A PRESS REPORT –
A XXXXXX-based developer is returning money to his customers, besides an interest of 13% per annum, after his upscale housing project in Koramangala failed to pass the height test of HAL, leading to inordinate delay. The project, XXXXXXXXX, falling within 5-km distance of HAL airport, hit the “air pocket” when authorities found that the builder had allegedly fudged the building height and HAL cancelled its sanctions. The project has been halted for the last five years and nearly 200 buyers are in a limbo as the litigation seems to be going nowhere. Left with no option, some 50 buyers have cancelled their bookings, withdrew their monies and the builder, who is already in the firing line, is offering 13% interest annually from the date of payment.
Delay in construction projects especially residential is common. If you have availed a housing loan, with EMI kicking in and your property is stuck in a huge mess with the government without a definite deadline for completion, it’s all the more worse. XXXXXX, being executed by Mumbai-based realty major XXXXXXXXXXX, is one such project that seems to be going nowhere.
On an eight-acre plot, the 11 towers scaling 17 storeys with three-five bedrooms, XXXXXX is located about 4.5 km from HAL airport. It falls in the inner horizontal surface of five-km radius and comes under the ambit of Airports Authority of India. An NoC is mandatory which was issued to the builder in 2011with a strict rider: “If at any time it is established that the said data furnished by the builder differed, it could adversely affect aircraft operations and such portion of the structure will have to be demolished.’’ In the documents submitted to the authorities, at the site elevation at 870 m Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL), the apartment height was 62 — which means, the total AMSL adds up to 932 m which is permissible by AAI.
Work started and in 2012, HAL found a mismatch of the elevation while checking some records — the AMSL of the site was 890 m and added to it, 62 m, the total height of the project would cross 952 m. This height was not permissible under the regulations and HAL cancelled the NoC. The builder moved the high court in 2013 and subsequently an aeronautical study of the project was ordered. The Airports Authority of India which carried out a structure study to ensure that safety, efficiency and regularity of flight operations is not disturbed, gave a report absolving the builder and giving a go-ahead to the construction. However, this was not taken too kindly by HAL which objected to the findings and termed it as “erroneous and is liable to be rejected in limine.’’
The 2011-launched project had offered units ranging from 2,285 sqft to 5,525 sqft and the prices were Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore. While 200 flats were launched in phase I, the next stage had 150 units.
DIFFERENCE IN OPINION
* The AAI gave a thumbs-up to XXXXXXX by concluding that “the existing site having top elevation of 954.41 M lies outside protection area and will not affect the operations and procedures of HAL
* The HAL, in its reply to the AAI study had hit out stating that “the report is defective, in contrary to the parameters for conduct of aeronautical study and hence liable to be rejected. Since the maximum height being stipulated at 932 metres for HAL Bengaluru airport, there is no question of permitting a structure beyond that height within inner horizontal surface.’’