The Hindu, May 31 2014, Mumbai: Industry, particularly the real estate sector, is enthused by the voices emanating from the government with regard to easing of some stringent conditions in the Land Acquisition Act.
The issue of land acquisition has been the bugbear for industry, which has been unable to proceed with new projects for want of requisite permissions for land acquisition.
Real estate developers, meanwhile, are hopeful that the government will expedite the process of granting regulatory approvals. The chronic lag with regard to approvals has been a major obstacle for projects, and any pick up in infrastructure will have a ‘knock-on’ effect for realty.
“The approval process for housing projects is weak across India with the exception of Gujarat,’’ Anand Gupta, past secretary and spokesman, Builders Association of India (BAI), told this correspondent.
In its election manifesto, the Bharatiya Janata Party had said that land acquisition was contentious due to the opacity of the land acquisition process, and had committed to adopt a ‘National Land Use Policy’, which will look at acquisition of non-cultivable land and its development. Implementation is to be monitored by the National Land Use Authority.
“I do not think the government will immediately change the Act although developers hope that the new government will ease land acquisition parameters so that availability of land is no longer a major constraint,’’ Santhosh Kumar, CEO (Operations), JLL India, a real estate consultancy, said. “Difficulties in acquiring land due to the current policies have led to vastly escalated real estate cost.’’
Sunil Mantri, President, National Real Estate Development Council, said the land acquisition process was too complicated. “The new government has laid huge emphasis on infrastructure development, and any positive step in process simplification will have a salutary effect on the struggling real estate sector,’’ added.
“It has been almost impossible to acquire land for infrastructure projects under the Land Acquisition Act as the conditions are too stringent,’’ Lalit K. Jain, National President, Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India, told The Hindu. “It will be far more practical to develop guidelines to arrive at negotiated settlements with land owners as has been successfully demonstrated in Gujarat,’’ he added.