Shahberi: An Affordable Housing Dream That Turned Into Homebuyers’ Nightmare
Shahberi in Greater Noida West was once known as the upcoming residential hotspot, offering property to at an affordable price to those on a budget. However, none of these homebuyers took a stock of the legality of the area until two buildings here collapsed in July last year. Nearly nine causalities were reported in this mishap.
Now, a year after the incident, the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) has declared all the buildings in Shahberi village as illegal and ordered their demolition. There are around 1,000 buildings and as many as 25,000 people, who are on the verge of losing their home.
When did the Shahberi crisis begin?
In 2011, the GNIDA had notified the acquisition of prime agricultural land for industrial use. Following which a group of farm landowners approached the Allahabad High Court, challenging the notification issued as they accused the authority of allotting the land to private builders for the construction of a residential township. As a result, the HC denotified Shahberi, which meant any construction in the area would be illegal and no layout plans would be approved.
However, the residents living in these buildings claimed to have a bank loan and property registration papers. They are now raising questions as to why the authorities did not stop the construction of these buildings that have been come up over a period of one decade.
Not just Shahberi; areas including Garhi Chokhandi, Basai, Sorkha, Atta, Sadarpur, Sarffabad, Gijhod, Barola and Bhangel, also have a number of unauthorised buildings that are densely populated.
What's next for Shahberi residents?
In 2015, when the Gautam Buddh Nagar district magistrate conducted a survey, it was found that nearly 70 buildings in Shahberi were unsafe and needed strengthening. It was also observed that among these buildings - the ones that had eight floors, did not have a lift, violating the building bylaws. However, no steps were taken to curb the situation.
However, now the Noida Authority plans to go all out and take strict action against the illegal structures here. Noida Authority CEO Alok Tandon, in a media report, has said, “We have decided to identify all the unapproved buildings in Shahberi and take strict action against them. We have also sealed illegal buildings in some villages. Similarly, we will identify and seal other buildings too.” The Greater Noida Authority is also in the process of hiring multiple private agencies to carry out the demolition of illegal buildings.