Yamuna Expressway Authority To Go After Builders Who Misuse Zero Period Benefits
If real estate developers in Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway were not able to deliver their projects in time and blame authorities for their failure, they are right in doing so, to a great extent. Land that was allotted to these developers in the beginning of the current decade was not free from encumbrance. Farmer protests and litigation of several other kinds involving land meant builders could not go ahead according to schedule.
In April 2011, farmers in Noida West moved the Allahabad High Court, challenging the authority's land acquisition move. In the meantime, the union environment ministry also banned construction around the eco-sensitive Okhla Bird Sanctuary. By 2015, the authority was able to settle several disputes to make the land allotted to builders open for development. However, several cases are still pending in various courts, including the Supreme Court of India.
Since there was little builders could have done to stop the delay, authorities were forced to compensate them, somehow. So, it declared the period between 2011 and 2012 as what it called a zero period. During the zero-interest period, when construction was hit because of genuine reasons, builders were not required to pay interest on land dues. After great deliberation and study, the move was launched while developers’ demand to stretch the period till 2015 was refused.
Now, authorities suspect developers of misusing the benefit offered to them.
According to media reports, the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (Yeida) is going to closely study all the applications to single out developers who continued construction during the period while still availing of the benefits under the scheme.
“It is simple logic that if you are presenting a project for completion certification during or soon after the zero period then construction was in progress during the ban period. How can interest waiver on payments be allowed for that period? You may have either completely stopped work during zero period or just continued to build and in the latter case, zero period financial benefits in terms of interest waiver will not be applicable,” A report in The Times of India quoted Yeida Chief Executive Officer Arun Vir Singh as saying.