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.

Friday, 12 January 2018

SC stays ban on sand mining in Rajasthan; housing projects remain in limbo

The ban has not only impacted the private housing sector but also delayed the deadline of several of state government’s ambitious projects

JAIPUR: Infrastructure and private housing projects in the state worth approximately Rs 10,000 crore would continue to remain stalled for nearly one-and-half months more after Supreme Court did not provide relief to the state government.

The ban has not only impacted the private housing sector but also delayed the deadline of several of state government’s ambitious projects.This situation is expected to be grimmer due to interrupted supply of sand (bajri) for minimum of two months.

Uptight over the situation to complete projects on stipulated time after coming in the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act ambit, the developers have already approached tothe urban development and housing (UDH) minister Srichand Kriplani. However, continuous delay is affecting the project cost.

“Bajri is most essential requirement for construction. In absence of availability, construction of projects are on hold. Though we have apprised the UDH minister about the situation and demanded time relaxation, our project cost is increasing due to delay,” said Shaleen Singh, a private developer.

Other than developers, unavailability of bajri for construction is also posing serious problems for thousands of labourers, workers and consumers. Some developers added that nearly 5 lakh labourers, including migrant labourers depend on construction and allied industries. “There is no demand for labourers coming from villages for the past two months,” said Ratan Singh, a small businessman associated with construction industry.

The dramatic drop in construction activities after the ban is also having a cascading effect on other related businesses. “Just after the ban, business has gone down by 85% as there are few buyers for bricks, cement and other material required for construction,” said Abhishek Sharma, associated with the construction business.

The ban has also raised concern for civic body officials as many development projects in the city are being choked and are racing against time to meet the deadline. Currently, projects like Metro Phase I(B), affordable housing scheme, elevated road (Ambedkar Circle to Sodala) and rejuvenation of Dravyawati River are underway.

A senior JDA engineer said, “As there is no supply of sand, construction work cannot be taken up further. Approximately 1,200 cubic metres of sand is required every day for infrastructure projects,” he said.

After the Supreme Court ban, officials are a concerned lot as there is no reliable and tested alternative.

Monday, 8 January 2018

No possession date, no RERA relief, rules MahaRERA

Home buyer Prem Chand had booked flat 203 in SD-1one of the 16 eight- storeyed buildings in Indiabulls Savoli Golf City project located off Khalapur toll naka on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway

Maharashtra Real EstateRegulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has dismissed a complaint from a home buyer against India Bull Real Estate Ltd for delayed possession ruling that since no possession date was given by the developer, RERA provisions do not come into play to provide any relief.

Home buyer Prem Chand had booked flat 203 in SD-1one of the 16 eight- storeyed buildings in Indiabulls Savoli Golf City project located off Khalapur toll naka on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. In his complaint to MahaRERA, he said he had paid the booking amount of Rs two lakh on September 26, 2012, and paid another tranche of Rs 2.5 lakh to complete 15 per cent of the flat cost as agreed, while the rest of the 80 per cent finance for the flat was to come in the form of a home loan from Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd. Since the developer had failed to give possession five years later, Prem Chand had sought refund of his investment with interest and compensation which works out to Rs 1.20 lakh.

During the hearing, the developer’s say was also recorded, and an opportunity was given to the home buyer to present any official document that showed the agreed date of possession. However, Chand could not produce either an agreement with the developer or any other document which indicated the agreed date of possession. Indiabulls, however, has mentioned July 1, 2017 as the original date of possession and revised it to February 28, 2019 while registering the project with MahaRERA.

“Section 18 of RERA Act comes into picture only when the promoter fails to complete or he is unable to give possession of the apartment in accordance with the terms of agreement for sale or duly completed by the date specified in the agreement. Here in this case, there is no document or any contention of the complaint showing the agreed date of possession…Therefore, in this circumstance, Section 18 is not applicable,” Kapadnis said in his order.

In a separate case concerning Shree Siddhivinayak Platinum Park project in Undri, Pune, Kapadnis asked the developer Ranjeet Developers to refund Rs 15.87 lakh and Rs 15.73 lakh to two home buyers with 10.15 per cent interest from the date of their payments for delayed possession. Home buyers Atul Deshpande, and Ravindra Patankar had booked flats E-6 and E-01respectively in Shree Siddhinayak Platinum Park project phase I with the promise that they would be given possession before September 30, 2015, but the developer had failed to give possession. The developer contended that the project was delayed because the mandatory environmental clearance certificate was delayed.

The developer also argued that the delay was beyond his control.

Upholding the right of the home buyers to get a refund of their investment, adjudicating officer Kapadnis observed that from the facts of the case, it is clear that the developer had agreed to deliver possession on or before September 30, 2015, and had failed to do so. He said till May 2012, the developer had only Non Agricultural land order from the Assistant Director of Town planning but the developer went on to collect money from the home buyers.

“When they did not have the approvals of the competent authority for making the construction or when they did not have the environmental clearance certificate, they were not entitled to recover any money from the allottee (home buyer) They were running their own risk and therefore only because some delay is caused for one reason or other for getting approvals, they cannot blame the system as such to seek exemption from the payment of interest,” his order said.