Realtors urge Maharashtra government to allow construction during impending lockdown

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Realty developers in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) have urged the government of Maharashtra to allow construction and logistical activities in the region in the likelihood of a probable lockdown, unlike last year where the industry had come to a complete standstill.

According to developers’ body CREDAI MCHI, there has been a double influx of construction workers at various sites in comparison to the labourers that have left in the last two months, contrary to reports on increasing reverse migration of labourers amid new covid restrictions.

 

In the backdrop of a spike in Covid19 infections in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra over the last few weeks, the government may announce a strict lockdown following its recent announcement of night curfews on weekdays and lockdown on weekends.

A survey conducted among 85 developer members of the body has revealed a small fraction of workers has left MMR in the last few weeks owing to the festival of Holi and marriage season--a trend witnessed in previous years.

“In the wake of the second wave of Covid19, the Maharashtra Government has not just provided adequate support to real estate stakeholders but in the last 6 months, it has also ensured an extremely conducive business environment for us, enabling MMR real estate to spearhead the revival of the state’s economy after the first wave. Developers are keen to keep their construction workers safe and have taken all measures including RTPCR testing at sites in accordance with government guidelines in order to segregate Covid patients, if any,” said CREDAI MCHI President Deepak Goradia.

 

He urged the government to allow construction activities at sites given the likelihood of an impending lockdown and also ensure that the supply chain of construction materials is kept intact.

 

“As developers, we are more than prepared to help the government in tackling this second wave by enhancing requisite measures to ensure a safe working environment at sites,” he added.

 

Realty developers have been able to hold workers back so far owing to the measures they are taking based on the insights and learnings from the last year’s lockdown-led exodus of labourers, and also due to the governments of Maharashtra’s mandated measures. They are already taking care of labourers’ food and accommodation at the site itself apart from free regular testing, vaccination, the assurance of medication, work and wages even if the worker gets infected.

 

A decision to halt construction activities in the lockdown period, akin to last year, will prove to be detrimental to not just workers and homebuyers due to delays but also developers who faced severe financial struggles last year as well, the developers' body said.

 

Realty developers have been undertaking several safety measures at the sites to ensure the adherence of government protocols. In an internal study, it was revealed that out of over 20,000 workers surveyed at various MMR sites, only 19 covid cases were reported – reflecting the strong commitment of developers to provide a safe working environment for its workers and employees.