Namma Chennai app is ‘App’solutely great

‘App’solutely great

The Namma Chennai app allows its users to register civic grievances that range from potholes on the road to pesky mosquitoes in the neighbourhood.

Entertain the thought of filing a complaint about a civic issue and the first image that comes to mind is that of unending visits to government offices standing in endlessly long lines to register your complaint, right? You may never know when it will be resolved. Running from pillar to post to fix things is a thing of the past now, thanks to technology and the various efforts of the government to include them in the administration.

How it works

The Namma Chennai app was launched by the Greater Chennai Corporation in the last week of January. Available on Android and iOS platforms currently, it allows Chennai residents to record civic grievances through the application. The app records the phone number and name and takes you to the screen where you can choose between ‘Citizen’, ‘Official’ and ‘Management’ to lodge the complaint. Garbage, public health, water stagnation, park and playground, road and footpath, street light and public toilet are some among of the categories for which one can seek redressal through the app. “In the last three months, the app has been downloaded about 30,000 times. It takes less than a minute to register, which is why it can easily be used by the public. The government is planning to introduce many more services relating to civic services (which will be related to Chennai Corporation). We started with grievances and wanted to see the response to that, based on which we plan to introduce other things. The response has been overwhelming. More than 4,000 complaints have been registered,” says an official from the Electronic Data Processing cell of the government.

The official further adds that each complaint is automatically redirected to the concerned department. “Each complaint has a work flow and Service Level Agreement (SLA). There is a deadline for each kind of complaint, such as one day for garbage clearance or to resolve mosquito menace. There will be a follow-up activity to ensure that the officials close the complaint within a specified time period. This will ensure that the basic problem is fixed,” the official says.

The app has undergone several rounds of fine-tuning in the last few months. “We had to do that to improve the performance of the app. Based on usage statistics, we know the performance of the app on the backend. Then, we isolate the issues and rectify them so that the app does not crash. We have also fixed basic design issues such as the placement of two buttons close to each other,” says an official from the Corporation.

Into the App

1. Management – Refers to the management team of the corporation, a group of bureaucrats who will have access to all of the information recorded on the app.

2. Official – For officials in charge of operations, which include the list of tasks pending, escalation of a task, update and review.

3. Citizen – Applicable to the public. It includes services available under the ‘Online Civic Services’ tab of the official website of the Chennai Corporation. With the app, it only becomes easier for the public to lodge a complaint.

4. 1913 – An additional helpline number that can be used to lodge a complaint.

Ranjitha G, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

East Coast Road: Connectivity is the key

Efficient infrastructure and connectivity are two crucial factors for the future growth of an area and East Coast Road (ECR) has both.

Commercial link

East Coast Road (ECR) connects Chennai to key cities such as Cuddalore and Puducherry. It is also a vital connecting link for the southern suburbs of Chennai and a host to several residential and commercial hubs. The area has attracted many home-buyers and investors in the past few years. ECR boasts of well developed social and physical infrastructure.

Transport

The closest railway station facilitating commuters is situated in Velachery, taking them from ECR to other key locations. Its proximity to the railway station and airport is another reason home-buyers prefer to buy in this locality. Connectivity to locations where employment opportunities are growing is one of the key factors influencing the real estate market here.

Property options

Owing to the serene environment and easy connectivity, this locality has gained popularity as a high-end residential destination. The residential market along ECR is mostly dominated by plots and villas. Property prices here range between Rs 4,000 and Rs 7,600 per sq ft, whereas rentals are in the range of Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000 per month.

Future potential

The ECR is being touted as the growth corridor of Chennai. As per reports, the Railway Board has allocated Rs 1200 crore for the 179.28 km railway line, connecting Chennai and other towns around ECR. The Puducherry government has reportedly begun the process of freezing land for this project.



Source: Magicbricks Bureau, Chennai

Driven by growth: GST Road Chennai

Driven by growth: GST Road

Competitive edge: GST road is one of Southern India’s prominent national highways. Also known as the Chennai-Trichy highway, the road has several residential and commercial developments along the way. Due to its prominence, the entire area has several advantages for real estate development. With several global and domestic corporates establishing their operations in the area, the demand for residential real estate has grown here.

Infrastructure: GST Road boasts of connectivity to several key localities of Chennai including Guindy, Pallavaram, Tambaram, Urapakkam and so on. It is also well-connected through various modes of public transport available in Chennai including the southern and South-western lines of the Chennai suburban railway network. Apart from being close to the Chennai International airport, a number of MTC buses run through the area ensuring good accessibility to and from the area.

Rental returns: The region boasts of several residential options ranging from apartments to plotted developments.

Social infrastructure: The growing presence of corporates in the region, as well as proximity to other hubs in Chennai has led to the development of a robust social infrastructure here. Apart from quality educational institutions, several hospitals and retail establishments, cafes, restaurants, hotels, fitness centres and supermarkets are present here.

Future potential: GST Road is considered a key locality in Chennai.

Source: Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) in Chennai

Travelling to the airport is no longer an anxious journey, as TOD is set to boost not only the realty market, but also enhance connectivity.

A good airport that connects to other cities in the country as well as the world helps further the development of the city. An established airport not only helps in bringing people closer, but also helps economies, thus making sure the particular city sees commercial growth and development. For this to happen, it is crucial that the airport is accessible from different parts of the city.

“A decade ago, we had limited ways of reaching the airport. We would often book a cab, and anxiously wait for it to arrive and get to the airport on time. Today, that is not the case as ease of travelling to the airport has increased. The metro rail services have made it easier to travel to the airport with fast trains that reach in less than 40 minutes,” says Banita S, a frequent flyer, adding that there were free buggy services the last time she was at the airport. “Travelators too have been inaugurated; they connect the metro station to the domestic and international terminal. All these amenities have ensured that travelling to the airport is a comfortable ride,” she says.

An important aspect of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is to minimise the walking distance to public transport spots, thereby increasing the number of people taking the public transport, and providing accessibility to all parts of the city. TOD will help flyers seamlessly connect to the airport.

WS Habib, President, CREDAI Chennai, say the benefits of TOD would be manifold. “As we know, air travel is growing at an exponential rate, which means a countless number of passengers are at the airport. Airport Oriented Development (AOD) can become dynamic centres of economic, commercial and entertainment activity for passengers and residents of the area.”

T Chitty Babu, Chairman and CEO, Akshaya Pvt Ltd, adds that TOD will require the development of large portions of the area around the airport and the localities closer to the airport. “These areas will be required to build an integrated network of connectivity and better urban planning in the city. TOD will significantly reduce travel time, encourage the use of public transport and reduce congestion and creation of public amenities as well as social infrastructure to cater to the growing needs of the urban population,” says Babu.

Developing a good and viable transport network around the airport is essential for its improvement, thus paving way for more commercial growth. And this will also impact the residential segment. Stressing on the influence real estate will have on it, Babu says, “TOD provides a tremendous opportunity for real estate to contribute to the development of commercial as well as residential spaces. It will boost the economy and trigger a substantial growth of organised development in the city. Better policy and rules by the government can help the real estate industry in leveraging TOD to plan the city more efficiently and open the gates for more opportunities for investments.”

Source Ranjitha G, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

home insurance policy gives you the dual advantage of securing a home loan with ease

Take cover

Editor | May 21, 2018 @ 12:46 PM

Chennai

A home insurance policy gives you the dual advantage of securing a home loan with ease and protecting your abode against risks of all kinds. Experts give you a bird’s eye view…

A home is where you put most of your life’s savings into. It’s your comfort zone for the rest of your life and your family’s too. And you wouldn’t want that jeopardised for anything in the world. Keeping your house safe against any peril should be a priority on your to-do list. Through a home insurance policy, you can recover the cost of the damage, thus giving you the opportunity to restore your home and peace of mind. Over to the experts:

What it covers?

• A basic cover, called ‘Fire’ policy indemnifies damage due to certain perils such as fire, lightning, riots, malicious damage, landslides, floods, explosions, earthquake, etc. These are largescale damages with a low probability of occurrence; hence, less premium is charged. The policy excess, or the minimum deduction of a claim is higher, between Rs 10,000 and Rs 25,000. The claims are strictly paid on a reinstatement basis (which is the cost of reconstruction).

Winning policy

• Some private insurance companies have an all-risk policy for homes where the person can purchase a policy at the current market value of the apartment. There are two advantages – one, the peril need not be a specific one; for example, a building collapse is not covered in the fire policy but is in the allrisk one. Two, the policy pays out the insured value or market value of an equivalent apartment so that re-building is optional. These premiums are higher, excess is lower and coverage is wider.

Yashodan Heblekar, Insurance Advisor, Bajaj Allianz Insurance, Goa

Comprehensive cover

• An immense home insurance policy covers all components in your compound such as garage, fence, etc. You can also opt for add-ons and protect your furniture, electronics, home appliances, etc.

Insurance claim

For a claim for crimes like burglary or malicious damage to your property, report to the police and get a crime reference number, which your insurer will require as a part of the claim;

Explain the details to your insurer and ask for the relevant claim form as soon as the damage has occurred. Calls to a helpline will be detailed in your policy documents too;

Put together as much evidence and the circumstances surrounding it – photos, estimates for building work, witness statements, damaged items you’re claiming for, etc;

If possible, supply receipts, or quotations, etc for items;

Reconsider small claims. If you have built up a decent no-claims bonus, losing it could mean that over the next few years, the increased cost of your home cover outweighs the value of your claim.

Varun Manian, MD, Radiance Realty, Chennai

Application eligibility

Home insurance policy can be bought by individuals or companies; The owner/occupant of the property needs to be an Indian citizen; A multi-year policy can be purchased only by the owner of the house/flat; A housing society can buy it to provide cover for the building as well as the common utilities. It can be applied in the name of the society by any authorised member of the society’s managing committee; Many insurance companies offer cover for the contents and possessions of the tenants against loss or damage by lightning, fire, theft, smoke, flood, etc. This policy will shield everything from personal belongings, furniture to electrical items, etc; The amount of insurance premium payable to the insurance company depends on the applicant’s age, home loan amount and tenure, applicant’s medical history.

Reaping the benefits

• A home insurance policy is highly recommended as it shields the house, contents of the house and the family from financial setbacks, property damage, and personal injuries in case of unfortunate incidents, natural calamities, lawsuits, man-made and anti-social activities. The policy supports the individual to financially recover from the loss and rebuild the home. In the process of restoring an insured house in the aftermath of damages, the insurance company will not only cover your renovation expenses but also your rental outflow on another accommodation. You can choose a bundled product wherein the premium amount is funded by the lender. Check if the policy covers the death benefit, death by accident, permanent disability benefit, etc.

Harshil Mehta, Joint MD and CEO, DHFL, Mumbai

Source: Leena Mudbidri, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

The plot you’re going to buy in South Chennai may be no man’s land

Beware! The plot you’re going to buy in South Chennai may be no man’s land

Chennai

If you are planning to buy a plot of land in south Chennai and its peripheries, then exercise maximum caution before investing in the property as it could be a plot usurped through fraudulent documents. In the past four months, 17 cases of land registrations through double documentation worth of Rs 200 crore have been unearthed in the sub-registrar offices located in the southern parts of the city. Land sharks have been eyeing no man’s land, vacant plots including the government’s poramboke to make a fortune in the realty market.

All cases have been reported in the sub-registrar offices under the purview of the South Chennai District Registrar. The cases have come to the light, incidentally, after the arrest of a registration official P Sivapriya attached to South Chennai District Registrar who has been accused of aiding illegal property registrations in and around the Pallikaranaimarsh land.

Registration department sources told TOI that illegal registrations came to light during a verification of a property transaction. According to official sources, every stamp paper has a different identity serial number. “But in one of the sale deed, whose registration was traced to November 1975, the same serial number was present in all the stamp papers. This raised our suspicion,” an official said adding that further inspection of the sale deed revealed that the entire document was forged.

This apart, complaints from the original owners also brought the murky activity to light. Sources said about 40% visitors to the South Chennai District Registrar’s office were victims of forgery and had come to file complaints.

Officials said there was a pattern to the fudging of documents. “The registrations with fake documents pertain to unclaimed and open land, and poramboke land of the government. It needs strenuous efforts to differentiate between a forged sale deed and original document because the fraudsters have recreated rubber stamps matching the old style,” a registration department official, privy to developments, said.

While 17 such illegal documentations have been unearthed, steps are being taken to file FIRs, sources added. “The total transactions would be worth of Rs 200 crores,” an official said.

When contacted, a senior official with the office of inspector general of registration said they have received complaints in this regard. “Fraudulent property registrations are generally rampant in South Chennai,” the official said.

Source: Yogesh Kabirdoss, Economic Times, Chennai

Busting myths about renting

Know your rent

Chennai

Did you know that your owner can’t evict a tenant if the tenant pays rent regularly, unless the owner wants to shift in? Well, we asked seven tenants and most were pretty clueless about the same. Here, we take you through the lesser known aspects of renting, thus busting myths that most tenants are subjected to.

We’ve all heard dreaded stories of crazy landlords, hidden charges and dodgy properties that come along with a tenancy agreement. And now that many young adults are moving out of home, many Millennials are still in the early stages of their life and career, and are usually living in rented homes as they are keen to have flexibility in their career. The growing pressure to step onto the property ladder often leaves one unsure of the facts when it comes to renting and the options available.

Busting myths about renting

– Rashmi Deshpande, Associate Partner, Khaitan & Co

Here are a few common myths surrounding renting:

1. It is better to buy property and pay EMI than pay the rent – In the traditional Indian mindset, which attaches great significance to ownership of property and frowns on payment of rent, it is necessary to bear in mind that the decision to rent should be guided on practical considerations. If the tenancy is for a limited purpose, such as temporary relocation to a place for a job, children’s education, etc, renting is a better option;

2. Tenant pays more maintenance than owner – The rules of the association cannot be discriminatory and are required to be applied uniformly to all occupants;

3. Tenant is entitled to claim ownership of space by virtue of long period of stay – The Rent Control legislations cannot be confused with the law of adverse possession. While rent control laws seek to prevent rights of a tenant against illegal dispossession by the owner, the law of adverse possession will apply only if a person has been in continuous uninterrupted possession for the prescribed period. However, if the tenant is occupying under a valid agreement with the owner, he cannot as a matter of right claim ownership after a specified term;

4. Landlord is required to undertake all repairs – The terms of the lease agreement between the landlord and tenant need to be examined to understand the inter se obligations of the parties with respect to repairs and maintenance. In the absence of any agreement, the law requires the landlord to undertake repairs of structural nature only and the tenant is required to undertake day-to-day repairs and replacements.

Source: Deborah Pereira, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Plot regularisation files move at snail’s pace at chennai corporation

Plot regularisation files move at snail’s pace at corporation

Chennai

Inordinate delay by Chennai Corporation in processing and disposing of applications for regularisation of unapproved layouts has been frustrating applicants, who have to make several trips to Ripon Building to follow up on their papers.

The civic body has received 5,297 applications for regularization since the scheme was rolled out on May 4, 2017, with most of the applications coming from Madhavaram, Ambattur, Valsaravakkam, Perungudi, and Shollinganallur zones. Since the extension of the May 3 deadline, the corporation received 1,891 applications.

Calling for decentralisation of the process, which could be handled at zonal office levels involving more officials, residents say it is taking months now. “After I applied for approval of a plot in Puzhuthivakkam in November, not even an acknowledgment was sent. For every status update, I need to keep visiting Ripon Building. After all these months, I am yet to receive an approval,” said V Moses.

Sources said only six engineers were working on the regularization files, though the number of pending applications ran to several thousands. Two plot owners were flummozed when they were asked to produce no-objection certificates from Airports Authority of India for layouts in Moulivakkam and Madhavaram.

“What does AAI have to do with properties so far, in Moulivakkam?” questioned a resident. “We need a hassle-free and public-friendly approach. What is the use of conducting camps urging people to get their sub-divisions and layouts regularised, when the process is so cumbersome and never-ending?” questioned G Satish of Sholinganallur.

Officials, however, told TOI that 240 layouts had been approved till date and that the process was picking up steam when compared to earlier months when only 13 layouts got approval in a span of a year. According to officials, 597 applications were for plots in CRZ area. “Non-submission of all the required documents by the applicant is one of the causes of delay. Once we get the update from CMDA, the applicant can submit all the missing files even in a day,” he said. Scrutiny of the framework plan takes two weeks for the CMDA if the documents are in order. Orders have been issued to involve two more engineers in regularization work, said an official.

Source: Shruti Suresh, The Times of India, Chennai

Chennai – Two key metro rail lines, 4 stations to open on May 25 2018

Two key metro rail lines, 4 stations to open on May 25 2018

Chennai

Two key metro rail lines — from Central to Shenoy Nagar and AG-DMS to Little Mount via Saidapet (beneath Anna Salai) and four stations will be launched on May 25, providing much-needed connectivity to Chennai Central— the city’s largest transit hub. The lines are ready to be opened after a delay of more than two years,

State Industries Minister M C Sampath told TOI that Central Metro, Egmore Metro, Shenoy Nagar and four other stations between AG-DMS and Little Mount on Anna Salai will be inaugurated on May 25. “The chief minister will be present. We have also invited the ministers of state,” said Sampath.

On May 22, Sampath inspected the arrangements made in the stations including Egmore Metro, where the inaugural function will be held. Top Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) officials were present during the inspection.

When the 5.62-km line between Shenoy Nagar and Central Metro opens, commuters can board a train every five minutes to Shenoy Nagar, Anna Nagar, CMBT and St Thomas Mount. They will also be able to board a direct service to airport or reach Anna Salai by shifting corridors at Alandur metro. At Central, only the upper track level connecting stations on Poonamallee High Road will be opened. The lower track linking Anna Salai is not yet ready.

The 4.5-km stretch between Little Mount and AG-DMS can take commuters arriving at the busy bus stops in DMS and Saidapet and from surrounding localities up to the airport. Passengers can shift corridors in Alandur station and proceed to CMBT or to Central Metro.

Both the stretches were delayed by nearly two years, as their earlier deadline was December 2015. Work in the Anna Salai line was stalled for a year after a Russian contractor, who was building tunnels and stations between May Day Park and Saidapet, abandoned work citing financial crisis. This forced the government to open bids again and award contracts in small packages to firms to finish the pending work.

Commissioner of metro rail safety KA Manoharan and his team last week conducted inspections of the stations and tunnels. He said authorisation would be given this week subject to certain conditions like completion of passenger amenities in the stations.

“At Central Metro, they have only one entry point ready. They should have one more entrance ready for evacuation of passengers during emergency,” he said after the inspection.

Source: U Tejonmayam, The Times of India, Chennai

Demand for retirement homes in Chennai goes up

Demand for retirement homes in Chennai goes up

Chennai

There has been a sudden spurt in the number of enquiries for senior citizen homes in and around Chennai. The growing realisation that it would be better to relocate to a senior citizen community than living alone has been attributed to this surge in demand. Moreover, the number of developers who focus on retirement homes continues to remain limited. The demand from both residents and NRIs is predominantly from the affluent category. The demand for senior citizens homes has been estimated at 5,000 units in the city alone but only less than 10 developers are currently involved in development in the entire state of Tamil Nadu.

Availability of facilities, specifically food service and nursing care in case of emergency are major determinants. Fool-proof security, social infrastructure, ambience and neighbourhood are also tilting factors that nudge people to shift to retirement homes.

The market is predominantly driven by end users and price appreciation is not a major criterion for investing in a retirement home, said a developer involved in the development of such homes.

The sluggish growth in the sector has been attributed to the social stigma that society and relatives may demean the children if the parents shift to senior citizen homes. Delay in delivery is yet another reason as the time span to use the retirement home is short (around 10-12 years only) when compared to buying a regular home. Continuity of services for life by Retirement Community Management Company is cited as yet another reason for the tepid growth. This is because of unavailability of service provider in a retirement community that makes life difficult to live.

“We have come across buyers from the affluent class in the society in our project above SEC A class,” said Ramesh Kumar KAV, CEO & Director, Harmony Eldercare Pvt Ltd.  The retirement community home industry is evolving and will become one of the SBUs for all major real estate companies in a decade, he added.

According to Kumar, retirement home community is a hybrid product of real estate with essential features like facility management, food service and basic healthcare. Hence this has to be marketed differently from the regular real estate projects with trust and credibility as corner stones.

“Innovation is the key to boost the development as well as marketing,” say developers. Deferred management fee model may be adopted for acquisition of retirement homes wherein some part of the building cost will be paid upfront and remaining in a span of ten years. Banks should be involved by using reverse mortgage scheme to take care of increase in monthly maintenance charges due to spiraling inflation. Involvement of residents’ association and integrating with a larger regular residential gated community would further enhance the demand for retirement homes, according to industry sources.

Limited developers undertaking such projects is yet another reason for the surge in demand as stringent criteria are involved right from site location and neighbourhood amenities. Availability of good health care facility within a 5-km radius, good ground water, commuting facilities to nearby markets/temples, designing the buildings with features like same level flooring, wide doors for toilets, ramp at entrance, more lighting level in rooms, rounded corners for all walls, etc. are major criteria to be taken into consideration by the developers, said Kumar.

On the government front, it is felt that there is a need to encourage development of retirement homes by providing fiscal sops on the lines of affordable housing. One of the deterrents is GST. The rate of GST for construction of senior citizen homes should be at par with EWS housing schemes. Similarly, GST at 18% on services provided is very high, say developers considering the limited income at their disposal.

Source: V Nagarajan, Magicbricks Bureau