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Project delays have been a matter of grave concern and a common grievance of home buyers. Developers, on their part, cite various reasons for such delays. Among the legitimate reasons, almost all developers complain about delays in obtaining approvals and constraints on construction time.
Consequently, in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has granted permission for construction work to extend till 10 pm, from the earlier cut-off time of 7 pm, to help developers to meet their timelines. This move has drawn mixed reactions.
Rajat Malhotra, a home buyer in Kandivali, has welcomed the new rule. “The developer has delayed the possession of my apartment by 28 months. There should be some way to fast-track the project, so that the buyers don’t suffer. I feel that developers work with a ‘9 to 5’ mind-set. The authorities must force them to work till late and complete their projects on time,” he insists.
Rashmi Agrahari, a resident of Virar, counters this argument, saying: “Why should I suffer till late night because the builder is constructing close to my apartment? Don’t I have the right to privacy and peace at night? The construction work till late hours, close to my apartment, is a big nuisance. It is problematic for my ailing mother. It also violates my fundamental right to privacy.”
Finding the right balance
Analysts are hence, demanding that riders be put on this relaxation of working hours. Presently, there is no guideline or mechanism, to check whether the construction till late hours, is affecting the residents in its vicinity. While developers have to abide by the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT’s) norms, there are no specific civic rules for builders to curb noise levels. The BMC, only makes the builders sign a no-nuisance bond but there is no team to keep vigil on the late hour constructions.
See also: BMC relaxes home renovation rules
To complicate matters, the Mumbai police is the implementing authority, vis-à-vis noise limits under the environment protection rules but the BMC is in charge of issuing permissions for development and alterations. As the latter has not laid down guidelines on noise, a developer can challenge interference under the approvals secured from it.
The implications for home buyers
Manju Yagnik, vice-chairperson of the Nahar Group, does not feel that the late-hour constructions will cause any inconvenience to the residents in the neighbourhood. According to her, with the introduction of new technologies in construction, developers can mitigate noise pollution and decibel levels can be kept within limits.
“Extension of construction hours, is one of the enablers that the BMC has agreed upon. We need many more enablers, to ensure that constructions are fast-tracked. Ultimately, it will help the home buyers as they will get their houses on time. With such enablers, we can reduce some input and interest costs and pass it on to the buyers,” says Yagnik.
In a nutshell, while the BMC’s decision to allow construction till 10 pm is good, for builders as well as home buyers, concerns over noise pollution and vehicular movement adversely affecting the residents in the vicinity, need to be addressed. However, it certainly seems to be a first step in the right direction.
The impact of longer construction hours
- BMC agrees to extend construction hours from 7 pm to 10 pm.
- This is likely to fast-track project timelines.
- Noise level and disturbance to residents in the vicinity, remain concern areas and need to be addressed with new technology.
(The writer is CEO, Track2Realty)