Latest Real Estate News on 'Chennai'

Systematic disposal of waste key to nature conservation in cities: Expert

Comments Off on Systematic disposal of waste key to nature conservation in cities: Expert   |  February 8, 2014

CHENNAI: One solution to the many problems of nature conservation in a city is the systematic disposal of solid and liquid wastes, says conservationist and ornithologist Tara Gandhi.

“It’s not the only solution, but it can reduce numerous problems. We have to ask questions like how much garbage are we generating and where they go,” said Gandhi on Wednesday. She was delivering the Dr Renuka Mukherjee Somasekhar Endowment Lecture on ‘Saving nature in a City’ at the Women’s Christian College in Chennai.

Addressing the faculty and students, Gandhi said being conscious of waste segregation and disposal would prevent filling up of wetlands, avoid pollution which causes biodiversity loss, prevent threats to terrestrial and marine wildlife and prevent the spread of diseases through pests.

She took the faculty and students of the college on a conducted tour of the wildlife in Chennai and spoke about the major challenges to conserving nature in the city. Development aspirations result in ecological and development changes in the city, which is destroying nature, according to her. The impact of human population and its demands and extensive construction also pose problems to conservation.

“It is unfortunate that scrub jungles in the city, which are dense and thorny but are sought out by special birds that only like thorny bushes, are being classified as waste land by some,” she said.

“India holds the most extraordinary variety of ecosystems. Our cities are carved out of these ecosystems but have now overtaken the natural environment. The ecosystems have now shrunk to five or six pockets in the cities. We need to save these natural habitats,” Gandhi said.

She said urban planning incorporating scientific inputs and safeguarding protected areas and natural ecosystems would go a long way in conserving nature in the city. “We must encourage eco-friendly housing, use of organic fertilizers and build strong public opinion against excessive construction to support nature,” she said.

It’s hard to put an economic value to nature, but there is ecological, cultural, aesthetic, spiritual and intrinsic value to nature, she added.

Cheated in land deal, Jethmalani complains to Chennai police chief

Comments Off on Cheated in land deal, Jethmalani complains to Chennai police chief   |  January 5, 2014

CHENNAI: Former Union law minister and senior Supreme Court lawyer Ram Jethmalani has complained to the Chennai city police that a real estate dealer has cheated him of Rs 7 crore. Jethmalani, 91, visited the police commissioner’s office here on Friday to file the complaint.

Police sources said Jethmalani and his two friends in Delhi had approached a real estate broker in Nungambakkam, whom they had identified through a leading website. They asked him to show them properties in prime areas in the city and on ECR. The man collected Rs 7 crore from them under the pretext of paying an advance to a land owner, but never got the land registered.

A police source said whenever Jethmalani and his friends tried to ask for the money, the dealer would dodge the matter and instead suggest a few other properties in the city. Finally, when they insisted on getting back the money, he vanished, Jethmalani told police commissioner S George. The commissioner has forwarded the complaint to the central crime branch (CCB).

Coming out of the commissioner’s office, Jethmalani, however, said he was on an official visit. Police officers had apparently advised Jethmalani against telling reporters the details of the cheating case.

Sources said the police commissioner, who visited some senior officials in the secretariat, has apprised them about Jethmalani’s complaint. Jethmalani came to the commissioner’s office at 1pm and left the campus at 1.30pm.

8 stations not ready, Metro to miss July 2014 deadline

Comments Off on 8 stations not ready, Metro to miss July 2014 deadline   |  December 30, 2013

HENNAI: Metro rail may miss its mid-July deadline to start services on the Koyambedu-St Thomas Mount line, with work on stations way behind schedule.

The line is likely to be opened only in October, officials said.

Sources said contracts to construct the stations with Consolidated Construction Consortium Ltd (CCCL) are on the verge of falling apart as the company failed to meet the deadline — a serious setback for Chennai Metro Rail Ltd, which intended the first corridor to be the project’s showpiece.

Officials said CCCL should have completed the elevated viaducts and stations in the corridor this month so trials could begin early January, according to the original plan. The transit system can be opened to the public only after three months of intensive trials because, unlike suburban trains, the metro rakes will be automated and work on pre-set information.

CCCL was in 2010 and 2011 awarded contracts for Rs 300crore to design and build elevated metro stations in Koyambedu, at CMBT, in Arumbakkam, Vadapalani, Ashok Nagar, Sidco, Alandur and St Thomas Mount, but the work by the firm has ground to a crawl.

Only a handful of workers remain at the St Thomas Mount station site and they appear to have little to do. At some sites, CCCL is three months behind schedule.

The company has also won contracts for elevated stations in Guindy, Little Mount and at Officers Training Academy, but it has more time to complete work here.

CCCL has completed structural work in Koyambedu, CMBT, Vadapalani, Arumbakkam and Ashok Nagar and has started interior work. But it is a long way from completing the basic structure for the stations at Sidco, Alandur and St Thomas Mount though it bagged the contracts over two years ago.

Sources said CCCL is in a tight spot financially but, CCCL CEO, R Sarabeshwar denied this. “Metro rail work requires a lot of coordination,” he said when asked, avoiding any mention of a delay.

Sources said other contractors like Gammon are also finding it hard to keep up the pace of work. CMRL terminated a contract with Lanco Infratech to build an elevated stretch between the airport and OTA because the company did not finish much work even after 70% of the contract period.

Officials of CMRL wanted firms building other stretches to take up the job but they were not interested. CMRL then divided the stretch and floated fresh tenders.

ACMRL spokesperson insisted that there was no delay and that the metro would be done on time. “Work is progressing at all station sites,” he said.

Builder fined Rs 10, 000 asked to return Rs 5L for delaying work

Comments Off on Builder fined Rs 10, 000 asked to return Rs 5L for delaying work   |  December 18, 2013

CHENNAI: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (south) has directed a builder to return 5 lakh collected from a woman to construct a house. The builder delayed the construction work even after collecting the amount from the woman. The forum also fined the builder 10,000 for not completing the work within the stipulated period.

R Vasanthi, a resident of Ekkattuthangal , said she had entered into a contract with a realtor, DA Terry Rockland, to construct a residential house measuring 1,780sqft. The builder had to construct the house within eight months for 10 lakh which was to be paid at various stages of construction. She alleged that though she had paid the amount, the builder completed just 40% of the work. She issued a legal notice to DA Terry Rockland for a refund. When she failed to get a reply, Vasanthi moved the district forum.

In the counter, DA Terry Rockland said the actual measurement of the building was undertaken after completion of work and payment was to be made on the basis of actual measurement. As Vasanthi failed to make the payments according to the terms of the contract, the project was delayed. Further, during the construction, she had asked for various additional structures and refused to pay for them. As much as 85% of the construction had been completed , and as there was a breach of the contract , the contentions of Vasanthi were not sustainable, the builder said.

Abench comprising president V Gopal and member L Deenadayalan cited the report of advocate commissioner who was appointed to inspect the work. The report said 72% of the work had been completed. However,there was deficiency in service as the builder had not completed the work according to the agreement.

Metro construction damages 212 buildings

Comments Off on Metro construction damages 212 buildings   |  December 17, 2013

CHENNAI: Metro rail tunneling caused cracks in 212 buildings in the city, reveals an RTI application filed by TOI. The RTI also shows that the damages are not limited to old buildings in north Chennai.

The RTI reply from metro rail said damages were reported in 212 buildings along the metro route in Washermenpet, Mannadi, High Court, Nehru Park , Egmore, May Day Park, Government Estate, May Day Park, Chennai Central and Shenoy Nagar, Anna Nagar Tower after boring for the underground line started in 2012.

In a reponse to the query as to why the vibration monitoring report of the Ripon Buildings and Victoria Public Hall has not been sent to Chennai Corporation, inspite of repeated requests from the corporation, CMRL said the reports are for internal monitoring and are not meant for sharing with any other agency. “The vibration monitoring report has not sent to the corporation as there were no events on cracks or damage recorded on Ripon Building and Victoria public hall due to the tunneling,” read the reply.

As for the damages to the heritage buildings due to the underground tunneling, the CMRL said, “Damages were reported in Arcot Lutheran Church, Tamil Wesley Church and the compound wall of law college building.” According to the rules, metro rail must undertake the responsibility for the repair of any damage to existing structures caused by tunneling or construction work. However, CMRL stated that “the cost of repairs is met directly by the contractors” and they do not have records on the amount spent for the repairs of the affected buildings.

S Neeta, a member of CSI Tamil Wesley Church, which had developed cracks due to the construction work, said CMRL did not repair the damage. “They conducted a meeting with parish members. But there was no follow up. Experts from Anna University said that a major restoration is necessary for the church”. A senior metro rail official said the church developed crack as the machine had to be stopped and restarted as a few people living in old houses refused to move out on time. “The church walls developed cracks due to the jerk triggered when the machine was restarted,” he said.

“If any building is vulnerable they should dig soil from near the foundation and fill it with sands. Sand can absorb vibration and save the building,” said former professor of civil engineering department in Anna University.

A CMRL official said, “We are using data from many devices — crack meter, inclinometer, deflection meter to monitor vibrations during the underground tunneling.”

Chennai: Poised for take off

Comments Off on Chennai: Poised for take off   |  December 16, 2013

Over the past three years, Chennai has been one of the better markets in India as far as the residential space is concerned. The year began with not so good sentiments across the country which also had its bearing on Chennai.

Sales during the initial quarter was sluggish, there was however some respite in between with a bit of liberalisation of rates happening, which propelled the momentum of purchases over the second half of the year. The last quarter has also been in line with the previous two quarters where sales have been moving gradually.

This year would see a total launch of 25,000 new units approximately across all price bands with an absorption having seen for roughly 65 per cent of the units in terms of bookings made and / or partial payments made.

There is demand seen though for a greater number but this demand is mostly felt in the price bracket of Rs.25-40 lakh, where the supply in the preferred locations hasn’t been to the mark.

That can be counted as one of the main reasons for some inventory to pile up as earlier periods. It would be good to note that the amount of completed stock, which is ready to be handed over for possession and has been unsold, is very negligible. It is only that the sales have been slow and it has become common place for people to confuse slow selling inventory under construction with the completed unsold inventory. Chennai will play a significant role in Indian residential demand at 30,000 units per annum for the next four years.

Demand for the right products at the right price has always been there and that has been a key driver across all price brackets for apartments. This will continue to be the headline to sum up the residential activity in Chennai for the next few years to come.

The interesting aspect to note here is that the southern markets of Bangalore and Chennai are predominantly end-user driven which is more the reason that price appreciation is moderate in the range of 10-12 per cent p.a. in general, and even lower at around 8-10 per cent in specific CBD locations.

As for infrastructure in the city, there have been a few new projects which have been announced like the construction of new bridges / flyovers across growth areas like East Coast Road, Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), Velachery, Porur, Anna Nagar and few other northern pockets.

It would be good to see places deriving their appreciation not just by demand but also by development of infrastructure as that would make a difference between the better and the best locations.

A new trend which Chennai has been witnessing over the past 7-8 months is the amount of ultra luxury stock which is coming in CBD locations. There are at least about 10 projects or more leading to supplies of more than 1,000 units in this space over the three years to follow.

This year has also set the trend for more number of villas and row houses being developed in the peripheral areas and that has been a proving success for a few developers who have got in good sales. We have seen villas come up in all corridors including OMR, NH-4 and the Grand Southern Trunk Road. The strength of developers would be seen in how they are able to differentiate the product than being more innovative.

Innovation would add to cost increase at the developer’s end unless it is spent through technology that will help reduce construction time frames or bring in efficiencies of scale across projects for the developers. However in the immediate term, we would be witnessing more of products being redefined than being innovative and innovation will hold the key once the cycle changes to a bullish nature.

It is also worth mentioning that private equity and NBFC activity has been on the rise and they have been the quick and alternate sources of funds in the absence of flexible funding from banks in the interim. What will help developers increase sales and drop prices would be for the NBFCs’ to possibly soften the rates by 2-3 per cent depending on projects and quantum being lent.

Over the next six months we will see the mixed bag of market conditions with respect to sales and developers who hold the key will be the ones who have been able to gauge the customer instincts on size and price.

Sans fire safety, T Nagar buildings at risk

Comments Off on Sans fire safety, T Nagar buildings at risk   |  December 15, 2013

CHENNAI: A report from the fire and rescue services last year revealed that none of the 145 highrise commercial buildings in T Nagar, especially those on Usman Road and Ranganathan Street, and another 21 buildings on Arcot Road in Kodambakkam has fire-proof mechanism in place. Yet nothing has been done to make these places safe.

While the National Building Code of India, 2005, makes it mandatory for buildings above 15 metres to have fire extinguishers, hose reels, sprinklers, wet risers, yard hydrants, automatic smoke detection system, underground and overhead water tanks with a capacity of 10 kilolitres and 100 kilolitres and emergency exits, fire and rescue service officials who surveyed the buildings on Usman Road said none of them had any of the facilities but for fire extinguishers. Many buildings on Ranganathan Street do not even have fire extinguishers, the report said.

Lack of stringent legal provisions has enabled traders and builders escape action. In reply to an RTI application by V Jayaraman, a resident of T Nagar, the divisional fire official admitted to lack of stringent provisions. A committee appointed by the Madras high court (which initiated the survey) to look into unauthorised buildings built before 1999 has been sitting on safety reports. An official said it has not met since January 2013.

Differences with the government over the introduction of the 2012 regularisation scheme for buildings constructed before July 1, 2007 had some non-official members of the committee quitting.

“The state has sabotaged the functioning of the committee which wanted to conduct surveys across the city,” said M G Devasahayam, former bureaucrat and a member of the committee. According to CMDA sources, the matter was sub judice and awaiting orders of the high court. “We have submitted the survey report of the fire and rescue services to the court,” was all an official had to say. Fire and Rescue services told TOI that they can only impose a fine of 500 against the offender under Fire Safety Act.

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