Builders to Ensure Fire Safety

The Municpal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) commissioner, Sudhir Rajpal has once again emphasised that builders of various societies should ensure that proper fire safety arrangements are in place. Also procuring a no objection certificate (NOC) from the corporation, after fulfilling all the points mentioned in the guidelines, issued by the authority, is vital, he added. He was speaking at the inauguration of a fire station at DLF Phase 5 recently.

Rajpal emphasized the importance of keeping firefighting equipment, to avoid a mishap. “Considering that the city has innumerable highrises and thousands of people live in these buildings, it has become important for builders to take adequate safety measures,” added Rajpal. At the fire station, DLF has installed a hydraulic platform, which can take the fire personnel up to 90m for dousing the fire or dealing with an incident, and if required, the MCG can use the equipment elsewhere in Gurgaon too.

Referring to the recent verdict of a Gurgaon court, in which the latter penalised eight private societies to the tune of Rs 5,000 each, for not procuring an NOC from the MCG and providing safety arrangements in their buildings, Sanjay Chugh, MCG public relations official said, “Even after a lot of effort there are builders who are not taking the matter seriously. The MCG has identified 59 such societies in Gurgaon and cases against them are pending in court. These are builders who have either not procured an NOC or not taken an initiative to follow the guidelines mentioned by the MCG. We have issued summons to some of them.”

“We don’t want to penalise or take legal action against them if they ensure that they are not playing with the lives of so many people and show us that they have fulfilled the requisite safety guidelines,” he added.

As per the policy, the authority issues an NOC to the highrises every year after checking the security arrangements and these are uploaded on the MCG website,, which can be seen by anyone for reference purpose.

Read more: Hindustan Times

Real estate accounts for chunk of L&T’s Q2 orders of Rs 15,800 crore

Engineering major Larsen & Toubro booked fresh orders worth Rs 15,800 crore in the second quarter of the current year, lower than the Rs 19,600 crore it booked in the previous quarter. Equity analysts at Kotak Institutional Equities Research have taken note of an interesting feature of Q2 order bookings — 44 percent of them (Rs 6,900 crore) are from urban real estate, mostly ‘residential’. Of the Rs 15,800 crore, Rs 2,200 crore has come from ‘water’ and Rs 1,600 crore from power transmission and distribution. L&T had previously said its current year order bookings would be between Rs 80,000 crore and Rs 85,000 crore. “We believe that L&T enjoys a sweet spot in urban real estate with developers having an opportunity to boost project credentials by using L&T as construction contractor. However, we believe that urban real estate has its own risks related to clearances, completion timelines and finances of developers,” says Kotak.

Read more: The Hindu Business Line

Small looks good

You may call it affordable housing, but at a time when property rates slowly inch upwards, small is beautiful in real estate. Developers across cities are busy launching compact apartments to make housing affordable for customers and also to boost their sales. Instead of slashing prices, developers have taken a smarter route to make your dream house a reality.

All they have done is that they reduced the size of flats. Leading developers, such as the Hiranandani Group, Nirmal Lifestyle, Hubtown, Puravankara Projects and Mantri Developers, among others, have hooked on to the new trend: small and smart houses in place of high-end luxury houses. Hi­ranandani, which is synonymous with high-end properties, has recently launched one-bedroom flats at Thane. But even a one-bedroom flat in Mumbai may cost around Rs 80 lakh or more. Sunil Mantri, chairman of Mantri Developers said that most developers are now focusing on compact houses since there is huge demand in the mid-segment category. Echoing similar view, Anuj Puri, chairman and country head, Jones Lang LaSalle India, a leading property consultant, said, “With sales volumes stagnant and rising labor and commodity prices squeezing margins of developers, they are not bringing down prices. So developers are now focusing on small ticket projects.”

Read more: Financial Chronicle

Real estate developers may be allowed in large projects

Six months after barring private real estate developers from building townships in West Bengal, the state government is considering a plan to allow them to undertake such large projects.

Amending Section 14Y of its land ceiling laws in April, the state removed townships from the list of projects for which exemption can be granted to private entities over owning more than 24 acres in rural areas.

The threshold on land ownership is 18 acres in areas that receive irrigation.

Read more: Live Mint

Home Loans

ICICI Bank cuts home loan rates by up to 100 bps

Country’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank is back in the fray to aggressively grow its home loan book by cutting its home loan rates by 25 to 100 basis points depending on the tenure and the quantum of loan. In its festival offer, the bank is offering loans at 10.25 percent for loans below Rs 30 lakh and 10.5 percent for loans above Rs 30 lakh. The bank has also done away with a special slab of above Rs 75-lakh floating rate loans under this scheme. The scheme is available at all the ICICI Bank branches. The bank did not respond to an emailed questionnaire. Earlier, the bank had three loan slabs — less than Rs 30 lakh priced at an interest rate of 10.5 percent, loans higher than Rs 30 lakh but less than Rs 75 lakh priced at 11 percent, and all loans higher than Rs 75 lakh, carrying 11.50 percent rate of interest. The rates on fixed home loans ranged between 10.5 percent to 11.75 percent depending on the tenure.

Read more: Money Control

Home loans to grow 20 percent this year: NHB chief

R. V. Verma

National Housing Bank (NHB) aims to disburse close to Rs 17,000 crore as refinance support to banks and housing finance institutions in 2012-13. NHB had disbursed about Rs 14,400 crore in 2011-12. The apex bank for regulating and supervising housing finance companies, has already disbursed close to Rs 3,300 crore as refinance support so far this fiscal. (It follows the July-June accounting year.) According to R. V. Verma, Chairman and Managing Director, NHB plans to raise Rs 14,000 crore this year to fund its refinance plans. “Of this, Rs 5,000 crore will be raised through tax-free bonds, Rs 4,000 crore via rural housing fund and another Rs 5,000 crore by way of other bonds,” Verma said on the sidelines of a housing conclave organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry here on Wednesday.

Read more: The Hindu Business Line

Know these loan facts before going for an under-construction property

With the festive season just around the corner, prospective house buyers are coming back to the market. Builders too are ready to indulge in some gimmicks to catch these prospective buyers’ attention.

With property prices remaining sky-high and the interest rates yet to ease significantly, many prospective buyers would be tempted to check out under-construction properties for their cheaper price tags.

Typically, these under-construction properties quote at least 20% lower than the prevailing rates in a locality. Of course, you can check the properties under construction, but do it with open eyes, because apart from the obvious risk of delay (it could even be indefinite in some cases) in construction, you may also get some other financial hiccups if there are long delays.

Read more: The Economic Times

Business News

Indian business heads meet Timothy Geithner, Ben Bernanke

At a breakfast meeting with US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Indian industry leaders discussed various economic issues, including the latest round of reforms by India, with the visiting US officials. Among those present were Chanda Kochhar, managing director and CEO of ICICI Bank, Hari Bhartia, co-chairman and founder of Jubilant Bhartia Group, and Rajiv Lall, vice chairman and managing director of IDFC.

At a breakfast meeting with US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Indian industry leaders discussed various economic issues, including the latest round of reforms by India, with the visiting US officials.

Various concerns of Indian companies, including the visa problems faced by the software industry, were raised at the meeting. Secretary Geithner also discussed the important and growing contribution Indian foreign direct investment is making to job creation in the United States. Ishaat Hussain, director of finance at Tata Sons, Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of the Confederation of Indian Industry, Adi Godrej, chairman and managing director of Godrej, Deepak Parekh, chairman of HDFC and Venu Srinivasan, chairman and managing director of TVS Motor Co, were also present.

Read more: The Economic Times

Indian IT spend to rise 7.7% to $71.5 billion in 2013: Gartner

Indian IT spending is projected to reach $71.5 billion in 2013, growing 7.7% from the $66.4 billion forecasted for 2012, according to technology researcher Gartner.

“India like other emerging markets continues exercising strong momentum despite inflationary pressures and appreciation of local currencies, which are expected in rising economies,” Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president and global head of research, Gartner, said.

“Despite flat IT budgets in global and domestic market, Indian IT firms are growing because they are seeing growth in new sectors and verticals. Companies are looking at collaboration and digitization,” Soundergaard added while speaking to media.

Read more: The Economic Times

FDI will bring in new formats, drive M&As: Biyani

A lot of new categories, retail concepts will emerge in the next 6-9 months, in the aftermath of government opening foreign direct investment in retail, said said Kishore Biyani, founder and group CEO of Future Group, the country’s largest retailer at the Indian Retail Forum Here

“FDI in multi brand retail will make Indian retail mature,” Biyani said, adding that many private equity funds and retailers who have 20-30 year vision will come to India.

“Retailers need money to expand. A lot of mergers and acquisitions will happen and balance sheets will change,” he said.

Read more: Business Standard

Rentals of high-street retail markets in Delhi rise up to 21%

High street retail locations such as South Extension, Khan Market and Karol Bagh in the national capital witnessed up to 21 per cent rise in rentals during the June-September period over the previous quarter, according to global property consultant Cushman and Wakefield.

In its report on NCR’s retail market, C&W said that the high street of South Extension (I&II) registered a growth of about 21 per cent increase in rental values over the previous quarter, followed by Karol Bagh which registered a growth of 7 per cent in the same period.

“Khan Market, remained India’s most expensive retail destination with a rental value of INR 1,250/ sf/mth which was higher by 2 per cent over the last quarter,” it said, adding that these high streets retail locations have been high on demand.

Read more: The Economic Times


Students from India on top for studying master’s in US: Report

India represented 56 per cent of all Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics students seeking master’s degree.

Students from India have out-numbered their Chinese counterparts in US by a decent margin when it comes to pursuing master’s degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, an official report for the year 2009 has revealed. According to the figures tabulated by the Department of Homeland Security for the National Science Foundation in 2009, India was the top sending country for STEM and graduates enrolled in master’s degree programs and represented 56 per cent of all STEM students seeking master’s degree in 2009.

In fact, Indian graduate students studying engineering and computer science led in master’s degrees. Students from China were placed second at 15 per cent and were more evenly distributed across STEM fields, with the exception of engineering. The remaining top eight sending countries accounted for a total of 13 per cent of all foreign students seeking master’s degrees in STEM fields in 2009, less than that of China, said the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in its recent report.

Read more: IBN Live


Cabinet approves road projects worth Rs 1,500 crore

The government today approved Rs 899.24 crore investment proposal for building a section of National Highway 758 in Rajasthan.

It also cleared a project worth over Rs 600 crore for two-laning of Salasar-Haryana Border section of NH 65.

The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure has approved the investment proposal for implementing the project for the development of 4-laning of Rajasamand-Bhilwara section of the National Highway 758 in Rajasthan, an official statement said.

Read more: The Economic Times



Kitchen at Ireo Waterfront, Ludhiana

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