Builders and developers at the South India Real Estate Conference, on Thursday said the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 would lead to a steep rise in the cost of acquiring lands.
The conference was organised by the Federation of India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
“With the new Act, the cost of acquiring land would be dramatically high,” said Anup Shah from Anup Shah & Co. According to him, nobody knows what kind of execution machinery would be put in place. It may result in delays in relocation and rehabilitation.
Ravindra Sannareddy, managing director of Sri City Pvt Ltd, said under the new Act, land cannot be acquired. He explained that the cost may shoot up by nearly five times. Also, there was still no guarantee of acquiring lands as farmers did not have to hand over title papers.
“The new Act does not give assurance on titles although there was a rehabilitation scheme,” said Ashwini Kumar, COO, Nithesh Estates.
Chief Secretary S V Ranganath, who was the chief guest at the conference, pointed out that the real estate sector was inextricably linked to urbanisation and the country’s economic growth. However, he said affordable housing was an area that most real estate developers and builders did not consider but it was the need of the hour.
According to him, the real estate industry was facing challenges like cutting costs without cutting corners, scarcity or high cost of land and issues with governance. “The consumer, more often than not, pays for it,” he said.
Ranganath said there was a need to streamline procedures. “I could count at least 17 permissions to acquire land and construct a building. We need to find a way to ensure that these permissions are given in a timely and transparent manner,” he said.
He said both the government and private sectors need to work together in this regard.
On land and affordable housing, he said the government should look at providing incentives to private players. “Housing could be made part of industrial estates. We need improved FARs. We also need to determine what percentage of land should go towards construction of buildings, roads, parks and commercial establishments,” he said.