Realty experts push for green growth

New villas and high-rises are replacing traditional bungalows and independent houses in kochi

Construction sector in Kerala will have to embrace sustainable solutions keeping the state’s environment in mind, experts have opined. The realty sector, which is slowly getting back to its feet after demonetisation and introduction of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), will need innovations and new technologies to grow, they said.

In the state conference of the two-day Kerala chapter of confederation of real estate developers’ association of India (Credai), which concluded in Kochi, it has been pointed out that Kerala needs a socially-committed and sustainable model of construction. The conference emphasised the need to bring in more expertise to construct homes that can resist and survive landslides and other natural calamities.

Shashi Tharoor, MP, Congress, said the state government and other agencies could use the expertise of organisations like Credai for such initiatives, adding that there was a need to explore sustainable building ideas, innovations and new technology. It was pointed out that there lies a better opportunity to rectify flaws while redesigning Kerala. Implementation of micro-area planning at construction sites is expected to ensure environment conservation.

Addressing the valedictory function, Elias George, Chairman, (IGH) KPMG, said constructions activities were “yet to start taking into consideration nature and future generation”. He said the state needs to adopt the ‘Nilgiri Model’ for environment protection and illegal constructions and plastic must be avoided.

“Kerala must explore new technologies like asset recycling. Private-public partnership can be implemented in infrastructure and development,” he said.

Jaxay Shah, National President, Credai, said sales in the real estate market in the country picked up by 40% in the first three quarters of 2018 though the prices remained flat. He said the sector had come through the crisis following the implementation of demonetisation and RERA.

The Centre’s focus on affordable housing has given the sector a new lease of life, he said, and pointed out there was a lack of awareness on subsidy schemes provided by the Centre for affordable housing sector in states like Kerala. “You can get a subsidy of Rs 2.6 lakh for 2,000 sq ft area. It can go up to Rs 6 lakh depending on the size,” he said.

He also said that the main stumbling block faced by the sector was the tax rates. The Goods and Services Tax and stamp duty together come to 20%, which is a huge burden. Earlier, the rates were below 5%. Shaw said Credai had taken up the matter with the government. Asserting the need to promote affordable housing, which was the key to growth of the sector, Tharoor also said that there was a huge need for affordable homes in Kerala. “The state government must coordinate with the organizations in the construction sector in developing such affordable homes for the needy.” Ramesh Nair, CEO and country head JLL, India, a real estate development advisory firm, said the pickup in the sales at national level has not reflected in Kerala as the construction cost was higher compared with other states. The cost is Rs 2,750 per sq ft in Kerala compared with Rs 1700 at the national level.

Source: The Times of India

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