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

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

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

Happy New Year | தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துக்கள்

Happy New Year | தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துக்கள்

Happy New Year | தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துக்கள்

Chennai tops in broadband speed

 

Records download speed of over 32.67 Mbps, finds study

At 32.67 Megabits per second (Mbps), Chennai clocks the highest fixed broadband download speed among cities, according to a study titled ‘India’s digital divide: how broadband speed splits the nation’ by Seattle-headquartered firm Ookla. Globally, India is ranked 67th with an average speed of 20.72 Mbps.

“Of the 20 largest cities in India, Chennai’s download speed of over 32.67 Mbps for fixed broadband is 57.7% faster than the average for the rest of the country,” the analysis said. The analysis is based on February 2018 data from real consumer-initiated tests taken using Speedtest.

Speedtest by Ookla provides independent insight into the speed and quality of mobile and fixed broadband connections.

Fixed broadband speeds in metros including Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam were also higher than the country’s average of 20.72 Mbps.

Bengaluru follows Chennai in terms of fixed broadband speed with reported average speeds of 27.2 Mbps, while Delhi ranked fifth with average speeds of 18.16 Mbps. Mumbai was the lowest among the four big metros with an overall ranking of eight and broadband speeds averaging 12.06 Mbps.

The study also revealed that Patna is by far the slowest city compared to the rest of the country, with average speeds 62.4% slower than the country’s average.

Top States

A quick scan of the States shows that residents of Karnataka enjoyed the fastest broadband in India, with a mean download speed of 28.46 Mbps during the month of February, which is 37.4% faster than the rest of the country.

Tamil Nadu is a close second at 27.94 Mbps. Mizoram is the slowest with a mean download speed of 3.62 Mbps.

The Hindu

GST relief for low-cost homes, First-time buyers

GST relief for low-cost homes, 1st-time buyers

 Now, a first-house buyer with a household income of up to Rs 18 lakh per annum can avail a benefit of up to Rs 2.7 lakh.
  • The tax benefit will also be extended to an affordable housing project, which has been given infrastructure status.

NEW DELHI: The GST rate has been reduced to 8% from the existing 12% on purchase of houses availing of the credit-linked subsidy scheme (CLSS) under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, and of those houses that are constructed in a project that has got infrastructure status.
Under the CLSS scheme, a first-house buyer with a household income of up to Rs 18 lakh per annum can avail a benefit of up to Rs 2.7 lakh while buying a house or apartment of up to 150 square metres (1,615 sq ft) carpet area.

Those who do not qualify for credit linked subsidy scheme (CLSS) will continue to pay GST at 12% for the same house. The tax benefit will also be extended to an affordable housing project, which has been given infrastructure status, in case the maximum unit size in the project is a carpet area of 646sq ft. The first-house condition on the buyer will not be applied in this case. Whether or not the buyer gets the CLSS benefit under PM Awas Yojna, GST will be levied at 8%.

“The decision will give a push to the real estatesector, particularly affordable housing, as prices will fall by up to 4%,” said Getamber Anand, chairman of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (Credai).

The cap on the size of housing unit to avail of the benefit under CLSS has been kept at 1,615sqft carpet area, which is equivalent to around 2,200sq ft built-up area. This would cover most three-bedroom apartments and houses in the country and particularly in metro cities, said Anand. The Rs 18 lakh cap on household income is also sufficiently large to cover most first-time house buyers. But those buying their second house, or more, would not be able to avail this benefit. NAREDCO vicechairman Parveen Jain said the decision would prove a boon for the masses and fuel rapid growth and development of the real estate sector, furthering the cause of ‘housing for all by 2022’. Developers pay GST on inputs used for the construction of a project. Under GST, taxes paid on the inputs are taken back as credit from the GST paid by the buyer. Input taxes on construction amount to around Rs 400 to Rs 500 per sq ft.