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This article is more than 1 year old.

COVID-19: Real estate developers demand for lifting lockdown at projects

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The government must consider lifting of lockdown at real estate projects or risk major delays, said Niranjan Hiranandani, president, National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO).

COVID-19: Real estate developers demand for lifting lockdown at projects
The government must consider lifting of lockdown at real estate projects or risk major delays, said Niranjan Hiranandani, president, National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO).
The industry body said the time is ripe for allowing workers to get back to work at projects owing to worries surrounding unfinished work across construction sites, the possibility of significant losses, delay in delivery of finished projects to home-buyers, and the onset of South West Monsoon in months from now.
“The option of allowing construction sites to return to activity, with safety measures strictly implemented, is one that needs to be considered by the authorities,” said Hiranandani in a statement.
“The human resource is largely still at construction sites, and instead of keeping them in a lockdown situation, giving them some activity will also keep them occupied — as also help avoid major economic losses as a result of stoppage of work at sites.”
‘Precautionary measures in place’
Migrant labours began returning to the perceived safety of their villages at the start of Prime Minister Modi’s 21-day lockdown on March 24. Soon enough, a government directive calling for developers to persuade their workforce to remain at construction sites with basic facilities provided, was implemented.
The NAREDCO president said even in a situation where there is no work at construction sites, precautionary measures such as masks, washing of hands and maintenance of a minimum distance between personnel are being followed.
“It will be a positive step if urgent work is allowed in the initial stage, to prevent damage,” Hiranandani said.
“If things work out well, we can consider allowing normal construction work too.” The appeal, he added, was being made along the lines of the government allowing agricultural workforce to go about daily work considered an essential activity.
Lockdown could delay well-funded projects by several months
On Thursday, a report published by property consultants Anarock said the stoppage of construction activity and lockdown weren’t the only reasons for major construction delays. “There will be massive disruptions in the construction material supply even after the lockdown ends, leading to disturbances and delay in the construction activity,” said the report.
According to the study, well-funded projects could take several months over and above scheduled deadlines to be completed, while other projects could be delayed by two years. “Nearly 4.7 lakh units across top 7 cities of India were likely to complete in 2020 and these face a high risk of being delayed to later year,” said the report.
A week ago, another Anarock report said that a total 15.62 lakh under-construction homes could be affected by the lockdown, with 57 percent of these units in the National Capital Region and Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
Maharashtra extends RERA deadlines
Meanwhile, Maharashtra RERA took its first proactive step to ease the burden on the state’s housing market, by announcing a three-month extension for all projects whose deadlines fall on or after March 15, 2020.
The regulatory body also announced an extension of time limits for all statutory compliances scheduled to be completed by March, April and May, to June 2020. While hailed by the industry as a welcome relief, Maharashtra’s developers feel a year’s extension might be required to bring business back on track.
“The lockdown brought all work to standstill, hence a deadline extension for under-construction projects was definitely the need of the hour,” said Ashok Mohanani, Chairman, EKTA World, “However, this is only temporary relief, and Maharashtra RERA must consider at least a year's extension.”
The reason for the extension, according to developers is the time that it could take for construction workers to return and the incoming South West Monsoon to pass. “Construction work will continue to be affected for at least six months,” said Mohanani.
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