-30 acres in size. It has been seen that group housing plots have been allotted under consortium of 4-5 entities wherein the lead member who is the only bonafide builder of all is holding just 26% of the project and the balance 74% is in the hand of the remaining members (popularly known as RELEVANT MEMBER BUILDERS). These RELEVANT MEMBER BUILDERS are first timers with no past record to show (in some cases the paid-up capital of such member firms bidding for plots costing about Rs 20Cr is only Rs 5 lakhs!!) but have still been allotted plots and hence given an officially golden opportunity to profit and speculate by the Greater Noida Authority. All this proves that the Greater Noida Authority is hand-in-glove with the builders and the Govt of UttarPradesh is a silent spectator to this public loot.
All the above measures if adopted in the true earnest will go a longway in preventing unbridled speculation and greed and will bring much needed relief to the common man in form of better and affordable housing and facilities. One must remember that unbridled and unchecked powers along with outdated and faulty procedures is the seed of all corruption and malaise.
High Handedness and High Headedness of the Greater NOIDA Development Authority
The Greater NOIDA Authority is solely responsible and answerable to thousands of harassed flat allottees and cheated farmers. Yet not an iota of remorse or guilt is evident in the style of functioning of Greater Noida Authority. The authority should immediately act on the following in public interest:-
(i) The authority must immediately issue and publish in leading newspapers (in fact direct the builders to publish with their brochures also) a White Paper on the status of each and every Group Housing Project at NOIDA Extension indicating clearly (a) the percentage of the land of that plot which is clear from litigation (b) the status of lease deed and the amount of money deposited by the builder (c) the status of map approvals (d) the liability of compensation yet to be paid (land plus cash) with regard to that plot and a timeframe within which the same will be cleared (e) the maximum FAR allowed. This will go a long-way in clearing the confusion and anxiety in the minds of flat owners and the farmers. This will prevent thousands of gullible people to fall prey to scheming machinations of builders and their agents.
(ii) The Authority must immediately allocate, demark and publicly display on the revised Master-Plan 2021 the 25% land that needs to be used for housing for EWS/LIG as per guidelines of NCRP Board. The urban poor must get its dues. This is necessary so as to prevent the robbery of the legitimate right of the needy by the ever greedy builder lobby. If this section of society is not given its dues than it will become very difficult for all authorities to curb the mushrooming of unauthorized colonies and this region too will have to face the scrooge of unauthorized development as Delhi is witnessing today. Infact the authority should undertake to build low cost housing on this 25% land for EWS/LIG (on its own or through bonafide govt construction agencies like NBCC, UP Rajya Nirman , PWD etc) so that the planned development of the region is maintained and dues of every section of the society be taken care of.
(iii) It should instruct the builders to allow the transfer of already allotted units (builders are demanding 60% payments before allowing transfer) when the builder himself is allowed to transfer his entire Group Housing plot when he has so far just paid 10% cost to authority.
(iv) Builders are booking flats in excess of 2.75 FAR, this should be prohibited by the authority through public warning and notice to the builders immediately as in their sheer greed the builders will even sell those units which may never see the light of the day thereby cheating thousands of families of their life time savings.
(v) It should vehemently curb speculation/rumors/dealings that are so rampant in the entire NOIDA-Greater NOIA region as on date regarding impending NEW ALLOTMENTS of GROUP HOUSING. This rumor is causing heartburn and anxiety in the minds of the farmers whose dues and compensation have still not been cleared, it causes anxiety in minds of flat allottees as they fear that the builder will arm-twist him for payments so as to enable the builder to participate in fresh rounds of allotment (public loot), this causes worry among the banks about the sustainability and viability of the projects and their bankability. Authority should see to it that no new allotments of group-housing plots be done till the old disputes are resolved. How will the authority allot more land when it says it has no land to give to the farmers in lieu of compensation?
(vi) Continuous protests and disturbances point to the frustration and anxiety among farmers for early resolution of dispute and payment of dues. The recent admitting of SPL by Honorable Supreme Court of India even after land acquisition of 36 years in the Noida City Center case points to impending doom if the petition of farmers challenging acquisition of land at Noida Extension be decided in favor of the farmers by the Honorable Supreme Court? The authority but show statesmanship and make all efforts to reach to every individual farmer group(s) and settle the issues there and then. This must be done on war-footing and the present strategy of the authority to wear-out to tire-out the farmer in the legal battle is totally counter-productive.
(vii) Authority should try and instill confidence among the banks about its intention and planning and should see to it that the projects in Noida Extension be made bankable at the earliest.
The entire logjam will not be resolved till the projects are legally cleared and made bankable and the finished products be made available at reasonable price and the greed by controlled at the earliest. Authority should take into confidence the common man for the common man is a willing partner in the progress of the region in general and is the only loyal partner that authority can get at this critical juncture. Yet the authority chooses to protect the benefit of the already moneyed and greedy builder lobby at the expense of the common man and the farmers.
Humble request to the NCRP Board
NCRP Board was constituted with a genuine and bonafide intention of giving to our cities a planned development and also to make available housing to one and all. The board must play a proactive part in the development of the region. Just planning a city is not enough, the task is fulfilled when that planning is monitored and executed as per plans, thereby the NCRP Board must don the mantle of a referee and a watch dog, it must be an enforcer and whistle blower and not be a meek spectator, it should not be the gardener and not the fence sitter. NCRP Board should take the moral responsibility of being silent spectator when the entire NOIDA Extension and Yammuna Expressway region was allotted to speculative builders without any sanctions and sanctity. NCRP Board must admit that it failed to act when the grand game of the Noida Extension and Yammuna Expressway region was played under its very nose, it is a prime responsibility of the NCRP Board to see to it that the precious land is not wasted/looted and is used judiciously and for the benefit of the common man only.
Now to make up for the past mistakes the Govt of Uttar Pradesh, Greater NOIDA Authority and NCRP Board must vow to see to it that such incidence are not repeated and the urban poor is given his dues. All the authorities must understand that they were formed to safeguard the interest of the common man and it is not their mandate to facilitate the generation and protection of ill-gotten gains of the rich and affluent.
Once again we appeal to all the parties concerned that let us all try to do something ethical just and positive, let us all develop a trust and rise above petty profiteering, let us all learn a lesson from the crisis and come together and show solidarity.
I request my friends in the media to play a proactive role which is the need of the hour and also a duty of the harbinger of truth and justice as media has always been.
Anil Garg (09891242323)
Pankaj Saraogi (09818644228)
1. The Hon’able Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh Govt., Lucknow
2. The Minister of State (CM Protocol), U. P. Govt, Lucknow
3. Mr. Javed Usmani, IAS, Chief Secretary, U.P. Govt, Lucknow
4. Dr. Anil Kumar Gupta, Principal Secretary, U.P. Govt, Lucknow
5. Hon’ble Mr. Justice N K Mehrotra, Lok Ayukta, Uttar Pradesh
6. Hon’ble Union Minister for Urban Development, Chairman
& Mrs. Naini Jayaseelan, Member Secretary, NCR Planning Board
7. Chairman & CEO, Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority