Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Aug 07, 2004
Industry & Economy
Real Estate & Construction
Mumbai realtors protest MoE notification
Mr Vijay G. Kalantri, President, All-India Association of Industries (right), and Mr Niranjan Hiranandani, Managing Director, Hiranandani Constructions Pte Ltd, at a press conference in Mumbai on Friday. Shashi Ashiwal
Mumbai , Aug. 6
A NOTIFICATION issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests on July 7 this year requiring projects of certain specifications to seek Central government clearance has fetched vociferous protest from the construction industry in Mumbai.
Under the extraordinary notification, real estate projects worth over Rs 50 crore or those discharging sewage of more than 50,000 litres a day are required to seek permission from the Central Government.
``It is a setback to Mumbai's development. Almost any housing project in Mumbai, even in the suburbs is worth more than Rs 50 crore," said Mr Niranjan Hiranandani, President, Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry, at a news conference here on Friday.
He said the notification would lead to unnecessary delays in project clearance and said the central government is not equipped to speedily clear projects from across the country.
``Making Delhi, the hub of permission for every State-wide project cannot be the answer to environmental issues," said a joint letter to the Ministry from several industry organisations in the city including the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Indian Merchants Chamber, and Hotels and Restaurants Association (Western India).
"Besides corruption, the notification will not serve any other purpose," said Mr Hiranandani. He said that under the notification, housing apartments, slum redevelopment schemes, shopping complexes, resettlement complexes as well as commercial property development would be unnecessarily delayed.
According to the MCHI, the clearance process can be delegated to the State or the Municipal authorities concerned instead of the privilege being retained at the Centre. "We already have 52 clearances to be obtained locally for any development. We do not mind adding another to it," said Mr Ajit Mathur, Chairman, sub-committee for the Ministry of Environment and Forests (Coastal Regulation Zone) at MCHI.
The organisations said they would leave no stone unturned to drive through their objection.
The occasion also triggered off the long-brewing resentment that Mumbai the biggest contributor to the exchequer, is being treated in a "step-motherly" fashion by the Centre "which has not been investing enough in the city's infrastructural development."
This issue would be in addition to the construction industry's long standing differences with the government on the issue of the Coastal Regulation Zone law.
``CRZ regulations have hampered the growth of Mumbai city for the past 14 years with various notifications being issued from time to time," said Mr Mathur.
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