Real estate projects worth about ₹1,000 crore in the Capital area have come to a near halt due to the dreaded coronavirus. No construction activity is seen at many of the project sites. There is a little activity even at high rise and imposing buildings, which are coming up near Kanaka Durga varadhi.
The fallout of the lockdown is that a lull is prevailing in the industry. There is almost zero construction activity at the project sites. The real estate developers and builders used to run against time to finish the projects to avoid cost escalation besides likely heavy penalties in case of delays. But, the builders are apparently not worried about the schedules now as the Central government has announced that the deadline for the completion of real estate projects would be extended up to six months in the face of the COVID-19. The Centre said that it should be treated as a ‘Force Majeure’ event under the Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) 2016.
The buyers too are not mounting pressure on builders to hand over the houses for reasons like borrowing additional loans, house warming is not possible due to coronavirus, industry sources say.
According to information, 700 to 800 projects have been launched in Krishna and Guntur districts. In Vijayawada alone, about 500 projects are in different stages. On average, each project will cost more than ₹10 crore.
There is a cascading effect of the COVID on these projects. Scarcity of sand, non- availability of labourers, rise in prices of the cement and other material etc. have impacted the construction activity, builders say.
National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) Vijayawada chapter chairman Gadde Rajling says that the developers are facing supply-chain disruption and shortage of labour. The construction workers are staying away from work sites due to fear of coronavirus and many of them have returned to their villages. Also, the COVID guidelines relating to the construction industry are not clear and lucid. How to employ the workers, maintain social distance, sanitization etc are some of the areas that need to be addressed to, he says.
“There is no pressure on the builders to stick to the schedule as the RERA will not impose any fine. The buyers are also not insisting. Hardly 15 to 20% work is going on at the project sites,” he says.