Amid the unprecedented crisis of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the government earlier this week wanted to resume construction projects in areas permitted by the local administration. However, the ground reality is far from what the government order stands for, as a survey done by the Pune Metro branch of Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (Credai) points out the shortcomings.
While not a single project has resumed, yet the district collector has promised that discussions will be held so that construction starts shortly.
At least 216 developers, whose projects are ongoing, took part in the Credai-Pune Metro survey.
The developers were hopeful that projects would be on track, especially after the government issued orders allowing commencement of work at under-construction sites with the condition that the labourers should be staying on site. Findings of the survey have indicated that only 45,700 labourers are available on site at present. Of these, 46 per cent labourers will leave for their villages or hometowns as they have no work for more than a month. Even, the developers’ staff are facing difficulty in reaching the site due to confusion over passes. They have also allegedly faced harassment from the cops. Almost 90 per cent developers need material on site to begin the work. However, less than 10 per cent have managed to receive any material on site in the last few days. Less than 3 per cent developers have more than 1,000 labourers at their ongoing project sites.
Highlighting that there is lack of clarity due to multiple agencies being involved, Aditya Javdekar, the CEO of Vilas Javdekar Associates, said, “Over the last few days, many of our staffers have moved to their hometowns due to the coronavirus fear. Unless there is supervision on site, the work cannot resume. Also, there is complete lack of clarity from getting labourers on site to getting construction material. We have filed applications for permissions on Monday but have not heard back yet. We do not know if police passes are required. Due to this confusion, nothing can start.”
The developers further stated that pre-monsoon work also would barely get completed on sites. With this, they have claimed that the projects might get delayed by almost six months. Concreting is also not possible at many sites with the readymix concrete plants being shut. Along with this, banks have allegedly stopped disbursement of ready cash for projects, adding to the already existing challenges. The proposed cost hike by cement and steel companies is going to be an issue, they felt.
Citing this, Suhas Merchant, president of Credai-Pune Metro, has demanded that government authorities should work towards resolving these issues. Credai has demanded that permission process needs to be streamlined so that work gets going. Merchant said, “To overcome most of these problems, a well-coordinated and collective effort by all the government departments concerned is necessary so that while issuing permissions to start the work at construction sites, all related aspects are considered and the operations restart in a seamless manner.”
Asked about this, district collector Naval Kishore Ram said, “They should have demanded for the permissions. We will discuss with the Credai members. And we will see to it that they get the required nods to restart the projects.”