More trouble seems to be in store for thousands of buyers who bought or booked a flat in projects planned within Noida’s Sports Cities.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has stated in its report that land in the sectors earmarked for developing sports infrastructure, along with residential apartments, was allocated to provide undue benefits to the allottees, causing a loss of Rs 9,000 crore to Noida Authority. It has asked the state government to take exemplary action against officers who failed to meet the objectives behind the scheme.
According to the CAG report it will be a roadblock for flat buyers who were looking forward to a breakthrough before UP assembly elections next year. Sources in Noida Authority said the matter has gone beyond their hands and a resolution can be found only if the state government decides to intervene to bail out stranded buyers.
Noida Authority has sanctioned about 46,000 units in the group housing projects sanctioned within the four sports cities. Out of these, 8,000-10,000 units are already occupied. The others are either incomplete or have not yet been launched. Till 2016, it was common practice to lure buyers during the pre- or soft-launch stages and, therefore, an estimate of the actual number of those who are stuck is not known.
Mooted in June 2007, the sports cities were envisaged to host big-ticket sporting events such as Commonwealth Games. For this, the Authority earmarked land across four sectors, i.e., 78, 79, 150 and 152. The maximum development was planned in sectors 79 and 150.
The Sports City scheme offered land parcels measuring 826 acres, or 33.4 lakh sq. mt., between 2011 and 2015. The reserve rates of the plots varied from Rs 11,500 per sq. mt. to Rs 26,200 per sq. mt. The overall allotment process would have fetched the Authority Rs 5,338 crore only as land premium, besides interest. CAG’s report does not mention how much Noida was able to secure a decade after launching four sports cities but estimates the losses to its coffers to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore.
The sports cities were allocated to just four consortiums-Xanadu Estates Pvt. Ltd (sectors 78 and 79), Logix Infra Developers Pvt. Ltd (Sector 150), Lotus Greens Constructions Pv.t Ltd (Sector 150) and ATS Homes Pvt. Ltd (Sector 152). However, the authority permitted sub-divisions of the plots to other parties and over time, the four large land parcels were divided into 81 pieces. The report said Authority officials gave undue favours to undeserving real estate players. CAG also pointed out that the technical and financial backgrounds of the four consortiums were not checked duly.
The scheme, said the report, was launched without any provisions of development activities under the Master Plan. The Authority did not invite objections and suggestions while changing the land use in an extensive manner nor did it seek approval from the NCR Planning Board, said CAG.
Moreover, Noida Authority failed to take approval even from the state government before launching the scheme, the report stated. “The very initiation of the Sports City schemes without approval was irregular,” it added.