Friday, 9 March 2018

Punjab govt approves affordable housing policy

This would help make these available to the lower income groups on affordable price. Plot sizes in such colonies shall be maximum up to 125 sq yards and their average size shall not exceed 100 sq yards.

CHANDIGARH: The PunjabCabinet on Wednesday paved the way for the notification of the Affordable Colony Policy - 2018 to facilitate affordable housing for lower income groups, thereby also checking the mushroom growth of unauthorised colonies.

With most unauthorised colonies found to have small sized plots that are normally purchased by economically weaker section (EWS) and lower income group (LIG), the state government had decided to relax certain provisions in approved colonies, including relaxation in saleable area, FAR etc., with the aim to make plots available to the common man on affordable rates.

The Cabinet has now given its nod to the new policy, aimed at offering higher density and floor area ratio (FAR) to the promoters who were keen to develop an affordable colony, according to an official spokesperson in a release.

The new policy has proposed rebate in rates pertaining to Change of Land Use (CLU), External Development Charges (EDC) and License Fee (LF) to enable construction of the maximum possible number of flats over an acre of land.

This would help make these available to the lower income groups on affordable price. Plot sizes in such colonies shall be maximum up to 125 square yards and their average size shall not exceed 100 sq. yard.

Under the policy, a maximum of five acres of land would be required to carve out an affordable colony in all the master plans of the state, except SAS Nagar and New
Chandigarh master plans, wherein any activity to set up a colony is only allowed to be undertaken as per the provisions of the approved master plans.

The policy proposes plotted, flatted and a mix of plotted and flatted development by the promoters.

It also envisages the maximum saleable area for the flats at 65 per cent of the total project, as against the existing 50 per cent, which would come as a major relief to builders.

Similarly, under the flatted development on roads of 40 to 80 feet and above, an FAR of 1:2 to 1:3 has been proposed. Parking norms for the dwelling units have also been relaxed.

As per a recent inventory, there are approximately 8,000 unauthorized colonies having about 40,000 acres of land, which have come up without permission from the competent authority in a haphazard manner and are devoid of basic facilities such as water supply, sewerage etc.

The mushrooming of unauthorized colonies has been found to be directly linked to non-availability of affordable housing for the lower and middle income groups, release said.

Meanwhile, Punjab cabinet also gave its nod to renaming the Department of Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and Minorities, as Department of Social Justice and Empowerment and Minorities'.

The decision to rename the department was taken as the existing name neither carried a positive connotation, nor truly reflected the efforts and endeavor of the government for upliftment of disadvantaged sections of the society, said an official release.

The Directorate of the concerned department has also been renamed accordingly as Directorate of Social Justice and Empowerment and Minorities.

Concurrently, the post of 'District Welfare Officer & Tehsil Welfare Officer' has been renamed as District Social Justice and Empowerment Officer &Tehsil Social Justice and Empowerment Officer.

The population of Punjab is 277.43 lakh, as per the census 2011, which comprises weaker sections of the society that include 31.94 per cent population of Scheduled Castes and about 16.1 percent of Backward Classes besides Christians, Muslims and other minorities.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Kotak Realty-Cube Highways offer Rs 6,000 crore to build 25,000 Jaypee flats

The bids are due to be opened next week, and the resolution plan is expected to be finalised by March-end or early April.

NEW DELHI: Kotak Realty Fundand Cube Highways, which have bid for Jaypee Infratech, have proposed to set aside Rs 6,000 crore for constructing 25,000 undelivered homes, while offering to pay all lenders and promising that banks will not have to take a ‘haircut’ on their exposure.

At least half a dozen bidders, including the Adani Group, JSW, Deutsche Bank, Sudhi Walia-promoted Suraksha Asset Reconstruction Corporation and Chinese realtor Jieyang Zhonguci, apart from the Kotak Realty-Cube Highways combine, are in the fray for the company facing insolvency action. The bids are due to be opened next week, and the resolution plan is expected to be finalised by March-end or early April, sources told TOI.

Last August, the National Company Law Tribunal had initiated insolvency proceedings against Jaypee Infratech with the resolution process now in the =final phase. The Supreme Court has also stepped in and appointed an amicus curiae to protect the interests of homebuyers.

Sources said that apart from upfront payment, Kotak Realty Fund and Cube Highways — both backed by funding from Abu Dhabi Investment Authority — have proposed to swap a part of the land for loans taken by Jaypee Infratech that it is yet to repay. This proposal was made by the company’s majority shareholder, Jaypee Associates, to banks last June but was rejected. Jaypee Associates had also submitted its bid but it was not opened following recent amendments to the law that barred promoters of companies that had been a non-performing asset (NPA) for over a year from bidding. A loan is classified as an NPA if it remains unpaid for 90 days at a stretch.

In most insolvency cases, the resolution plan comes with the bidders offering to clear a part of debt, which the Economic Survey said was as high as 80% in the initial set of companies where NCLT had ordered insolvency action. Initial estimates had suggested that Rs 2,500-3,000 crore could be required for completing construction work, but the fund requirement may be much higher.

While Kotak Realty is aiming to develop and monetise the high land bank available to Jaypee Infratech all the way from Noida to Agra along two expressways, Cube Highways is looking to tap the revenue potential from the Taj Expressway, where traffic is expected to increase with Agra, now that it is linked to Lucknow through a new expressway.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Smart City proposals to be cleared soon: Bihar housing minister

Four cities from state – Patna, Biharsharif, Muzaffarpur and Bhagalpur – were included in the Centre’s Smart City project.

PATNA: State urban development and housing minister Suresh Sharma said the Smart City proposals submitted by companies concerned for the four selected cities of the state, including Patna, would be cleared in a week.

Four cities from state – Patna, Biharsharif, Muzaffarpur and Bhagalpur – were included in the Centre’s Smart City project. Bhagalpur was the first city selected for the project, followed by Patna, Muzaffarpur and Biharsharif.

The proposals include improvement of transport infrastructure, mechanism to give quick solution to problems of citizens and facilities based on information technology. “At least 12 companies from the country and abroad have submitted their proposals for consideration,” the minister said, adding a dedicated ‘smart control room’ will be established in the state capital to monitor implementation of the projects.

“The smart control room will be linked with the CM’s office as well as the offices of state DGP and heads of other departments,” Sharma said.

A Spanish company, active in management work in two other proposed smart cities in the country, has already been selected by the state government to manage the projects worth Rs 2,700 crore in Patna.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Bengaluru development body sees growing demand for villas, plans to build 300 more

The BDA has invited tender for its new villa project at Dasanapura, off Tumakuru Road, 24km from the central business district (CBD)

BENGALURU: Sites and flats can wait. The Bangalore Development Authority’s (BDA) new focus seems to be on villas. Encouraged by a massive response to its first villa project in the city, the authority is now set to embark on developing another residential enclave with 300 high-end villas.

The BDA has invited tender for its new villa project at Dasanapura, off Tumakuru Road, 24km from the central business district (CBD). The move follows BDA’s earlier enclave consisting of 452 villas in Alur, also off Tumakuru Road, north Bengaluru, which saw 90% allotment.

N G Gowdaiah, engineer officer with the housing projects wing of BDA, told TOI a good response to its villa project in Alur has prompted the BDA to go for more such projects. “We have invited tender for the construction of Villa Housing Project at Survey No. 35 of Hunnigere village in Dasanapura hobli on a lumpsum turnkey basis. For the first time, we are going to build high-end 4BHK villas as part of the project,” he added.

As part of its Alur villa project, the BDA had built 104 3BHK duplex villas (costing Rs 50 lakh each). “In fact, soon after the first notification in late 2016, we received 200 applications for the 104 3BHK villas at Alur. Each villa is spread over 1,800sqft. Demand for villas in the simplex and duplex categories also grew gradually,” Gowdaiah added.

Gowdaiah said the villas at Dasanapura will have more modern amenities based on the feedback from Alur allottees. “Once the tender is finalized, we will be ready to deliver the villas within 12 months. The new villas will cost marginally higher than the ones at Alur; BDA villas cost about 40% lesser than similar private projects,” Gowdaiah added.

Krishna Murthy, assistant executive engineer with BDA’s housing division, said there could be multiple reasons behind rising demand for BDA villas.

“Those who can afford to pay Rs 50 lakh or more for properties are looking for independent housing and want houses where they can get their own space. However, they can’t afford the same with villas offered by private developers. Also, we are developing these projects close to highways like Tumakuru Road and NICE Road, which is an added advantage when it comes to connectivity,” Murthy pointed out.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Builder cheats buyers, Bombay HC puts his flat, plot on sale

The delay in completion has forced residents of the building to live in temporary homes for nearly a decade

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has ordered the auction of a builder’s flat at Matunga as well as his 58-acre property near Mahabaleshwar to complete a redevelopment project in Dadar he began eight years ago and is still lying unfinished.

The delay in completion has forced residents of the building to live in temporary homes for nearly a decade.

According to the complaint filed by one of the building’s tenants, Sunil Soi, developer Shirish Dixit offered to redo their three-storey building in 2008. Dixit told them that he had purchased the building, Sahnaz, at Dadar (East) from its original landlord for redevelopment. There were 21 tenants in the building then. Dixit entered into an agreement with all and promised to complete the redevelopment work in 34 months.

In 2009, the tenants shifted to an alternate accommodation, after which Dixit demolished the structure.

For a while, Dixit paid rent to the tenants to cover their costs for alternate accommodation, but subsequently stopped. In 2015, the tenants learnt that Dixit had mortgaged the land to a money lender and availed of a Rs 10.4 crore loan. The tenants then approached the court and filed a case against Dixit in April 2016 with the economic offences wing (EOW).

The high court, in its recent order, said Dixit never intended to complete the redevelopment work but was only interested in cheating innocent tenants. The court appointed a commissioner and instructed Dixit to hand over the original documents of his flat in Matunga (East) and land near Mahabaleshwar to him. The court asked the commissioner to auction the properties. Dixit was present in court during the recent hearing and told the court that he had no objection to the auctioning of his property and the use of the money to complete the redevelopment project.

The court order stated: “The court is observing such dishonest conduct in one out of every ten matters before it. Thus, hundreds of innocent members of the public who put in their life savings in the hope of being owners of their flat have been deprived not only of their ownership but also their life savings by such dishonest conduct of the developers.”

The police’s apathetic approach in forwarding the case from one department to another also came in for censure. The court marked the order to the city police commissioner, to apprise him of the manner in which senior officers at Matunga police station had handled the case, which was transferred to them by the joint commissioner of police (EOW).

The court also expressed displeasure with the EOW for transferring the case to Matunga police. It said the police officer was unable to explain why the matter was transferred to the local police by EOW when the sum involved was more than Rs 3 crore. Generally, the EOW investigates economic offences exceeding Rs 3 crore.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Centre bans import of pet coke in Delhi region

Cement plants and other industries approved to use pet coke in the region would also need to obtain permission from the state pollution control board to continue operations.

BY: Aditi Shah and Sudarshan Varadhan

NEW DELHI - India's environment ministry has placed restrictions on the use of imported petroleum coke in the capital Delhi and its surrounding region, in the latest effort to curb rising air pollution.

As the world's largest consumer of petcoke, India imports over half its annual pet coke consumption of about 27 million tonnes, mainly from the United States. Local producers include Indian Oil Corp, Reliance Industries and Bharat Petroleum Corp.

"Only consented and registered industrial units of NCR States shall be permitted to directly import petcoke and consignment shall be in the name of user industrial units for their own use," the ministry of environment, forest and climate change said in a notification issued late on Friday.

Cement plants and other industries approved to use petcoke in the region would also need to obtain permission from the state pollution control board to continue operations, it said.

The ministry has also banned imports of petroleum coke for trading purposes in the capital region, the notice said, adding that even industrial units allowed to use petcoke will not be allowed to store more than three months worth of their consumption.

India will also track the trade of the commodity, and has asked both sellers and consumers to submit monthly reports on petcoke-related transactions.
India is the world's biggest consumer of petroleum coke, which is a dark solid carbon material that emits 11 percent more greenhouse gases than coal, according to the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy.

India's government is in favour of imposing a wider ban on the import of petcoke, according to a government affidavit filed with its top court in December, a ruling on which is expected next month.

(Editing by Andrew Bolton and Alexander Smith)

Thursday, 18 January 2018

JSW highest bidder for Binani Cement

While the bids were revealed to the committee of creditors two days ago, banks will take a final call on the winner in the coming days

MUMBAI: Sajjan Jindal’s JSW Group has emerged as the highest bidder for Binani Cement, exceeding submissions from billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and UltraTech, said three people familiar with the development. JSW’s bid is worth about Rs 5,900 crore, they said.

While the bids were revealed to the committee of creditors two days ago, banks will take a final call on the winner in the coming days. The lenders have appointed consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal to evaluate bids. Bankers are confident Binani is one asset that they won’t lose money on.

ET reported on January 16 that cement makers such as UltraTech, Heidelberg, JSW Group, Dalmia Bharat and Ramco Cements besides Jhunjhunwala had made proposals to acquire assets of the debtridden company. Dalmia Bharat partnered billionaire Ajay Piramal to bid, while JSW submitted its proposal jointly with a private equity firm and Ramco Cement tied up with PE fund True North.
‘No Haircut’

“We have received several bids ranging from Rs 4,500 to a little less than Rs 6,000 crore, which is enthusing,” said a bank official. “I always maintained that we won’t have to take a haircut on this transaction. We will have to study these proposals very carefully to see which the best fit is.”

JSW declined to comment on the matter.

Parth Jindal, JSW Cement managing director, told ET earlier this week that the group would “aggressively bid for stressed assets in cement, steel, and power that are undergoing bankruptcy proceedings”.

Lenders have made a claim of Rs 3,884 crore on the company. This includes loans acquired by Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Co from banks and dues to State Bank of India, Canara Bank and Bank of Baroda. Apart from this, the company also faces claims of Rs 2,429 crore from IDBI Bank and SBI in the form of corporate guarantees.

JSW Cement is looking to increase production capacity in West Bengal to 3.6 million tonnes (mt) per year, up from the current 2.4 mt at an estimated investment of Rs 300 crore. The company has already invested close to Rs 800 crore in a 2.4 mt grinding plant at Salboni in West Bengal. It will also invest close to Rs Rs 100 crore for setting up an 18 MW captive power plant. Binani Cement has a production capacity of close to 11mt, of which nearly 6 mt is in India. It has a grinding unit in Dubai and a plant in China.

Bank of Baroda had referred Binani Cement to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in July, after the unlisted subsidiary of Binani Industries failed to repay a Rs 97-crore loan to the lender. Bank of Baroda then appointed Vijaykumar V Iyer as the resolution professional. Originally, the resolution professional set December 22 as the last day for submitting a binding bid for the company, but this was extended to January 15 following requests from companies that had shown interest in the assets. In November, as many as 15 companies, including some international players like France’s Lafarge and Dublin-based CRH, had submitted expressions of interest for Binani.