The government has recently offered some relief to the construction sector and permitted activity to resume in non-Covid-19 hotspots, provided strict social distancing guidelines are followed by them.
Amid the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19, the government has recently offered some relief to the construction sector and permitted activity to resume in non-Covid-19 hotspots, provided strict social distancing guidelines are followed by them.
“Keeping in view the current scenario, the move to start at least some of the construction activity on project sites, even with limited workforce, is certainly welcome. That said, since many migrant workers had left for their villages post lockdown 1.0 announcement, we will have to wait and see how many are actually left back to resume work. Migrant workers comprise at least 80% share of the total 44 million workforce in the construction sector currently,” said Anuj Puri, Chairman, ANAROCK Property Consultants.
The move is likely to help the real estate sector to some extent. However, the fact that Covid-19 hotspots will not be able to resume activity from April 20 is a dampener for markets such as MMR – a highly-impacted zone which, as per ANAROCK data, currently has the highest under-construction residential stock of nearly 4.65 lakh units. This accounts for 30% of the overall 15.62 lakh under-construction stock across the top 7 cities.
“As far as construction activity in non-hotspots is concerned, developers will need to focus on resuming construction on projects that are already nearing completion and have a completion deadline within 2020,” said Puri.
A majority of developers also said that the Central government’s announcement to allow construction activity from April 20 is a welcome move. “Resuming work even with a limited workforce is a great relief for the realty sector. Though to have a seamless process of construction activity, the entire supply chain needs to be revived and this might be a challenge in the present state of affairs. While ensuring all safety and precautionary measures along with the medical supervision, we will restart the work at WTC GIFT City with the available workforce at our site. For WTC Chandigarh and WTC Noida, we would await directives from the state government to move ahead,” said Ashish Arora, Director-Distribution, Viridian RED.
Ashish Sarin, CEO, AlphaCorp, said, “We welcome the move made by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, offering relief to a labour-intensive sector that was bearing the brunt of the national lockdown following the novel Coronavirus outbreak. This move will help the developers like us to initiate construction activities with the available workforce on-site because we haven’t got relief from regulatory authorities on project deliveries. Adhering to the guidelines, we would like to start the engine with the material available to avoid movement of trucks and construction supplies thereof and bring the same to run full steam after lockdown restrictions are lifted further. Our focus is to build on the faith that our buyers and investors have entrusted upon us all these years without fail.”
NAREDCO National President, Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, said, “The relaxation has come at the right time as the situation was very grim to keep construction workers at the site afloat. With this order, the economic drivers of the country will start moving again, even as we extend the lockdown. Considering the estimated loss of Rs 26,000 crore per day to the Indian economy as a result of the lockdown, this relaxation in lifting of lockdown is a constructive step.”