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Temporary Ban on Construction in Gurgaon / News 17Jul12

by: RWA Webmaster on July 17, 2012, 10:54 am in Latest News

New construction in Gurgaon put on hold to tackle water problem

Ajay Sura & Tanushree Roy Chowdhury, TNN | Jul 17, 2012, 02.48AM IST

CHANDIGARH/GURGAON: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday restrained the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) from issuing new licences for developers in Gurgaon unless they give an undertaking that groundwater would not be consumed for construction work.

In a potent, environment-friendly verdict, which underlines the acute water crisis in Gurgaon, a division bench comprising Chief Justice (acting) Jasbir Singh and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain passed the order while hearing a bunch of petitions filed by Qutub Enclave Residents Welfare Association and others.

The HC directed the secretaries of HUDA, the department of town and country planning (DTCP) and state irrigation department to appear in person on July 31 to respond to the court on the issue.

The officers have been asked to furnish exact details about the total population, water demand, number of water connections, number of tubewells, etc. The court directed the officials to submit a workable policy and plan to recharge groundwater which is depleting at the worrisome rate of 1.5 metres per year.

"The court has not only barred licences for new constructions, but renewal of licences for old projects has been stayed. Ongoing constructions are also under the scanner. This strengthens the ambit of similar strictures issued earlier by the Supreme Court," said Nivedita Sharma, the petitioners' lawyer. The city sees six new launch announcements a month on average.

The petitioners said the verdict would go a long way in saving the environment in the region.

According to our estimates, builders in Gurgaon illegally extract as much as 50 million gallons per day (MGD) for construction. This at a time when citizens are forced to buy water from private tankers, which is another mafia of sorts," said R S Rathee, a leading petitioner, and president of Gurgaon Citizens' Council (GCC).

According to petitioners, for a population of 20 lakh, the city's daily water demand is 200 million gallons per day (MGD). While 50MGD flows from civic taps, the remaining 150MGD is extracted from the ground by frantic digging of borewells. According to one estimate, there are over 30,000 borewells in the district of Gurgaon.

The builders, on their part, said they were worried that an already sluggish realty market would further slow down in the wake of the court order. There are more than 100 mid- and large-size construction projects in the Gurgaon-Manesar region.

With the master plans for Sohna and a draft master plan for Pataudi ready, these figures are expected to double in the near future. The HC order is likely to put a brake on that almost reckless growth in which realty far outpaces infrastructural development.

The flip side of the order is that the consumer may have to bear the escalation in cost. Transporting huge quantities of water from distant locations for construction activities means astronomical amounts. Unlike neighboring Delhi which was built from Yamuna waters, Gurgaon doesn't have a river. Said a builder, "That means we buy water from elsewhere. Someone has to pay for that, and no builder in his senses would pick up the tab."

Petitioners say for a population of 20 lakh, the city's daily water demand is 200 MGD. While 50MGD flows from civic taps, the remaining 150MGD is extracted from the ground

Times View

This ban may come as a jolt to many but the real issue at stake is larger than just construction in Gurgaon. It goes to the very heart of what kind of urbanisation we want in India. Should urbanisation proceed heedless of basic issues like where the water is going to come from and where the sewage will flow to? Clearly not. Urbanisation of this kind might seem like development in the short run but is obviously not sustainable since it puts an unbearable strain on natural resources. Our urban planning bodies need to put their heads down and think the matter through seriously. If not, we could be looking at a very grim future for our towns and cities.

Boom town gets realty check

Tanushree Roy Chowdhury, TNN | Jul 17, 2012, 09.04AM IST

This may be the first time when a court has stalled new construction in a city to ensure that underground water is not used for construction. Gurgaon's underground water table has reached an all-time low of 51 metres and the state has failed to put a check on this. Not just this, against an estimated demand of 200 million gallons per day (MGD), HUDA is able to supply just 51MGD, leaving residents with no other option but to rely on private water tankers.

"The court has observed that the state has not shown interest in augmenting supply, procuring additional water or water harvesting. As much as 60% of the city doesn't even have pipeline connectivity. The water crisis which Gurgaon faced this summer is only going to get worse. According to independent studies, the ground water level is depleting at a rate of 3 metres every year," said Nivedita Sharma, petitioners' lawyer.

Both environmentalists and residents have welcomed this far-reaching order, expressing the hope that now the state will wake up to the city's water needs. Similarly, construction is at the core of a fast-developing city like Gurgaon. Both the administration and builders need to find out viable alternatives to groundwater. "The government cannot be laid back and not formulate a constructive policy for water supply in a city like Gurgaon. They should also focus on recharging groundwater. Also, prices are market-driven. We might have some escalation if this continues in the long run," said Santhosh Kumar, CEO, Jones Lang LaSalle India.

No doubt thousands of home-buyers are trying to understand what this verdict means for them. Real estate analysts say this order may lead to further delay in housing projects, escalating cost for the end-user. This will not just affect the new projects, but also those that are underway.

"This order will give the builders a justification to increase prices even though the actual burden of the water cost, if they have to purchase from outside, may be a fraction of the entire cost of the project,' said Sanjay Sharma, managing director of QuBREX, a real estate analysis firm.

The developers said the government must develop alternative sources of water, like recycling of waste water. "The state should be liberal towards projects which have a 100% recharge and 0% discharge plan. The developers cannot shut shop," said Ravi Saund, COO of CHD Developers.

No licence for builders using groundwater: HC

Express news service : Chandigarh, Tue Jul 17 2012, 02:59 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday directed the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) that no builder should be issued licence for new housing projects in Gurgaon without an undertaking, specifying groundwater will not be used for construction.

The court said the undertaking must mention the source of water for construction.

The directive came during the hearing of a bunch of petitions from Gurgaon residents, who have alleged that builders were illegally extracting groundwater and using it for construction.

A division bench asked the secretaries of Public Health department, Country and Town Planning and HUDA to appear in the court on July 31 to explain how many water connections have been issued and how the authorities intend to tackle the problem of water scarcity in Gurgaon. The next hearing in the case will be on July 31.

The court also stayed construction by 21 builders in Gurgaon. The court said until the Basai Water Treatment plant is made fully functional, no further construction should be allowed.

R S Rathee of Gurgaon Citizens’ Council said except DLF, Sushant Lok and South City, water from Basai is not provided anywhere else in Gurgaon. “Others use deep tubewells,” he said.

No fresh construction licences in Gurgaon: HC

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times

Gurgaon, July 16, 2012

Alarmed over the depleting groundwater level in Gurgaon, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday barred the state government and other agencies from issuing fresh licences for any construction activity unless builders gave an undertaking to not draw underground water.

The court ordered 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. The court also wanted to know how the authorities were planning to deal with the dip in the water table.

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.

The high court 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 and Huda administrator to remain present in the court on July 31.

The bench gave the order on a bunch of petitions filed by one Sunil Singh and Qutub Enclave Residents Welfare Association. The petitioners had approached the court, seeking directions to concerned agencies to restrain illegal use of groundwater for construction and other commercial purposes.

The order has rattled the construction industry for it will have a bearing on nearly 350 big-ticket commercial and residential projects in the city. These projects had been cleared by the union ministry of environment and forests in the past 18 months and were due for approval from the Haryana government.

The town and country planning department, Huda and municipal corporation also would not be able to issue sanctions to individual plot owners for constructing their houses till July 31.

No construction in Gurgaon without proper water source: HC

Sanjeev Verma , Hindustan Times

Chandigarh , July 16, 2012

In order to ensure that precious groundwater is not misused for construction purposes in the millennium city Gurgaon, Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the state government not to permit any construction until the builder informs about proper water connection with an undertaking that he would not use underground water.

A division bench comprising acting chief justice Jasbir Singh and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain also summoned secretaries of town and country planning and water supply departments and Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) administrator on July 31, the next date of hearing.

The HUDA administrator has also been directed to submit information regarding population, water supply source and water requirements of Gurgaon.

The directions came during the resumed hearing on the petitions filed by Sunil Singh and Qutab Enclave Residents Welfare Association, DLF Phase-I, Gurgaon.

The petitioners had approached the high court seeking directions to the agencies concerned to restrain illegal use and exploitation of groundwater for construction and other commercial purposes and to initiate strict action against the violators.

The court was also told that even if builders were claiming that they were using water tankers for construction, then also it should be checked whether tankers were filled with groundwater or water meant for drinking.

During the case hearing, HUDA administrator Parveen Kumar informed the court that the agency was ensuring minimum two- hour water supply to the area under its jurisdiction.

He submitted that as per door-to-door survey, the total population of DLF city was 95,358 and the total demand of water was 6.91 millon gallons per day (mgd). Against the demand, DLF was drawing 3.04 mgd water as per water bills from HUDA, he submitted.

The bench was also informed that as per its earlier directions, routine water supply was in effect in DLF city which was disrupted due to breach in water supply canal but restored on the next day, July 9.

The case would now come up for hearing on July 31.

Water shortage: High Court stays construction permission in Gurgaon

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday prohibited any future permission for construction in Gurgaon till the authorities informed it how and from where it would get water for the city.

A bench of the acting chief justice of the high court, Justice Jasbir Singh, and Justice Rakesh Jain passed the order while hearing a petition by Qutub Enclave Residents Welfare Association.

The high court has summoned the secretary town and country planning, Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) commissioner, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) administrator and the deputy commissioner of the district on July 31.

Over the last decade, Gurgaon has emerged as one of the most preferred destinations for investors and house-buyers witnessing massive construction due to the boom in the real estate sector in the national capital region (NCR).

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Jainiti Singh said on July 17, 2012, 11:11 am

Don't know how long this ban will last or be effective at all - but WE (Ardee City Residents) have been crying hoarse over this issue for last couple of years and Mr.Kaul (being at the helm of Ardee City RWA) did NOTHING except send out a couple of letters to Ardee Infrastructure to refrain from providing potable water for construction activity within Ardee City which yielded ZERO results. On the contrary, construction activities have only been rising.

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