Lack of clearance, incentives slows down township projects

The Government move to promote special township projects has not helped any of the projects to reach completion, the main hurdle cited being delay in getting clearances, and non-delivery on promised incentives.

After amending laws on open spaces, the state government has been also pushing amendments to the township policy. But work on townships, approval for which are being obtained from 2006 onwards, has not picked up.

Developers are reluctant taking up such projects and the reason cited was government not providing speedy clearance and denying incentives.

Pune district leads in the state with 15 projects and only one township claims to be have completed 80 per cent of the work. The remaining are below the 60 per cent mark.

Statistics from the town planning department shows work has started in ten projects.

"It is not surprising these projects have not gained momentum with a delay in clearances as well as promised amendments not coming through. Developers are shying away," says Managing Director Anirudha Deshpande of City Corporation developing Amanora township.

He said the state and the central government are keen to improve housing schemes and propose such projects but they are neither able to bring down cost nor willing to give incentives.

Moreover, a township is proposed so that the said developer carries out the entire work for that area, but government support is lacking especially when it comes to tax waiver or the promised FSI. The recent amendment has given only 0.5 FSI against 1 FSI promised, he stated. Deshpande, who has nearly 400 acres for his township project has completed only 30 per cent of the work and developed only about 160 acres.

Lalitkumar Jain, national president of CREDAI and developer of two special townships, asked how the projects can be speeded up when the government sits on clearances for two to three years. "If they have mooted a special township they have to make it viable for the developer to complete the projects on time and not make it difficult by delaying clearances. Moreover, promised sops should be delivered so that more developers can come into the picture," he adds. Jain commenced work on one of the townships. The other is yet to commence, he adds.

The special townships projects in Pune district were cleared after November 16, 2005 when the government resolution on townships was issued. It is mainly Pune and Konkan that opted for these projects, each spread over 100 acres. The proposed townships are residential projects and the land is either agricultural or residential.

The norms to set up townships specify that 100 acres of land should be in one stretch, there should be an 18-metre-wide road in existing land and it should be de-reserved under section 18 (B) of the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act 1966.

Presently, townships are only in districts that have the regional plan. RPs of 13 districts have been cleared. Pune and Konkan are among them. The other divisions include Nashik, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Amravati but there has not been any response, said a town planning official. "With clearances required at every stage not all have started projects even after approval," said the official assessing percentage of work completed.

The projects need clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation. A 15 per cent bank guarantee on the master plan layout needs to be given to the government.

Work is on at Amanora Township at Hadapsar by City Corporation Ltd, Flagship Infrastructure at Hinjewadi, Knowledge City Education at Lavhle, Eiffel Infocity Limited, Milind Kolte and others at Mauje, Rivery View properties at Mauje Mhalunge, Nanded City Development Corporation, Kumar Housing and development, Ds Kulkarni Developers Limited and Matrix Developers.