Days after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi met distressed home buyers in the NCR, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar met the same group and assured them that a final decision on the demarcation of a buffer zone around the Okhla Bird Sanctuary will be “taken immediately”.
A National Green Tribunal (NGT) order forbade the Noida Authority from giving completion certificates to projects within a 10-km radius around the sanctuary.
The NGT asked Centre to demarcate the eco-sensitive zone around the sanctuary after considering fresh proposals of the Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana governments. Though the Environment Ministry issued a draft notification earmarking 100 mts to 1.27 mts from the sanctuaries as eco-sensitive in October 2014, the final notification is yet to arrive.
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On Saturday, a delegation of the Noida Extension Flat Owners Welfare Association (NEFOWA) had met Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken. The former Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister accompanied them to meet Rahul. Almost immediately after Rahul met the delegation, NEFOWA said they were contacted by a number of senior BJP leaders. “We had been trying to reach out to the government for months,” NEFOWA president Abhishek Kumar said.
Kumar said NEFOWA was contacted by the office of Noida MP and Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma late Tuesday.
“On Tuesday around 10.30 pm, Sharma’s office contacted us and asked him to come meet him,” he added.
A delegation from NEFOWA met Sharma at his hospital and were assured their demands would be met. A day later, Sharma accompanied them to meet Javadekar.
“Javadekar told them that a public consultation is over and a decision will be taken immediately,” an official said.
In response, The Congress has alleged that the move was simply a “knee-jerk reaction” from the Centre because of Rahul’s attack on the Centre’s alleged dilution of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority Bill.