Pratap, a techie and resident of one of the affected projects, said: “In 2006, an NOC was issued to the builder. In 2016, the building was declared as being part of the full tank level of the lake. We are completely at a loss.”
Not just those living in Tellapur, but those planning to pay an advance are also on tenterhooks. Srinivas, a prospective buyer, wondered if he should go ahead considering the uncertainty in the area.
In a first attempt of its kind, the petitioner in the case Rajkumar Thakur spoke to the residents clarifying on various issues, including on NOCs. “In any NOC, there is a line at the end that states it can be cancelled at any time if illegalities or encroachments are found. So, unlike what many gullible people believe, an NOC is not written in stone. One has to be extra cautious and I too have been fooled this way,” he said.
Assuring residents that they need not panic, Thakur said that prospective customers could still buy properties, but need to keep in mind encroached spaces. “In the recent flooding, almost 300 apartments in one establishment were affected. So, prospective buyers must avoid such projects or part of projects that encroach water bodies.” He called for another meeting with all stakeholders, stating a resolution on the issue would set an example.
Confident that even if the matter goes to the Supreme Court, it would uphold the environment-friendly order of the NGT, he said the rights of buyers must be protected. There are three major lakes in Tellapur, including Chelli Kunta, Medla Kunta and Vanam kunta, and several nalas.
Ramana Eshwaragiri, president, Tellapur neighbourhood association, said a three-member residents’ committee would soon be formed to talk to affected residents. A combined petition would be placed before the government-appointed committee to look into the matter.
The order was given by the NGT southern bench in Chennai on October 29. While stating that a government-constituted committee should look into the violations, it called for eviction of violators and action against those officials who issued NOCs.