Scores of mega real estate projects are left in limbo because the HMDA’s new chief defers decision. Builders and developers are wringing their hands in anguish
Files of real estate projects are piling up at the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) for the past two months.
The new metropolitan commissioner Neerabh Kumar Prasad is said to be sending the files back at double the speed at which they come to his office, red-marked with query after query so that the files stay in perpetual transition and nothing reaches fruition.
Worried developers and builders are going round and round but reaching nowhere. Officials are tight-lipped and point their finger at the commissioner’s office. But consistent prodding by Postnoon produced a response from HMDA director (planning) S Vishwanath, “The commissioner has cleared around 6-8 industrial building permissions for projects under the existing single window system. Apart from these he did not give clearance to any of the real estate project.”
Vishwanath admitted that the Authority is under pressure from builders and developers who have time-bound projects which if delayed would draw heavy loss. However, nothing is being done, he said.
Other officials in the HMDA dropped a hint that a veneer
general fear is pervading throughout the IAS spectrum after the recent arrest of senior officers like BP Acharya and Y Sri Lakshmi. That several IAS officers are in the line of fire has aggravated the situation with the result that the officials prefer to defer decision rather than clearing them. “Since there is no penalty for delaying decision they prefer the safe route,” said a senior official, hastening to add that he was not referring to the HMDA commissioner.
Officials say that earlier it took a week for a legitimate projects to get approval. Since building regulation is the onus of the GHMC, not the HMDA, the over-caution the HMDA evinces in projects is unwarranted, they opined. HMDA does not have powers to take punitive action including demotion of unlawful buildings.
Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (Credia) AP president C Sekhar Reddy admitted that he was told of the standstill situation in HMDA. “I’m presently out of the City and can tell you more once I come back,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prasad has not been coming to the office for three days. Enquiries with his personal staff reveals nothing more than that he is “busy with meetings.” His personal assistant Nanda said the commissioner has asked not to reveal his cell phone number to any and said, “Even HMDA officials do not have his number.” Postnoon’s efforts to contact went in vain.