An amnesty scheme has been launched by Noida Authority to waive penalties on investors defaulting in paying regular instalments against plots allotted to them. The scheme is expected to benefit hundreds of outstation and overseas investors.
“The scheme has been devised primarily to provide relief to investors who reside outside,” said Rama Raman, chairman and CEO, Noida Authority. The Authority would forgo fines if investors make advance payments of instalments due by them after clearing old dues.
Apart from overseas investors, the Authority had been receiving requests from several quarters for a scheme aimed at relieving the burden of penalties from defaulting allottees.
The latest development in the Indian economy has empowered interest for area and improved real estate nationwide. Contemplating the rising interest for private, business and retail real estate, the Finance Bill 2012 had proposed insertion of segment 194LAA in the ITA to deduct charge by method for TDS @ 1% on attention for exchange of immovable property (other than agrarian land), if the quality of the property surpasses Rs 50 Lakh in urban areas and Rs 20 lakh in other zones.
The idea behind such proposed change appears to be to lessen the flow of black money in the business sector and guarantee dependable information gathering, separated from accumulation of charge to focus on transactions of steady lands. However, the proposal was dropped conceding to the supplication that it will put additional consistence load on the customer.
Government reintroduced the Real Estate (Regulations & Development) Bill, 2013 which proposes to create the Real Estate Regulatory Authority for regulation and arranged improvement in the real estate segment. The destination of the Authority might be to take all conceivable measures for the development and advancement of a solid, transparent, productive and intense real estate area. Also, the bill incorporates many additives for the consumers and some for the business fraternity.
The Real Realty Bill
- The Bill incorporates to institutionalise the part prompting standardised and systematic development of the industry through presentation of definitions, for example ‘apartment’, ‘common areas’, ‘carpet area’, ‘advertisement’, ‘real estate project’, ‘prospectus’ and so on.
- The Bill proposes to enroll real estate executors with clear obligations and capacities, in this manner accelerating cash trail and controlling cash laundering.
- The Bill likewise accommodates foundation of an Appellate Tribunal to arbitrate debates and hear requests from the choices or requests of the Authority.
- Mandatory enrollment with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority for any task to be spread over 4,000 square meters.
- No development could be gained without entering into a concurrence with the client. Deals chanced through pre-sales/soft launch may be shortened.
- Registration could be augmented just up to two years past the definitive period for advancement allowed by the neighborhood licensing power.
- Mandatory web-vicinity of the engineer on the developer’s site.
- The Bill will mix professionalism and push arranged advancement of the real estate segment through the special part of the Regulatory Authority.
- Real estate developer should be instructed to store no less than 70 per cent of the trusts accepted from finish clients into a committed undertaking record, which could be utilised just for the reasons of the task.
The Delhi NCR realty market is still a favourite destination for affordable, mid-, and high-end housing segments. A K TIWARY writes
The Delhi NCR residential market is still a favourite destination for affordable, mid-, and high-end housing segments, even in this period of economic slowdown.
A recent report says that with increasing demand of housing cutting across segments in the Delhi NCR realty market, nearly 9,600 units were launched in the third quarter of this year. This is on a par with the number of units launched in the second quarter, and constitutes 22% of the total launches across Top 8 cities in the country like Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata.
The NCR saw a total absorption of 35,000 units in the first half of 2013, showing an increase of 18% from the same period in 2012. Increase in sales can also be ascribed to the high number of project launches in the affordable category. While sluggish buyer sentiment has discouraged sales in some areas, locations like Dwarka Expressway, Noida Expressway, and Greater Noida continue to lure investors.
The affordable, mid-end and high-end segment contributed almost equally to the total launch activity during the quarter. The NCR market registered the highest contribution, 33% of all the high-end launch activity, among the Top 8 cities of India during the third quarter of the year. The majority of the high-end launches in the NCR were located in Gurgaon while the affordable units were concentrated in Noida. The twin cities of Noida and Greater Noida have together contributed nearly 55% of the total number of units launched while Gurgaon accounted for 44% during the quarter.
Reason for demand in the NCR
Realty experts say that over the past two years, the NCR market saw a fall in launches-by nearly 40%-compared to the peak levels of 2010. Short term and long term moving average of launches confirm a plummeting trend.
However, demand has recently stabilized and improved in the last few quarters, which indicates a healthy residential market scene for the NCR-and, if the supplydemand gap tapers further, the region is likely to face an upward pressure on property prices.
Shishir Baijal, CMD of Knight Frank India, says: “The NCR residential market indicated signs of stability in the first half of 2013. Nearly 49,000 units were launched in this period showing a marginal increase of 11%, compared to the first half of 2012. However, a comparison with the first half of 2011 and 2010 reveals a dip of 33% and 59%, respectively. It is quite evident that developers are keeping new launches in check in order to bridge the supply and demand gap.”
Developers have been cautious and remain focused on selling their existing projects rather than launching newer ones. Also, there are great opportunities in the secondary market for projects under construction because investors want to liquidate and reduce holdings. In fact, discounts are being offered in the range of 15-20% depending on the project size and the location. So, overall, this is a good time for people to buy as developers are willing to negotiate the right price and ready to close transactions. Cushman & Wakefield, global real estate consultants, says in a report that the Top 8 cities have seen an estimated residential unit launch of 1,32,000 units between January and September, 2013, which represents an increase of 5% over the same period in 2012.
The high-end property launches in the first three quarters of 2013, which was recorded at 23,500 units, has seen the highest growth at 142% over the same period last year, while launches
in the luxury-housing category recorded a decline of 10.5% between January and September, 2013, over the same period last year.
Shveta Jain, executive director (residential services) of Cushman & Wakefield, says: “Contrary to b y tradition, there has been a decline in new launch activities in the third quarter of 2013, as economic conditions have not been encouraging for developers. The slowdown in demand is largely owing to the low confidence of the consumer, who is put off by increased and consistently high pricing in key cities. Having said that, the demand from first-time buyers and end users has been consistent, as genuine buyers with adequate capital look at this phase as ideal to enter the property market on account of stable capital values.”
Apart from the Delhi NCR, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, and Chennai have seen a quarter on quarter increase of 41%, 25%, and 28% respectively till the third quarter. Though Hyderabad saw the maximum decline of 56% in launches compared to the second quarter of 2013, it however saw one of the highest rises in y-o-y (year-on-year) appreciations. The number of launches in 2013 more than tripled in Bangalore, to nearly 35,000, till September, 2013. Bangalore, the NCR, and Mumbai, contributed 27%, 23% and 19%, respectively, of the launches across the Top 8 cities in 2013.
Rentals have remained stable across most of cities, except Ahmedabad, which registered 4-10% decline in rentals across segments. Gurgaon in the NCR also registered a 4-12% dip in rental values for high-end spaces. Bangalore saw the maximum appreciation,
4-12%, q-o-q (quarter-onquarter) across a few submarkets in the mid-end segment capital values due to persistent demand from working population.
Kolkata registered 5-7% appreciation in capital values of prime areas, due to growing demand for high-end projects in these locations. Capital values across segments in Chennai, Hyderabad, and Pune remained stable during the quarter due to sluggish sales, subdued demand and rising construction costs.
High-end segment capital values in locations like Lower Parel and Worli in southcentral Mumbai declined by 2%, while in Gurgaon, they fell by 3-5%, which is likely to boost demand and push transaction activity in an oversupply scenario. Ahmedabad registered the maximum price correction of 4-8% across the majority of the markets for both mid-end and high-end segments in the third quarter of this year.
After a slow start in the first half of the year, the launch activity seems to have picked up in Ahmedabad, with 2,100 units launched in the third quarter of 2013. This was an increase of 41% q-o-q and exceeded the total number of launches during the first half of the year. Despite the sluggish market, significant pick up in the launch activity over the last two quarters could majorly be attributed to the fact that some planned projects can no longer be delayed further. Nearly 51% of the launches in this quarter were in the affordable segment and a majority of the launches were concentrated in the peripheral areas of SG Highway and Bopal.
Bangalore saw 13,200 units launched, accounting for the highest share of 30% launches across the Top 8 cities during the third quarter of the year.
It was the only city to cross the 10,000 units mark in launches for the third consecutive quarter in the year.
Despite the higher number of launches, the mid-end segment saw an appreciation of 5-12% in capital values across select sub markets. This was been primarily due to the growing demand of residential units in proximity to IT hubs and the paucity of new launches in certain central areas of the city.
A majority of the launches in the midend segment were concentrated in areas like Sarjapur Road and Bannerghatta Road in the south, Whitefield in east and Yelahanka and Jakkur in the north of Bangalore. The realty market of Chennai has continued to register an upsurge in the number of new launches for residential units in the third quarter of this year with more than 4,100 units launched. Nearly 94% of these launches are in the mid-end segment, followed by 4% in the affordable, and the remainder in the high-end segment. Compared to the last quarter, the high-end segment registered a decline of 41% in the number of new launches in the third quarter of 2013. It is expected that the next quarter will see the completion of 6,000 units, which will infuse new residential supply in the Chennai market.
Hyderabad saw nearly 1,945 units launched this quarter, a decline of nearly 56% compared to the second quarter. With Hyderabad contributing only 4% of the total launches across the Top 8 cities, activity in the residential market continued to be sluggish here. The mid-end segment contributed to more than half of the total launch activity in the quarter with Kukatpally registering the maximum activity in the segment. The affordable segment comprised 33% of the total demand followed by high-end segment at 11%.
Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, has seen nearly 7,200 unit launched in the third quarter of 2013. Though this was a decline of nearly 34% q-o-q, it was an increase of 19% for the first three quarters of the year, and was on a par with the average number of quarterly launches in the city over the past two years.
The decline in launches over the second quarter could mainly be attributed to slow sales in the market and the delay in regulatory approvals, as a result of which the fourth quarter might see a slight increase in launch activity. Panvel in Navi Mumbai contributed 64% of these unit launches in the third quarter with major contribution from a single large project. Central suburban areas like Mulund, Powai, and Wadala contributed 13% of the launches followed by Thane at 10%.
Nearly 3,850 units were launched in Pune this quarter out of which two-third came from the mid-end segment and rest from the high-end segment. Amidst sluggish sales, piling up inventories and soaring construction costs, the launch activity saw a decline of nearly 13% q-o-q, as developers adopted a wait-and-watch approach.
Source:Time of India
Possession of a property is a right recognized by law.
A person in actual physical possession of a property or any person entitled to its possession is said to possess the possessory title of the property.
This possessory title is independent of the proprietary title of the property. Possession by itself is a substantive right recognized by law and has legal advantages attached to it apart from the true owner’s title.
The right to possession is a heritable right and a transferable right. Even the equitable relief of declaration and injunction are available to the person in possession, as against any person threatening to infringe on it. Suits of possession are generally classified as based on proprietary title and on possessory title. Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act 1963 even treats possessory title in a way better than the proprietary title, in matters where the person in possession is dispossessed without his consent, otherwise than through due course of law.
In such matters, the person in possession or any person claiming through him may, by instituting a suit within six months of dispossession, recover possession of the property, notwithstanding any other title that may be set up in defence, in such a suit. If the person holding a possessory title is sought to be dispossessed, without his consent but in due course of law, the person holding possessory title is likely to succeed as against all people except the true owner.
Article 64 of the schedule to the Limitation Act 1963 recognizes that a person holding possessory title, that is while in possession of the property, on being dispossessed, can institute a suit for possession of the property within 12 years of the dispossession. This, the person holding the possessory title can do, even if he does not have the proprietary title.
Possessory title is nothing but a title derived from possession and is good against all except rightful owner and as held by the division bench of Bombay high court in the case of Mariumbi Aslam khan vs Vithoba Yeshwanta-such possessory title has all the features of an estate in land and like any other estate, it can be transferred inter vivos [literally, between the living. It identifies a gift made during the donor’s lifetime.] and can also be acquired by inheritance.
Possession has a two-fold value—it is evidence of ownership and is itself a foundation of right to possession.
If you drive along the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway in the National Capital Region, you will come across several advertisements by builders promising 12 per cent assured return on office space. For people looking to invest in real estate, the return appears attractive, but should you opt for such schemes offered by developers in the commercial segment? What exactly do these offer and do they actually deliver what is promised?
Catch in the scheme:
With banks reluctant to lend to developers, or demanding an interest rate of 17-18 per cent on construction loans, developers are trying to raise money from individuals by offering assured returns of 11-12 per cent. This return is paid monthly while the building is under construction. The payments usually last till the first lease or for 1-2 years after the construction is completed.
The biggest catch in these schemes is the pricing. If you compare the price of an office property offering assured returns with that of a similar building in the vicinity that doesn’t offer this, the former is likely to be more expensive.
Says Sajid, manager at Silverline Realty, a Bangalore-based real estate consultancy: “If the market rate of the property is Rs 10,000 per sq ft, the builder will charge Rs 13,000 per sq ft. He may promise you an 11-12 per cent return till the project is complete, but essentially, he is giving back your money to you.”
Rajan Ahuja, director, Realty Verticals, a Gurgaon-based real estate consultancy, says that such assured return schemes are typically priced 40 per cent higher. “If you want to earn a higher return, you would be better off avoiding these schemes,” he adds.
For instance, if you buy a 1,000 sq ft property at Rs 5,000 per sq ft instead of Rs 7,500, and you manage to rent it out at Rs 50 per sq ft, your rate of return will be 12 per cent at the former price, but only 8 per cent in the case of the latter (see table). Besides, there’s the risk that the developer may not pay you the promised return.
As Rajeev Bairathi, executive director, Knight Frank India, warns, “Such schemes are good for only as long as the developer is doing well.” The moment he runs into financial trouble, his post-dated cheques may begin to bounce. Also, be warned that your return is likely to dip once the assured returns end. While this return tends to be in the range of 11-12 per cent, the rental return is usually 7-8 per cent.
Points to Check:
Before opting for an assured return scheme, you should clarify several things and get the developer’s assurance in writing. First, enquire whether the return will last till the completion of the project or till a tenant is found. If the scheme is only till the building’s completion, you could be left high and dry till a tenant is found, which may not happen in a hurry given the weak market at the current juncture.
Second, if the offer lasts till after the construction, and the rental rate earned is lower than the promised rate of return, will the developer make good the difference, or will he give you more space?
Three, if the tenant leaves midway through the first lease, will your assured return continue?
Four, check the developer’s track record. What if you don’t receive a cheque or it bounces? Does he have a reputation for being responsive to complaints?
Five, is the developer good at finding tenants? Avoid those with a poor record on this count.
Finally, however attractive the assured return, you must give greater weightage to the location and quality of building, as well as the developer’s financial strength.
Pros and Cons:
A popular practice in the office segment is that the builder develops a large floor area, which he then slices and sells to a number of buyers. The buyer’s space is not demarcated, nor does it have a boundary. All he has are the papers to prove his ownership of a portion of the space. The possession rights are given to the builder, who then finds a tenant on behalf of the buyers. The good thing about this scheme is that it lowers your entry barrier.
Says Anshuman Magazine, chairman and MD, CB Richard Ellis, South Asia: “In such schemes, the ticket size becomes low, so you can invest with a smaller amount.”
Sajid of Silverline Realty says that such schemes are common in technology parks, and based on his experience in the Bangalore market, he feels there is not much risk in these. However, they do have certain disadvantages.
According to Magazine, there could be disputes among owners. “When a tenant is hard to come by, you may want to rent out the floor at a lower rate, but the rest may not agree with you,” he says. Moreover, you can’t take possession of the property and rent it out individually or utilise it for your own needs. “If your space is in the middle of the floor, having access to it will be difficult,” says Ahuja.
According to Pradeep Mishra, head of Gurgaon-based Sainik Estates, there could be legal problems in asserting ownership rights since your area is not properly demarcated.
Exiting such schemes is also difficult. “Shared ownership could lead to a lot of complexities,” he says.
About a couple of months before its formal launch, developers conduct a soft launch, wherein they offer the property to investors at a discount of, say, 7-10 per cent. The short-term investors, who sell the property within 6-8 months, often opt for such schemes. While the discount pushes up the returns, remember that if prices tank, you may not be able to make a quick exit.
Says Sajid: “This is a high-risk game that only large investors should play.” So, study every scheme carefully and invest your hard-earned money in it only if you are convinced.
Naming a real estate project is an integral ingredient of a marketing strategy. After completing the layout, one thing that keeps tickling the developers’ mind is naming the project. In order to lure buyers, it is very important to break out the real estate naming rut and come up with exclusive names. And by any means this is not a simple task.
As Sushant Muttreja, MD of Cosmic Group explains, “Naming a project is an exhaustive process. First step is to understand the project as the name should justify the kind of project we are building. Hence it requires a lot of understanding and comprehensive research. Second parameter is that the name should be easy to speak and remember. Third, it should be innovative and different from everyone.”
“Based on these parameters, a primary research is conducted where the whole team comes up with multiple options and the best one is chosen,” Muttreja adds.
Overall the process needs a comprehensive look on the location of the project, features and the segment of the population that the project is catering to.
A few examples of how developers decided the names of their projects will help us delve further into understanding the naming procedure-
Manoj Gaur, MD of Gaursons says, “Naming of a project is a tricky process, which depends on several factors such as location and audience. But to carve out a niche for one’s project, there has to be something extraordinary. Since, Hindi is our mother tongue; we give importance to vernacular names. One of our best selling projects was ‘Saundaryam’. We feel somewhere it touches the chord with the Indian buyers.”
Talking of their way of nomenclature, Dhiraj Jain, Director of Mahagun Group says, “The name of a project should ideally reflect the character of the project and relate to its target audience seamlessly. With the consideration of the above, Mahagun also prefer names that begin with the alphabet ‘M’.”
M Arun Kumar, MD of Casa Grande is of the opinion that the project name should entirely be decided on the basis of the concept. The essence is that there has to be a synergy between the project and the concept.
The Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority has launched a scheme offering industrial plots of sizes greater than 2,100 square metres.
Industrialists who want buy the plots need to fill up a form and submit it to select banks, along with a registration and processing fee, project reports and other statutory documents, as per the terms of allotment.
The sale of application forms will start from September 21. Forms will be available at select bank branches on payment of Rs 1,100. These are the Bank of Baroda branch at Gamma II, HDFC Bank at Alpha commercial belt, and Indian Bank at Jagat Farms – Gamma I.
The forms can also be downloaded from the authority’s website. For downloaded forms, a demand draft of Rs 1,100 in favour of authority has to be submitted along with the application form.
GNIDA will scrutinise the applications and ask applicants to appear before the allotment committee. The final approval will be done after seeking nod from the GNIDA board.
GNIDA Chairman Rama Raman said: “The scheme is open ended. It will remain open till authority announces closure.”
The rupee will bounce back sharply once speculation decreases. The RBI is then expected to soften the monetary policy stance. Many analysts believe the fall in the value of the rupee is not based on strong fundamentals. The rupee will bounce back sharply once speculation comes down, they say. The RBI is then expected to soften the monetary policy stance. A tight liquidity condition and high interest rates will have an adverse impact on the growth rate. With the slide in the value of the rupee, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to take further steps. Banks are under pressure because of the tight liquidity condition. There have been reports that they may increase interest rates on deposits and loans too.
However, many analysts believe the fall in the value of the rupee is not based on strong fundamentals. The rupee will bounce back sharply once speculation comes down. The RBI is then expected to soften the monetary policy stance. A tight liquidity condition and high interest rates will have an adverse impact on the growth rate. A home loan is driven more by the long-term interest rate movements in the economy. The focus of the RBI’s recent monetary tightening measures was to raise the interest rates on short-term instruments and gradually bring them down as the rupee stabilizes.
The US Federal Reserve’s decision to delay the tapering of its bond-buyback program will ease the pressure on the rupee and give some headroom to the RBI to shift focus from containing inflation and depreciation of rupee to economic growth.
There is a good news for India as the US Federal Reserve decided to delay the tapering of its bond-buyback, which is also known as Quantitative Easing (QE) program.
This would provide respite to the rupee and give some headroom to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to shift focus from containing inflation and depreciation of rupee to economic growth.
“We believe that now the RBI has more headroom to focus on growth supportive measures. We believe that there is a higher probability now for the RBI to calibrate and ease its liquidity tightening measures that were taken in order to contain forex volatility,” Bhupali Gursale, economist of Angel Broking, said. But at the same times, Gursale says: “As containing inflationary expectations also remains a priority and hence any reduction in policy rates on September 20, when the Indian central bank reviews its credit policy, does not seem to be on the cards.”
The decision of the Fed to delay the tapering of QE was liked by the markets. Indian equity market appreciated sharply giving some hope of arresting the slowdown in the economy soon.
The impact of the Fed’s decision of Wednesday has been carried on in Thursday’s trading session and the rupee has shown a sharp appreciation rally since opening trade. The currency is hovering around Rs 61.65 and is up by more than 2.6%. Upbeat global markets and the sigh of relief over concern coming on the back of the Fed pullback provided gains in the currency.
Angel Commodities said in a report that the Federal Reserve has not only postponed the QE taper but has also indicated slowdown in economic growth, thus relieving markets of the belief that an improvement in the US economic condition would lead to flight of capital from the emerging and developing economies that are grappling with economic slowdown.
Under the QE program, the Fed was supposed to buy back bonds worth around $85 billion from the market to infuse liquidity into the US system. This keeps the interest rates at very low level. In fact, the short-term rate is around zero per cent there. This prompts the US investors and consumers to spend, which is expected to revive the economy. But at the same time, this policy pushes the US and other global investors to invest in emerging economies like India where the interest rates are higher. But, the latest decision has quelled all apprehensions here and is expected to help revive the Indian economy which is starving of capital.
The infusion of capital in the Indian market will not only help in increasing the economic activities but will also help stemming the depreciation of rupee. This will also enable the RBI to take policy decisions to bring down the interest rate, which would help in putting the economy back on higher growth path. Any lowering of the interest rates or increase in the liquidity in the system, besides reviving the economy, is likely to help the real estate sector also.
On the back of the Fed’s decision, the rupee has appreciated sharply in Thursday’s trade and the currency is expected to take further cues from the RBI’s monetary policy review that is scheduled for Friday.
The report by Angel Commodities said that the Indian economy is, however, in a slowing phase and even though the need of the hour demands an interest rate cut, the situation may not permit the newly-appointed RBI governor to please the domestic economy. However, the decision by the Fed to hold the QE taper has already secured sentiments from falling weaker, the report said.
Following the Fed’s decision, dollar is likely to weaken in the international market. The rupee has already shown reaction to the weakness in the dollar, coupled with recovery in domestic equities, on hopes of stability.
As the dollar is likely to weaken, gold price in dollar has appreciated. But with sharp appreciation seen in the rupee against dollar, any sharp gains in gold prices in the Indian markets will be restricted.
Any recovery in the economy and fall in the interest rates will help the real estate sector. The firming up of the interest rates affected the demand for the real estate in almost all the regions. At the same time, the revival in economic activities will also help change the mood of the investors.
Bankers and investors feel that the Fed’s decision will certainly help the Indian economy, the real estate sector in particular. The good news is that the low interest rates in the US are likely to continue for some more time. The report noted that the Federal Reserve officials voted to keep short-term interest rate near zero, the level at which it has been since late 2008. The latest economic projections also suggest that the first interest rate increase in the US could happen in 2015, or later. Ten out of 17 Fed officials expect benchmark interest rate—that is, the federal funds rate—to be at or below 2% by the end of 2016.
The impact of the fed’s decision of Wednesday has been carried on in Thursday’s trading session and the rupee has shown a sharp appreciation rally since opening trade.
Nine months since the National Green Tribunal (NGT) passed an interim order to stop use of underground water for construction in Noida and Greater Noida, it has taken cognizance of the violation of its orders against 12 developers. Sources reveal that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that if the Tribunal’s orders are properly implemented, work on more than 95% projects will come to a halt.
Dewatering a must for basements:
Many architects are of the opinion that the Tribunal’s order to stop groundwater extraction during construction is inconsistent with the construction plan approved by the development authorities. No basement, especially in projects close to river beds, can be constructed without dewatering the foundation.
“If you are building a 20-storey structure, you have to dig at least four metres under the ground for a basement. If you go higher, you need to dig deeper. How can a developer construct an apartment in projects close to the riverbed without dewatering the foundation,” asks AK Jain, a well-known architect and developer who has recently launched a luxury project, The Jewels of Noida, in Sector 75.
Pile foundation is an expensive alternative:
On there being a viable alternative to dewatering for basements, Jain says pile foundation is the only technique in civil engineering which can work, but the drawback is the high cost involved. “If a developer utilizes this pile foundation technique for a high-rise, he will not need to dewater the foundation. The problem, however, is that the cost of laying the piles is one-and-a-half times more than the cost for basement construction. So the total cost of the project will go up and buyers will not be able to afford it,” says Jain.
It is also suggested that since raft and pile foundations (and sometimes a combination of both) decrease the possibility of water extraction, this should be made mandatory in areas where the water table is quite high. As far as the requirement of parking in buildings is concerned, it should be provided in the upper floors of the apartment.
Says Pradeep Kharbanda, an architect and town planner, “In India any one can misuse natural resources in the name of development to earn high profits. Why do we need to go for basements and why can’t we make provisions for multi-storey parking by building one or two towers (blocks) in project/townships which will take care of all the residents’ parking requirements? Unfortunately, developers will not like this as it will reduce the salable area.”
“Some environmentally-conscious builders are taking precautions and are working towards logically dewatering through their own efforts,” says Kharbanda.
Amend Construction Plans:
- Many civil engineering experts hold the development authorities responsible for the violation of the NGT order. “First of all, the approval of building plans for any area should be assessed on the basis of its water table.
- “No project should be approved in areas where construction permits interfere with the water table. The development authorities should keep this in mind while giving approvals to any project in future,” says a senior professor of civil engineering from IIT, Delhi.
He adds, “Now when a lot of projects have already been approved and are under construction, the development authorities should take up each project and assess whether they can be constructed in compliance with the NGT’s order.”
Inadequate water supply from STP:
Another challenge in the implementation of the NGT order is the lack of adequate water supply from sewage treatment plants (STP) for construction. In its order delivered in January, 2013, the NGT prohibited developers to use underground water for construction purposes.
Though the concerned authorities claim to have enough STP water to fulfill every need, the developers dismiss it. “Most of the sewage treatment plants are defunct in Noida and Greater Noida. Those which are functional are unable to meet the huge water demand, so everyone is facing a difficult situation,” says Jain.
Many developers, who do not want to be named, admit that due to constant pressure by home-buyers to deliver projects on time, they cannot help but violate these norms.
“Authorities are unable to present the correct picture to the Tribunal. The industry is already under pressure due to several new developments. We are also accountable to home-buyers to deliver the project on time. The delay in delivery will invite penalty. Even if I get my building plan amended and adopt the combination of raft and piles foundation practice, how will I construct a building if I don’t get enough water supply from STPs,” asks a real estate developer.
International norms are against Dewatering:
Is dewatering for construction a common practice in other countries too? Experts say no. According to Rajesh Gulati, an NRI architect and one of the partners in DDG, an internationally renowned planning, architecture and design firm based in the US, developers should look for more innovative solutions instead of choosing the easiest way out – which is more often than not likely to be harmful for the environment.
“We have designed mixed- use projects across the globe, which are close to the ocean front/riverbeds with high water table. Building any basements in such spots is virtually impossible and definitely not practical. Diverse projects such as supermarkets, hotels, apartment towers and office buildings have been successfully accommodated in the same structure without resorting to a ‘dug-out basement’ concept,” says Gulati.
It is very common in the West to have an integrated approach to mixed-use planning. Typically, a structure incorporating parking entry ramps, lobbies of residential buildings/offices/hotels are all planned at the ground level. This practice is complex but highly successful and cost-effective, he adds.
Building experts say that there are quite a few places where height restrictions are in place, which necessitate underground construction. However, it is done with a lot of caution. “Authorities in some countries know that the cost to dewater and waterproof the basement is very high. The retaining walls too need to be designed to take water pressure from surrounding areas,” says an IIT Delhi professor from the civil engineering department.
For example, within the federal triangle area in Washington DC, no building can be higher than the Capitol Dome. Therefore, most builders have to pursue basement construction for parking. Also, there are areas close to airports where the height of buildings is restricted.