Realtors seek relaxations and Government support for business continuity
by Shrutee K/DNS
The discontinuation of the stamp duty benefit by the Maharashtra Government has been a dampener on the real estate market which was just beginning to show signs of recovery in the last two quarters. To add to it, the lockdown announced by the State Government on the account of the resurgence in the Covid-19 cases have slowed-down the construction and sales activity across the entire real estate sector. Real estate developers in the city are now seeking certain relaxations in lockdown-like curbs imposed by the State Government till 1st May 2021.
Real estate developers’ body CREDAI-MCHI had written to the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to allow engineers and architects to visit construction sites of realtors to which the MCGM has given a nod. CREDAI-MCHI had also demanded that developers should be allowed to transport labourers from labour camps in private buses to construction sites.
Mr. Pritam Chivukula, Co-Founder & Director, Tridhaatu Realty and Hon. Secretary, CREDAI-MCHI said, "The construction activity requires constant support and guidance of supervisors, architects and engineers at the site. Hence we had requested the Government to allow them at the construction sites with proper safety protocols. We thank the Government for giving the nod to allow supervisors, architects and engineers and also permitting construction activities at sites where labourers are already present. The new curbs won’t affect the large and medium-sized developers as they are already taking the necessary precautions at the sites. Although this will affect the small developers and also the redevelopment projects as they do not have enough space for labour camps. The permission to transport labourers from labour camps to construction sites adhering to safety guidelines will help the smaller developers to complete and deliver the projects on time and thus sustain the demand."
"We are in talks with local urban bodies for conducting free tests for the labourers. For project sites in the outskirts of the city, we are planning to tie-up with private organizations to conduct the Covid tests. Most of the labourers are in the age groups from 20-40 and as per the GOI directive, the vaccination below the age of 45 has not been initiated yet. Hence we are writing to the Government to grant permission to conduct the vaccination for these labourers on priority and if feasible to conduct the vaccination drive on the construction site itself,” Mr. Chivukula further added.
CREDAI has announced it will provide free vaccination to over 2.5 crore construction workers at the sites of its over 13,000 developer members across 217 Indian cities and towns.
Apex realtors body NAREDCO too have demanded support from the Government for the continuation of the business as the drastic increase in the number of new Covid cases could adversely affect the demand for residential real estate.
Mr. Ashok Mohanani - President, NAREDCO Maharashtra said, "Although both the Central and State Government have taken ample measures to support the real estate sector in the past few months of this pandemic crisis, they need to ensure that the momentum continues as it is the second largest employment generator. The current lockdown has already played a spoiler on the festive spirit as we have witnessed muted sales on the occasion of Gudi Padwa. It would be difficult to sustain the demand if adequate Government support is not provided to the developers. We have requested the Government to allow the vaccination drive for labourers between the age-group of 20-45 years as most of the labourers fall in that age category. We also request to expedite the Covid tests as it is taking long to get the reports. The daily vaccination doses should also be increased to mitigate the risk factor. We are working closely with all the NAREDCO members and are adhering to all the necessary Government guidelines. Labourers are the most vital and integral part of real estate and taking utmost care of them is our paramount responsibility. Addressing the issue of reverse migration, we are ensuring that proper accommodation along with food is provided to the labourers at the sites and regular sanitization of the construction sites are done. We are also conducting regular health check-ups and vaccination awareness programs for the workers. We have made the Antigen test mandatory for all the migrant workers who are coming back from their hometown as per the Government guidelines. We are ensuring that they complete their tests before joining the construction sites,"
"We request the Government to ensure continuous supply of raw materials so that the construction at the sites does not get hampered. The developer community too are chalking out plans to ensure business continuity and sustained sales momentum through various technology and digital mediums," Mr. Mohanani further added.
Builders are ensuring that the second wave of the pandemic does not spark another wave of reverse migration as this may reverse the gains made during the last two quarters.
Mr. Anuj Khetan, Director, Vijay Khetan Group said, "We have always prioritized the health and safety of our workers at all our different construction sites. We have arranged for hygienic boarding and lodging on site for our workers along with distribution of face masks and sanitizers. The Covid 19 pandemic, while draws the world’s attention on the importance of vaccines, we have ensured to give paid leave to all the eligible workers for vaccination. Also, for the workers, we are getting RT PCR tests done as per the government guidelines. We are maintaining thorough sanitization at all our sites for the safety of our workers and stakeholders.”