Speaking exclusively to Realty & More post lockdown, UPRERA Chairman Rajive Kumar the extension of one month granted to complete the projects in the wake of the lockdown due to COVID 19, appears reasonable. In a freewheeling interview through video conferencing, the UP RERA top boss informed in detail about the Authority’s plans and working. Following are the excerpts from the interview:
Palash Roy: How is it working from home and what are you doing in your spare time?
Rajive Kumar: Working from home is a completely different situation. Present situation is very unusual and unprecedented. It shows how much we can do working from home. This new experience will be very useful going forward. I am getting time to read a lot and to connect with people around the country and the state. Also the frontline workers for doing a fabulous job – the doctors, healthcare staff, administration officials, various NGOs and all others are doing an outstanding job. I am reading a lot on what is happening around the world, especially on the COVID front. In addition, UPRERA meetings are happening on a regular basis and the Authority has taken few decisions post lockdown.
PR: Can you tell us about the decisions take post lockdown?
RK: There are nearly 650 registered projects scheduled to be completed by Dec’20. Of which 268 projects are scheduled to be completed between March 15–June 15, 2020. 40 projects of the 268 are in ready and are in various stages of completion. The completion date for these projects have been extended by 3 months.
PR: Developers are saying labour mobilisation will take long when work resumes post lockdown. Also most of the raw materials manufacturing units are also shut. Builders are demanding about 1-year extension. Would you consider that?
RK: The maximum permissible extension for projects completion under the law is one year and individual reasons are needed for this extension. Activities shall start as planned by the Government. There is a lot of uncertainty in the prevailing circumstances and things will not move in the same way as earlier, also there are going to be lots of issues post lockdown. So one month of mobilisation appears reasonable at this stage. Having said that, the right to seek longer extension remains. Also as I mentioned many projects are completed and are on time. So not all the projects are going to overshoot. While RERA has provisions for compensating for delay, compensation will not be applicable for delays due to force majeure.
PR: What are the other decisions you have taken?
RK: E-courts are already functioning in UPRERA and buyers are filing complaints online and promoters have also started responding. So far more than 100 cases filed online and we intend to hear argument on video conferencing mode which would help early disposal of cases.
PR: Though the RBI has asked banks for a 3 months moratorium on home loans, borrowers opting for this have to pay interest for the period. Would ask the concerned Authorities to make the moratorium interest free?
RK: The Government is working to ensure increased liquidity in the system, which is one of the major problems faced by the sector. Once this problem is taken care of, the builders are capable of completing the projects. Also recent measures taken by the RBI would help in expediting the completions of projects and the expected economic package from the Government shall be awaited.