Builders from Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane plan strike to protest against government apathy

Oct 10, 2015, 16:35 IST | Varun Singh

The lobby wants faster approvals, one-window clearance, time frame for passing files and relaxations from service tax, among other demands

In what will be a first for the construction industry, builders are going on strike. On Tuesday (Oct 13), in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane, there will be no work, no sites will be functional, no sales will take place, no office will be open and for a month, builders will wear a black ribbon as a mark of protest. All this is because builders claim that the government is not listening to their problems, and isn't coming up with any solution. In fact, builders also claim that the government has increased the problems. They say that the recent suicide by Thane builder Suraj Parmar was allegedly caused because of policy paralysis on the part of the government.

Also read: Like farmers, suicide is the only option left before us, says Thane builder

Builders claim projects are stuck in limbo due to the existing policy paralysis and red tape. File pic for representation
Builders claim projects are stuck in limbo due to the existing policy paralysis and red tape. File pic for representation

Arvind Goel, president, MCHI-CREDAI, Navi Mumbai said, “On Tuesday, all of us in Mumbai and other areas are going to go on strike. All our offices and construction sites will remain shut. This is being done, because of the policy paralysis that exists. We were expecting a lot of change in the policies after the government change and that never happened. The one-window clearance is still a distant dream and other policies haven't materialised. All this has left builders with no hope. Therefore, we have decided that we will go on strike.”

Policy paralysis
The builder lobby claims that files have been stuck with various authorities for months together. It also takes a lot of time to pass any file. With the development plan again going for correction, and with no guarantee that it will be passed by February, no major development has been taking place for almost a year.

Read Story: President of Thane builders' body shoots himself at sample flat

Sunil Mantri, President of the National Real Estate Development Council said, “We are supporting the strike. The government's process is very slow and it's affecting the industry.”

Suraj Parmar ended his life by shooting himself in the head
Suraj Parmar ended his life by shooting himself in the head

Another builder claimed that the suicide of Suraj Parmar is also a trigger now. “We have lost a builder due to the government's policy paralysis. It took us a death to wake up to that, we need to be united to take our issues to a conclusive end,” he said.

Also Read: Names scratched out in Thane builder's 15-page suicide note

Meanwhile, even consumer rights activists believe that the builders are right. Ramesh Prabhu, president of the Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association said, “Consumers will have to come on the road and now fight. It's a battle for the consumer — if the stamp duty is increased, and policies aren't passed, then the consumer is finally affected. Policies aren't being formulated, it's more than one-and-a-half years since the new government has come, but nothing concrete has happened. The government had said that there will be lot of relaxation in real estate (laws), but they are only levying more charges. The development plan, came with lot of errors, they are seeking more and more time and this has led to the lapse of a year. Whether it is coming in February, even that's not sure. Consumers are suffering too, because the builders are providing a product, and when the builder is facing so many hurdles, how will he give the final product to the consumer?”

Charter of demands
Builders want the following:
>> Faster approvals
>> One-window clearance
>> Specific time frame for passing of files
>> If a file is not passed within a specific period, it should be deemed to have been passed
>> Relaxations from service tax, VAT, and other levies
>> Clear policies on MHADA redevelopment

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