After National Green Tribunal order, Noida builders stop construction

Order prohibits them from drawing underground water for construction

After the National Green Tribunal order prohibited the use of groundwater for construction, builders in Noida and Greater Noida have stopped work to take stock of the situation. Builders said they would hold talks with the Noida Authority next week to understand the legality of the order, which was issued on Friday.

A representative of a company, which has several under-construction buildings in Noida and Greater Noida, said, "During the stage of structure building, water is a massive component and a lot of the underground water was drawn. We do not want to violate the order and are waiting for more clarity before we restart construction. All pumps that draw water from the construction site have been stopped with immediate effect."

Other real estate developers said they were not drawing any more water and that they were just using water drawn before the order was issued. "But these stocks will not last more than a week," one of their representatives said.

Builders said water will have to be bought from other areas, which will increase input costs. "We will have to buy a large quantity of water from other places. This means an addition of two costs the water and the cost of transporting it. This will eventually trickle down to the consumer. We are working on an action plan to try and protect buyers as much as possible. We will finalise it next week. We hope that there are no further protests by buyers on this issue as the increase in costs is inevitable," a representative of CREDAI (Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India) Greater Noida said.

Buyers were worried about the halt in construction. Manish Sharma, who has booked a flat in Greater Noida's Patwari area, said, "I am seriously considering cancelling my booking. There have been a series of problems with real estate in the area. First there were farmer agitations against the acquisition of land, which stalled work for over a year. Then the Allahabad High Court asked the Greater Noida Authority to get clearance for the Greater Noida Master Plan from the National Capital Region Planning Board. Now we hear that costs will go up because of this order. I understand that the rise in costs is inevitable because of the conditions on the builder, but I may not be able to afford the increase in rates. I am hoping that there will be no added payment for those who have already bought flats. The developer said he would only be able to tell me about their plan next week."

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