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Construction Ban by HC in Gurgaon and Other News / News 18Jul12

by: RWA Webmaster on July 18, 2012, 11:36 am in Latest News

HC bars new licence for builders using groundwater in Gurgaon

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 17:01

Chandigarh: Taking a serious view of exploitation of ground water in Gurgaon, Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday barred issuance of any fresh license for construction activity unless builders give an undertaking that underground water would not be drawn by them.

The court asked the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to ensure that the undertaking by the builder or individuals should make clear the source of water drawn by them for construction purposes in Gurgaon, Delhi's satellite city which has become base of several MNCs over the years.

The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Jasbir Singh and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain asked the state officials to give details of how many water connections have been released till now by the authorities and how they intend to deal with the problem in Gurgaon.

HC order to hit Haryana's realty sector, investments: Assocham

It also asked for details of the total water connections in Gurgaon and its actual requirement.

The court has directed among others the Secretaries of Town and Country Planning, Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner, the Public Health Department, HUDA Chief to remain present in the court on July 31.

The bench gave the order on a bunch of petitions filed by Qutub Enclave Residents Welfare Association and other petitioners who alleged that the builders in Gurgaon had been extracting ground water using borewells for construction purposes while authorities had curtailed supply of drinking water in many areas causing agony to the common citizens.

The petitioners had urged the court to pass orders restraining construction and other commercial actvities around Gurgaon in view of the severe water shortage faced by the residents.

They had submitted that water situation in Gurgaon, which falls in the NCR region and has witnessed several mega commercial and residential projects come up over the past few years, has been worsening over the years.

A ban is already in place for boring tubewells in Gurgaon in the wake of low water table.

The water table has also fallen to alarming levels in Gurgaon's adjoining areas of Rewari and Mahendergarh.


‘Builders fudge water data’

TNN | Jul 18, 2012, 08.05AM IST

GURGAON: Builders seem to be fudging data related to water consumption while seeking green clearance for their projects , according to a recent report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). A review of about 900 projects for environmental clearance in Haryana between 2008 and 2011 showed that only 2% of them had actually planned for the stipulated 135 lpcd (litres per capita per day) consumption while close to 50% of the projects had per capita water consumption between 50 to 100 lpcd. However,22% had put the consumption estimates at 150 lpcd.

The estimates given by builders about wastewater generation and recycling were also found to be inconsistent. According to the report, several projects granted environment clearance on the MoEF website do not even have environmental conditions and grant letter. "The information that is supposed to be in the public domain is not even available for several projects on the MoEF website... It is important that environment clearance process is based on effective monitorable approaches and benchmarks," states the CSE report.

Also, big projects have been given a go-ahead in villages notified by CGWA as deficient in groundwater. Residential projects in Hyatpur, Wazirpur, Nawada Fatepur and Moeka villages in Gurgaon are examples of such violations . Some commercial malls in Sectors 47 and 74A in Gurgaon and Sector 8 in Sonipat have been approved as "water-stressed areas" .

There have been instances, according to the report, of projects with varied built-up areas having suspiciously similar water and wastewater estimations. In some cases, the environment conditions are identical for projects with built-up areas that are seven times as big, the report stated.

What is also surprising is that sanctions for new buildings have been granted mostly in water-deficient areas. All project proponents are required to obtain no objection certificates from HUDA, and Central Ground Water Board. The report blames monitoring as the weakest link with just six site offices of the MoEF in the state. Regional offices are also not adequately empowered, and have no authority to take punitive action even when violations are reported .

Also, fewer members of the State Environmental Appraisal Committee are burdened with project clearance applications and EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) process. They are required to meet at least once a month when the average number of projects applying for EC is 15-20 every month .

"Therefore, generally, the discussions may not reflect the real issues and leave little or no time for detailed appraisal on the key project components," points out the report.

‘HC ban on groundwater tapping to hit Gurgaon realty market’

New Delhi, July 17, 2012, PTI:

Industry body Assocham on Tuesday said the realty sector and investments in Haryana will be hit following the High Court order directing the state government not to issue permits for construction unless builders give in writing that ground water will not be drawn by them.

Assocham also asked the state government to ensure availability of basic infrastructure like water in Gurgaon, which houses many multinational companies (MNCs) and is major property market of the NCR region, as well as the country.

"It will not only give a severe jolt to the realty sector but will also hurt investment scenario in the state," the chamber said.

Citing findings of their study that showed as much as 50 per cent of investments in Haryana as of December 2011 were in the realty sector, Assocham secretary general D S Rawat said, "This investment was largely driven by a construction boom in Gurgaon, which is a hub of the corporate India- both domestic and global."

“With a halt to the construction sector, the investment in the state will be drastically reduced," he added.

Rawat said the Indian industry is all for striking a balance between development and environment but the responsibility for basic infrastructure like water lies with the state.

Of its total investment of Rs 4.98 lakh crore as on December 2011, the real estate sector accounted for Rs 2.48 lakh crore in Haryana, which has other towns like Faridabad, Sonepat, Ambala, Panipat and Karnal where the realty sector is growing fast, even though they are no match for Gurgaon, the statement said.

The state government, with the help of the Centre, must ensure that the basic infrastructure is provided in the state so that investment in Haryana, does not come to a halt, the chamber said.

As Gurgaon has become a hub of domestic and MNC firms, the study found out that “real estate development was the focal point in Haryana.”

Gurgaon backs HC order against groundwater use for construction

TUHIN DUTTA : Gurgaon, Wed Jul 18 2012, 01:23 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court’s directive to Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), stating that “builders should not be issued licenses for housing projects in Gurgaon if they don’t give an undertaking stating that they will not use groundwater for construction”, has evoked a mixed response from residents and authorities.

While residents facing water shortage lauded the decision saying it was a positive measure to tackle the crisis, industrial bodies said the decision will jolt the realty sector and hurt the investment scenario in Haryana.

A recent study done by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) found alarming levels of groundwater depletion in Gurgaon, and said water levels fell steeply after the state government invited private enterprises to set up shop in the city.

The Central Groundwater Conservation Authority (CGCA) has already declared Gurgaon a ‘dark zone’ due to excessive depletion of ground water. The district administration has also banned digging of borewells in the district for any purpose other than drinking water. Residents said the move will save a lot of water.

Meanwhile, commenting on the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, ASSOCHAM said their study showed that 50 per cent of investments in Haryana, as of December 2011, were in the realty sector. This was largely driven by the construction boom in Gurgaon. “Restrictions on construction will lead to a drastic reduction in investment in the state,” said ASSOCHAM Secretary General D S Rawat.

The total investment in Haryana was to the tune of Rs 4.98 lakh crore in December 2011, while the real estate sector accounted for Rs 2.48 lakh crore in Haryana, ASSOCHAM officials said.

R S Rathee, member of the Gurgaon Citizen’s Council, said canal water supply (through Basai) is provided only in DLF, Sushant Lok and South City. The rest of Gurgaon depends on tubewells.


Gurgaon builders left high and dry

Residents allege nearly 265 constructions are drawing groundwater in Gurgaon.

Concerned over the deepening water crisis and depleting groundwater table in Gurgaon, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday barred the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) from issuing any fresh construction permission to builders unless they give an undertaking that they would not draw groundwater.

The drastic order is likely to impact real estate projects worth Rs.85,000-90,000 crore which are awaiting clearance. Sources in HUDA, however, said the order, effective from July 31, is not going to affect ongoing projects that have already been approved.

The court also ordered that builders and individuals carrying out construction projects would apprise HUDA where they would source water from. "We are confident of finding a solution before July 31," a HUDA official said.

The order was passed by a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Jasbir Singh and Justice Rakesh Jain while hearing a petition by lawyer Sunil Kumar and Qutub Enclave Residents' Welfare Association, DLF Phase-I, in Gurgaon.

The big developers declined to comment saying they were yet to see the order. An official spokesperson of DLF in Delhi said they had not received the order yet. They would be in a position to respond after studying the order, he added.

Another Chandigarh-based DLF official said they were concerned about environment conservation and that the builder never resorted to anything that would adversely affect the ecology.

"We have not received a copy of the order. We will have to study it first, then only we can comment," Geetamber Anand, vicepresident of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI), said.

"There has to be a collective responsibility for this important social cause. Water is an important resource," Navin Raheja, chairman and managing director of Raheja Developers, said.

According to the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry, real estate projects account for half the investments in Haryana and developers say it's the government's job to meet the water needs of all sectors.

"How can the developers be blamed for the problem? The authorities and the state government must come together to deal with the crisis. We are trying to fight the situation with our own solutions like installing water harvesting units in all residential projects," a CREDAI member said.

The court has summoned the secretary of town and country planning, the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon commissioner, the HUDA administrator and the deputy commissioner of the district on July 31.

The authorities would also furnish details of the number of water connections issued by them till now and how they plan to tackle the deepening water crisis in Gurgaon, the court order said.

The petitioners have alleged builders in Gurgaon had been extracting groundwater using borewells for construction purposes while the authorities had curtailed supply of drinking water in many areas. They had urged the court to pass orders restraining construction and other commercial activities in Gurgaon in view of the severe water shortage faced by the residents.

They had submitted that the water situation in Gurgaon, which falls in the National Capital Region and has witnessed several mega commercial and residential projects come up over the past few years, has been worsening over the years. A ban is already in place for boring tubewells in Gurgaon in view of the low watertable.

Over the last seven years, Gurgaon's dependence on groundwater has increased by leaps and bounds. From a mere six per cent in 2005-06, groundwater now constitutes over 50 per cent of the city's water supply.

Read more at:

Gurgaon drying up, has no Plan B

Dhananjay Jha, Hindustan Times

Gurgaon, July 17, 2012

The ground beneath Gurgaon is being milked dry and the only potential way to replenish the ground water has flopped miserably.

In a city where borewells are becoming the main source of water supply, 250 to 300 mm rain water goes waste every rainy season. Indiscriminate

exploitation of ground water had led the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) to prohibit extraction of ground water in the entire Gurgaon district.

It had also said that the implementation of rain water harvesting schemes must be made a mandatory condition for the issuance of licence to developers. But it took the Punjab and Haryana high court verdict to shake the administration out of its deep slumber.

The authorities, which did not have any data on the status of borewells in the Millennium City, were rapped by the Haryana government on Monday over their indifference to rain water harvesting.

"The government has asked the administration to implement rain water harvesting strictly and seriously," said a spokesperson for the Haryana chief minister BS Hooda.

According to CGWA, ground water will be completely exhausted in Gurgaon by 2017 if the extraction continues at the same pace. However, the urban authority, Huda, has done little to bridge the 50 MGD gap in demand and supply. For the 20 lakh population of Gurgaon and over a thousand housing developers, dismal ground water replenishment measures bring more bad tidings.

"The government was never serious about rain water harvesting which is why more than half of the annual rain fall goes waste every rainy season," said a senior CGWA official, adding that it had conducted a survey of the entire district in 2010 and submitted a report to the administration suggesting strict implementation of rain water harvesting.

Gurgaon receives an average rainfall of 595 mm with the maximum number of rainfall catchment areas falling under Huda and District Town Planning (DTP) authority areas.

"Rain water harvesting was mandatory for issuing completion certificate to any property built on a plot of 250 square yard and above. But not a single house has put in place any such measure," said KS Yadav, a resident of Sector 14.

The situation is no different in the areas falling under the DTP. The Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon, which had got 270 rain water harvesting structures designed by Jamia Millia Islamia experts, has implemented only 50 of them.

Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon meeting to be held after three months

TNN | Jul 18, 2012, 06.31AM IST

GURGAON: After a long gap of three months, the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) is to hold its mandatory monthly meeting on July 23. However, as has been the case for the past one year, there are hardly any new items on the agenda for discussion. The meeting venue too has been shifted yet again, as the mayor feels that the rent paid for the last venue was steep.The mayor also blamed the MCG officials for failing to include any new items on the the House meeting agenda. "Earlier we thought of having the meeting on July 18, but some officials were not available on that day and therefore we had to postpone it. There are not many items on the agenda as the officials have not found anything new to be discussed. The only new inclusion is the naming of four roads in the city. A few other locations have been added in the town planning scheme," said Vimal Yadav, mayor.

About changing the meeting venue, he said the huge rent that had to be paid to HSIIDC was the reason why they decided to have the meeting at the deputy commissioner's meeting hall. "Last time we ended up incurring an expenditure of close to Rs 1 lakh just for a day's meeting. I don't want to waste the taxpayers' money by holding meetings at such expensive places. We have decided to have the meeting at the mini secretariat. Here we do not have to pay any rent," he added.

Haryana villagers for handing back farm lands given to DLF

July 17, 2012

By: HP Bureau IANS

Gurgaon: The residents of Wazirabad village have filled a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against allotment of around 350 acres prime land to the real estate giant DLF, that was acquired for public purpose by the Haryana government. The hearing will take place July 18, an official said.

Earlier, on February 9 this year, the division bench headed by then chief justice Ranjan Gogoi had issued notices to Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) and Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) on the land allotment to DLF.

DLF is developing villas and golf course on the land.

After that the court decided July 12 to seek the response of the state government and DLF on the issue, but due to the country wide strike of lawyers the court deferred the hearing to July 18.

The PIL was filed by Rajkumr Yadav and other residents of Wazirabad village, who alleged that acting on the instance of DLF, the Haryana government acquired the land for public purpose and then allotted it to the company.

First, 75 acres of land was acquired by HUDA through notification of Sep 8, 1997, and then around 275 acres of land was acquired by HSIIDC through notification of Aug 8, 2003.

The land was transferred to DLF Ltd. on February 9, 2010, on free hold basis.

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