Kolkata is providing seamless ecosystem for real estate development, Government, industry stakeholders discuss at CII Conference on Unlocking Values – Time to Transform

“The resilient real estate space has shown remarkable turnaround after the first waves of COVID as migrating unskilled labour halted projects, Janab Firhad Hakim, Hon’ble Minister-in-charge, Departments of Urban Development and Municipal Affairs, Housing, Transport & Hon’ble Mayor, Kolkata Municipal Corporation said while delivering the Keynote Address at the CII conference on “ Unlocking Values – Time to Transform”-which focuses to explore key drivers of growth In business which was organized in Kolkata today. Speaking at the conference, Janab Hakim said that the development of real estate is “on track” and the cooperation of the government is exemplary in terms of 2% exemption in stamp duty and a 10% exemption on circle rates of land and property. He also said that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has extended assistance in terms of higher Floor Area Ratio (FAR), minimum time for issuance of NOCs, online submission of plans etc. and the Ease of Doing Business model has been made smooth by KMC. The Common Application Form (CAF), according to the Hon’ble Minister, has helped to ease acquiring construction permission, clearance of plans among others. Mr Hakim also spoke at length about WBHIDCO being the nodal agency for disposing property transparently and for getting maximum possible value out of it. The Hon’ble Minister-in-charge, Departments of Urban Development and Municipal Affairs, Housing, Transport & Hon’ble Mayor, Kolkata Municipal Corporation added that the Government of West Bengal has set up 505 new MSME clusters after 2011. He added that the Adani Group has agreed to set up a hyperscale Data Centre in the Silicon Valley hub on a 51 acres land space and also expressed hope on the rapid growth of leather industry in Kolkata where almost 5 lakhs employment is projected in the next five years. He also said that the Land Use & Development Control Plan (LUDCP) for Bantala, if put in place, will see significant urban growth in that area.

Mr Debasish Sen, Chairman & Managing Director, HIDCO presented the plans on unlocking value of state assets where he spoke of significant FAR in the Fintech Hub in Newtown and elaborated on the concepts of proposed vertical cities, interstate bus terminus and light rail transit. He also spoke about the Alipore Area Development project. Mr Sen said that the Government of West Bengal has initiated the process of monetising the land parcels, in around Kolkata as well as other parts of West Bengal. Some of the land parcels identified for monetisation are Properties in Alipore Jail complex, land parcels behind ITC, few land parcels and assets in Newtown, he added.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Alapan Bandyopadhyay, Chief Advisor to Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal said that it is essential that all conditions for buying, acquiring land, assets be pre-discussed with potential bidders for more transparency, credibility and organicity. He emphasized that freehold transfers of assets can have a chance of misuse and requires consensual pre-discussions among all stakeholders. Mr Bandyopadhyay also said that making conditions seamless would ease unlocking of assets.

Moderating the first session – moentisation of state assets , Mr . Sushil Mohta, Chairman, Merlin Group , and President, Credai West Bengal and Chairman, The Task Force on Housing and Construction, 2021-22, CII, East said , “ Post Pandemic period has witnessed an accelerated movement in every field of life. In The first session of conference by CII East has helped in projecting the various land bank opportunities available with Government entities.

Mr. N Murali, CMD, Shriram Properties and Mr. Dheeraj Agarwal, MD Investments, Indospace Capital Advisors at the panel discussion spoke about the ease of doing business in Kolkata and the ecosystem that has been created for real estate. According to them, Kolkata has a huge potential for this geography and if a few issues like the urban land ceiling act and double registration can be ironed out, it will be a promising city for significant investments.

The session on EoDB deliberated on initiatives are being taken by various departments of government and specially by the Environment Department for disposing the approval in a fast track manner, regular consultation with stakeholder for understanding the problems and introducing required change in the process of approval. The speakers also deliberated on the KMC Taxation System – the anomalies in Unit Area Assessment System are being understood and are in process. There was also a session on the Role of ESG in enhancing value of assets

The initiative chaired by Mr Sushil Mohta, Chairman, Merlin Group, brought together industry experts, key decision makers in the state govt , top notch global consultants and major real estate companies to share their thoughts on the opportunities that exist today and what the future holds for the industry as we move forward.

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