REAL ESTATE







‘Imported’ architects for Indian malls
Illustration: Sandeep JoshiLocal planners lose out to those from abroad and metros, says Shveta Pathak
The construction segment in this region is witnessing hyper activity, thanks to the coming up of a large number of malls. Architects from metropolitan cities and even from abroad are building almost all malls in this region. Local architects can only wait for revenues to percolate at later stages. “Of the nearly 25 malls that would come up within the next two years in this region, I have not heard of even a single company appointing local architects."

Simplify eco-clearance clause, says HDFC chief
Deepak ParekhRuchika M. Khanna

Mega housing projects, which are coming up with an investment of over Rs 50 crore, should be exempt from getting environment clearance from the Centre. This was stated by Mr Deepak Parekh, Chairman, Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), during a visit to Chandigarh. He avers these projects can be sanctioned by the state pollution control boards, as the Ministry of Environment takes a lot of time to clear the projects which came from all over the country.

GREEN house
Garden in limelight
Lemon tree is both useful and ornamental, says Satish Narula
When it comes to the backyard garden, we want to include all kinds of plants suitable for that region. The issue is more pronounced in Chandigarh where the climatic conditions permit nearly 25 different kinds of fruit trees to grow successfully. We want to include all in the limited space and as a result, when the plants grow up, they conjoin and fail to bear fruit.
Lemon plants are so ornamental that they can even be grown in the front lawn
Lemon plants are so ornamental that they can even be grown in the front lawn

Valley laps up apartment concept
Ehsan Fazili
With the expansion of Srinagar city limits due to migration from rural areas of the Kashmir valley, the idea of vertical expansion instead of horizontal one has been gaining momentum. The trend of residential flats, which had been unthinkable of in the Kashmir valley earlier, was visible only at the government- accommodation level.

The trend of residential flats is visible in Kashmir now. — Tribune photo by Amin War
The trend of residential flats is visible in Kashmir now.


Seeking rebate for two houses
Q.
I am a Punjab Govt. employee posted at Chandigarh. I have taken house building advance (HBA) for two properties at different places. Please advice on the rebate of interest. The details is as under:



Top




 





 

‘Imported’ architects for Indian malls

Local planners lose out to those from abroad and metros, says Shveta Pathak

The construction segment in this region is witnessing hyper activity, thanks to the coming up of a large number of malls.

Architects from metropolitan cities and even from abroad are building almost all malls in this region. Local architects can only wait for revenues to percolate at later stages.

“Of the nearly 25 malls that would come up within the next two years in this region, I have not heard of even a single company appointing local architects. The owners are preferring big companies from metropolitan cities or architects based on other countries like Dubai and Hong Kong,” says Sanjay Goel, organising secretary, Ludhiana Architects Association.

The fact that mall culture is imported, mall owners look forward to architects with ‘high exposure’. International architecture not only in terms of designs but also in terms of material used towards construction is one of the main factors, mall owners want to be taken care of.

“We were among the first ones to enter this industry and hence have our own architectural division. Even for our malls in Ludhiana and areas around, we have opted for a consortium or architectures from both India and abroad,” says Kunal Banerjee, Vice-President, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Ansal API.

Ansals have hired architects from Australia, Singapore and the USA.

Attributing the reason of selection to international requirements, he says: “Architecture is something that cannot be compromised with. Not only in terms of beautification, a mall has to be complete in technical aspects where there is an intelligent usage of space, good agronomics et al.”

While Singapore and Dubai remain favourite destinations from where the architects are being selected, big architectural firms in Delhi and Mumbai too are doing well.

Ask companies about hiring local architects and they say they do consider local ones for back up in the areas like consulting on procurement of material et al. “It is the architect firms that do the job and not companies. After preparing a list of interested architectural firms, we zeroed in on a few, who are primarily big firms. Since the onus lies on them to do the job in an efficient and effective manner, we do not interfere whether they take the help of local architect or not.”

Those in this profession do feel neglected but agree that they need to have an international exposure. “Architects do go overseas to acquaint themselves with international trends. However, at the end of the day unless they hold credibility and a name recognised, at least at the national level, they cannot expect more than getting not-so-large scale projects,” feels Goel.

Even as they may not have managed to reap in instant profits, architects in this region feel coming up of malls is giving them a lot of exposure and as the activity is expected to continue in the coming few years, they too hope to get projects.

“The scenario is not very bleak. In the long run, those who learn from experiences now, would certainly gain.”

Top

 

Simplify eco-clearance clause, says HDFC chief
Ruchika M. Khanna

Mega housing projects, which are coming up with an investment of over Rs 50 crore, should be exempt from getting environment clearance from the Centre.

This was stated by Mr Deepak Parekh, Chairman, Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), during a visit to Chandigarh. He avers these projects can be sanctioned by the state pollution control boards, as the Ministry of Environment takes a lot of time to clear the projects which came from all over the country.

“These projects will not impact the environment as would an industry, so these could be exempt from Central government clearances. Because of the delay in getting clearance, at least 10 to 12 mega housing projects on the periphery of Chandigarh are now hanging fire. Various financial institutions, too, are affected because the projects cannot take off,” he says.

Disclosing that HDFC would soon open branches in Bathinda and Karnal, he says they are looking at sites in Baddi and Parwanoo. HDFC is also looking at expanding in Sonepat and Panipat.

Mr Parekh says that housing has gone beyond the reach of a common man. The government has to step in and ensure correction in prices so as to make homes affordable. He says because of the rising prices, investment in the business has stopped. “Realtors and investors have backed off and only those in need of house are actually investing,” he adds.

Top

 

GREEN house
Garden in limelight

Lemon tree is both useful and ornamental, says Satish Narula

When it comes to the backyard garden, we want to include all kinds of plants suitable for that region. The issue is more pronounced in Chandigarh where the climatic conditions permit nearly 25 different kinds of fruit trees to grow successfully. We want to include all in the limited space and as a result, when the plants grow up, they conjoin and fail to bear fruit.

At the time of planting, always keep in mind the potential spread of the tree. The distance has to be given between plants as when the branches of the adjoining trees join each other they shade and due to the lack of air and sun, the branches fail to fruit. It is, therefore, must to first decide what the family preferences are and what plants should necessarily be a part of your garden.

One of the most desired fruit plants is lemon. It is one such fruit that can be grown with excellent results in almost all districts and special areas (like bet and kandi areas) of Punjab and the plains of the adjoining states. A rich source of Vitamin C, it grows with least care. Before discussing the details, let us first remove the confusion that most of the people have when we talk about lime and lemons.

The ping-pong sized deep yellow fruit with thin skin that you normally get in the market is a lime commonly called Kagzi nimboo. The juice of this fruit is strongly acidic, the flesh is greenish white and there is not much flavour. On the contrary, a lemon has abundance of less acidic yellowish green juice and has plenty of flavour. You may find seedless strains too. The size may vary from more than a ping-pong ball to a tennis ball or even more as in case of galgal. The size may also vary from a round fruit to an elongated one, the likes of what you see in the adjoining picture. It is so ornamental that it can even be grown in the front lawn.

The Kagzi lime cannot be grown throughout as in the submontaneous zone, comprising Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Ropar and Chandigarh, it suffers canker and wither tip or die back (anthracnose) disease wherein the twig terminals dry. This results in failed fruiting. For such areas, it has to be essentially a lemon.

Whereas there is only one option open for lime, that is kagzi lime, lemon varieties available are Eureka , PAU Baramasi Lemon-1 and Punjab Galgal. Eureka produces an excellently flavoured juice. Seeds are also rarely present. Its fruit is available during August-September. The fruit in case of baramasi lemon is round with smooth and thin skin. It is juicy and seedless.

Normally, baramasi lemon bears fruit almost all the year round. During rainy season, however, there is a problem of fruit splitting. This is due to irregular watering. When we give long gaps in summer followed by copious irrigation, there is splitting of fruit.

The mantra, therefore, is to give light water (just to wet the upper strata) frequently, at an interval of three to four days. It is also desirable to give good supply of manure. It will not only meet the exhaustive nutritional needs but also conserve moisture. In case the tree spreads too much horizontally, clip those branches back, which are finished with fruit, by one and a half to two feet. You can thus regulate fruiting.

Top

 

Valley laps up apartment concept
Ehsan Fazili

With the expansion of Srinagar city limits due to migration from rural areas of the Kashmir valley, the idea of vertical expansion instead of horizontal one has been gaining momentum. The trend of residential flats, which had been unthinkable of in the Kashmir valley earlier, was visible only at the government-accommodation level.

The state government is now concentrating on making the trend popular. Both, the migration from rural to urban areas and the population growth are believed to be the main factors responsible for this change in the residential behaviour of the Valley-iites.

Until recently, the Kashmiris had quite a different residential behaviour. The houses, mostly made of mud and wood, were adequately poised for summers and winters. During winters, the families would shift to the ground floor for cosy environs and to the top floors during the hot summer days.

“That was also a kind of residential flat system in a single house,” points out an official of the Srinagar Development Authority (SDA).

“When the Jammu and Kashmir Housing Board, a semi-government autonomous body providing housing to the needy, came forward with the first cluster of residential flats at Bagh-e-Mahtab, a suburb of Srinagar, it was sceptical on the public response,” Aftab Ahmad, an official of the Housing Board recalls. “But the response was tremendous,” he says.

The fast growing trend for residential flats has shown the way to the Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) to develop more such clusters wherever the land is available. It has set up Gulposh Apartments and also plans to set up another cluster of over 300 flats in near future.

Top

 

Seeking rebate for two houses

Q. I am a Punjab Govt. employee posted at Chandigarh. I have taken house building advance (HBA) for two properties at different places. Please advice on the rebate of interest. The details is as under:

(i) I sought HBA of Rs 1.25 lakh from the Punjab Government recoverable in 125 instalments @ Rs 1,000 from my salary. As per the government rules, the amount of interest is recoverable after the amount of principal is recovered. The principal amount since repaid, the interest is being paid. During 2005-06, the DDO disallowed the rebate of interest of Rs 12,000 on HBA taken for the property located at my native village in Punjab, which is kept locked.

(ii) However, rebate of interest (nearly Rs 15,500) on HBA from bank for self-occupied house is being extended to me.

Please advise me whether I can avail rebate of interest on HBAs taken for both properties located at different places (self-occupied and another kept locked).

— Om Prakash, Panchkula

A. In accordance with the provisions of the Section 24 of the Act, you are entitled to a deduction of the interest payable on the amount borrowed for the purposes of acquiring or constructing a house property.

The deduction is allowable not only in respect of self-occupied house but also in respect of a house which cannot be occupied by the owner by reason of the fact that owing to his employment at any other place, he has to reside at that other place in a building not belonging to him. The details given by you in your query clearly indicates that you are occupying your own house at a place of your employment and, therefore, in accordance with the provision of the aforesaid section you are entitled to a deduction in respect of amount borrowed for the purposes of construction of your self-occupied house only. The action taken by the DDO is, therefore, correct.

Tax liability

Q. I am a pensioner and have received Rs 1,20,000 during the current financial year. I have paid Rs 64,104 towards housing building loan repayment, as under -

Principal Rs 37,895

Interest Rs 26,209

Kindly compute my tax liability.

— Manohar Singh, Gurgaon

A. The amount repaid towards the principal amount i.e. Rs 37,895 shall be deductible from your pension income. The interest of Rs 26,209 is deductible from the income from house property of which no details have been given by you. In absence thereof, it is not possible to compute your tax liability.

Capital gain

Booked flat in joint name of Mrs Anne Bhardwaj + Arpita Saraswat (daughter) on February 22, 2006: Rs 18,37,000

Since more than capital gain is invested within a week, do give your valuable advise regarding tax, if at all is to be paid and how much. Secondly, can declaration be given along the tax return on plain paper or else does she have to fill Form 34A.

— Dr N.N. Bhardwaj, Manimajra, Chandigarh

A. On the basis of details given by you, it is presumed that the registration charges in connection with the sale of plot have been borne by you. If so, the registration charges and the commission paid for the selling of the plot will be deductible from the sale price of the plot. Thus, the net consideration would work out at Rs 22,43,340. The inclusion of the fine paid for not constructing the house within the prescribed time limit is not deductible from the sale price as it cannot be classified as an expenditure incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of sale. It may also be difficult to argue that it is a cost of improvement such fine as the courts have held that the word “improve” has various shades of meaning and includes everything by doing which there is an enhancement in the value of the asset or there is a rise in its price or the asset is made to grow better or it is even followed by something better (196 ITR 939) (Madras). In my opinion the amount of Rs 60,985 can neither be claimed as expenditure incurred on improvement nor can be claimed as deduction from the sale price for not being an expenditure incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the sale of the plot. Accordingly, the capital gain should be Rs.9,99,502 (Rs 9,38,517 + Rs 60,985).

Section 54F of the IT Act, 1961, (the Act), provides that where a long-term capital gain arises from the transfer of a long-term capital asset, and the assessee has within a period of one year before or two years after the date on which the transfer took place purchased, or has within a period of three years after that date constructed, a residential house, the capital gain shall not be charged to tax if the capital gain is equal to or less than the cost of such residential house.

In view of the above provisions of the Act, the investment by way of booking of flat alone would not be sufficient. It would be essential to ensure that the purchase of a flat for residential purposes and that such residential flat is acquired within a period of two years of the date of sale. You will also have to ensure that the acquisition is in the name of the ‘assessee’ i.e. in the name of the same person who were the owners of the long term capital asset which has been transferred on February 17, 2006. The fact that the amount of Rs 18,37,000 has been paid for the acquisition of a residential flat should be indicated by way of a note in the return/statement of assessment income. In case the requirements as specified hereinabove are complied with, the exemption from the taxability of Rs 9,99,502 should also be claimed by way of a note in the return/statement of assessable income.

PUDA plot

Q. I purchased a plot from PUDA for Rs 4 lakh. I have paid Rs 61,000 as interest on instalments. I have incurred other expenses like water connection, sewerage connection, electricity connection, house plan sanction, sales deed etc, which amounts to Rs 70,000 (approx). I have spent Rs 6,50,000 for the construction of house on this plot, out of which Rs 4 lakh has been taken from the bank as housing loan. Kindly tell me:

(a) Which type of expense may be included to arrive at the tax liability and what documents would be needed for the same?

(b) If I sell this house (for Rs 18 lakh) in 2005-06, what would be my tax liability? My annual income is Rs 2 lakh and my annual housing loan instalment is Rs 55,200, including Rs 30,000 as interest payment. Also, my other savings under Section 80C are Rs 50,000. Kindly give the complete procedure and the documents needed to file income-tax return for this purpose.

— Neeraj Sharma, Phagwara

A. (a) The interest paid for the purchase of plot will be added to the cost of the plot. The other expenditure incurred during construction period for water connection etc. shall be part of your cost of construction of the house which would thus be taken at Rs.7,20,000. You should obtain a report of a registered valuer certifying the cost of construction of the house constructed by you. This would be helpful in proving the cost of construction of the house for house tax as well as for income tax purposes. The cost estimates prepared by a registered valuer should be equal to or less than the amount spent by you.

(b) You have not indicated the year and the date of purchase of your plot and the year and date of construction of the house. It is, therefore, not possible to ascertain whether the capital gain earned on the sale of your house would be a short-term capital gain or a long term one.

HOME PAGE

Top