Updated: April 22, 2021 2:45:12 am
As Maharashtra braces for another round of complete lockdown, the real estate sector has a feeling of deja vu. With migrant workers leaving for their home states and unsteady supply of raw material, the sector has expressed fears of a delay in the handover of ongoing projects. Anil Pharande, president, Pune Metro CREDAI, talks to The Indian Express about issues faced by the sector. Excerpts from an interview:
Q. With another set of lockdown and stricter measures in ahead, do you feel realtors will miss the deadline for completion of projects? Have you initiated talks with the government in this regard as a late handover can attract fines by MahaRERA?
A. Credai Pune Metro and its members are working round-the-clock trying to keep the sites functioning normally. Due to lockdown supply chain disruption, however, prices of certain commodities have skyrocketed, such as steel, as they need oxygen to keep factories running. We are keeping labourers on site but if lockdown continues they may leave.
Yes, we have initiated talks with the government and RERA authorities and have raised the request. We have requested for a blanket extension of a minimum of three to six months for all ongoing projects.
The chief minister (Uddhav Thackeray) has also requested to declare the current situation a national disaster and, considering that, we strongly demand the same.
Q. At the start of lockdown, you expressed fears over migrant workers leaving for their home states. What percentage of such workers have left construction and Pune Metro sites?
A. As of today (Wednesday), not many have left the city. There was a fear of job loss and their health, but CREDAI members are taking good care of them. It has assured workers that their needs will be taken care of by developers.
Members are also taking care of them by providing full wages, stay, groceries, medical and sanitation facilities and isolation rooms where possible.
We are also starting a free mass vaccination drive for eligible labourers soon, with the help of PMC, PCMC and PMRDA (Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority).
Q. Can you provide a rough estimate of the number of migrant workers normally working at construction sites and where they hail from?
A. We don’t have the exact data now. We are collecting data from our members of the number of labourers aged above 45, who will be eligible for vaccination till April 30, as per guidelines.
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Q. There are reports of raw material supply chain being hit by lockdown. Is it true? What is the extent of the hit the industry has taken?
A. Due to the second wave, there is a disruption in supply of material between cities as well as states. Cement and steel supplies have been hit, especially due to oxygen shortage.
Sites are allowed to function, but the offices of our suppliers and vendors are not functional; this also adds to the shortage.
Moreover, our purchase and billing departments are being operated from the office and this further creates difficultly in procuring material.
Q. How many labourers have been vaccinated to date?
A. CREDAI Pune Metro will soon start the vaccination drive. The central government allowed vaccination for all aged 18 and above, and this will greatly help us. Most labourers are aged below 45.
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