BENGALURU: The recent ruling by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that increased the no-construction zone around water bodies in Bengaluru, has left property developers fuming, even as environmentalists described it as long overdue.
Prestige Group chairman Irfan Razack told TOI the ruling is unfair because it applies only to Bengaluru, and was framed by a body that is not concerned with city planning. “This is challengeable and I am sure it will not stand the test of time. Property buyers will be edgy till this issue is settled by the apex court. But if the rule is upheld, it will mean less land for construction and consequent rise in property prices,” he said.
Some adversely affected parties have filed an appeal before the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear it after the summer break.
The NGT has increased the no-construction zone around lakes in Bengaluru to 75 metres from the edge of the water body, from 30 metres as per the existing rules of the BDA and BBMP. For primary drains, it’s changed to 50 metres from the edge, rather than the centre. These rules will be applicable to all future projects.
“This is absolutely essential for the purposes of sustainable development, particularly keeping in mind the ecology and environment of the areas in question,” the NGT said in its ruling last month.
Part of the problem is that many developers already have land around lakes, and the ruling now upsets their calculations, given that it reduces the extent of construction they can carry out. In several cases, they might even have started selling space in the proposed developments.
But environmentalists hail this a landmark judgment, which they say can go a long way in protecting the fast-vanishing water bodies in the city. Environmentalist Yellappa Reddy said developers are not ecologists and could not be expected to understand the issues involved.
But the matter is now with the Supreme Court, and that makes the situation still very uncertain. “In the past few months, many projects have been held up due to delays in decision-making by the government and other regulatory bodies. This is hurting developers and the ultimate sufferers are the buyers,” said Juggy Marwaha, South India MD of property consultancy JLL.
Credits ET Realty