Demand and supply will dictate prices

November 2011
Paras Gundecha, President, MCHI

Paras Gundecha is no stranger to hard work and challenges. After all, this is a man who toiled tirelessly from the age of 21 and created an empire: the Gundecha Group. And now, he is more than primed for his next challenge in his capacity as the President of the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI): to make the association the best known for real-estate developers. In conversation with Shriyal Sethumadhavan, Gundecha highlights his role in achieving MCHI's future plans and offers his perspective on the industry.

What are the major steps being taken to realise MCHI's future plans?
Catering to the interest of all stakeholders, MCHI has introduced various activities in a time-bound manner; exhibitions at regular intervals to appraise buyers of upcoming projects, and guiding them on how to deal with issues they encounter while buying their dream home. We have also presented the sector's problems before the state government and BMC with the hope that they will be resolved at the earliest. For instance, the BMC's recent decision of charging 100 per cent premium on FSI (flower bed, balcony, etc), which earlier used to be free, is bound to have a negative impact on the real-estate sector. We recommended charging 25 per cent on FSI premium.

How do you view the PPP draft policy?
The PPP draft policy will better deal with complaints in the housing sector, like violations by builders and the lack of basic civic amenities. With this, the government will consider building more houses for the weaker sections and low-income group.

What are the current grievances faced by developers in Maharashtra? What is MCHI doing to help them overcome these?
At present, the housing industry in Maharashtra is mired in problems. While there is lack of clarity on various aspects, several projects are stuck, some in getting approvals, and others that have commenced initial work encounter difficulties sourcing raw materials. As of now, the regulations governing the sector have made the operational aspect difficult. So, while this is a challenge in itself, sourcing raw materials and funds has become an equally challenging task.

Why should a customer approach the recently revised Grievance Redressal Cell?
The GRC successfully addresses a few grievances, and I am trying to fine-tune the modalities of receiving, addressing, resolving and reporting these to the managing committee. It will only consider customer versus MCHI member complaints.

Principally, this is a customer-friendly step that will further our goal of transparency and fair dealing. It takes up for resolution any valid complaint against a member, such as deficiency in quality, non-delivery of promised amenities, and delayed possession of premises. Customer grievances can be amicably resolved without resorting to legal or consumer forums, thus handling disputes more effectively and efficiently.

How does MCHI help the governments meet their housing objectives?
In the context of charging a premium on FSI, we suggested that the money can be used to create infrastructure and construct low-cost housing complexes. Also, a portion of the mill land can be used for affordable housing. Old and dilapidated buildings could be redeveloped through additional FSI, which would help release land for affordable housing complexes.

How do you view the future of the property market in Maharashtra?
Demand and supply will dictate prices. In terms of property rates, after a long upward journey, real-estate prices have started to soften. With the festive season, we are expecting a slight pickup in demand which will continue to be strong till December, and that may lend support to prices.

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