Your Mumbai commute is set to get smoother as Metro network takes shape, 2 lines approved

The cabinet approved the Swami Samarth Nagar-Jogeshwari-Kanjurmarg (Metro-6) corridor — the second connecting Mumbai’s east and west

The cabinet approved the Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan (Metro-5) corridor, which will be the first to connect growing urban centres in the MMR.

Your commute is about to get a lot smoother. The Maharashtra cabinet has approved the construction of two Metro corridors in the city on Tuesday, boosting the city’s poor east-west connectivity and inter-connectivity in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

The cabinet approved the Swami Samarth Nagar-Jogeshwari-Kanjurmarg (Metro-6) corridor — the second connecting the city’s east and west, following the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor (Metro-1). Most Metro lines proposed run along the city’s north-south axis.

With regard to roads, the city’s eastern and western suburbs are connected by the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR), the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR) and the Andheri-Ghatkopar Link Road. At peak hours, there are massive traffic snarls on all three. According to the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), the Metro-6 will run along the JVLR with 13 stations along the 14.5-km long route. It is expected to reduce pressure on local trains and cater to people travelling from the western suburbs to the east via Dadar. Officials expect a significant number of motorists to use this line, reducing traffic on the roads.

The line will also have interchanges with the Metro-2A (Dahisar-DN Nagar), Metro-4 (Wadala-Kasarvadavali) and Metro-7 (Andheri East-Dahisar East).

“Today, if a person has to travel from Lokhandwala to Vikhroli, he has to change lines at Dadar. The Metro-6 will provide hassle-free, single-line connectivity. This corridor has huge potential. We expect 6.5 lakh passengers in 2021,” said Pravin Darade, additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA.

The cabinet also approved the Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan (Metro-5) corridor, which will be the first to connect growing urban centres in the MMR. The 24-km-long Metro line will have 17 stations, expected to cater to 2.29 lakh passengers by 2021. With real estate prices skyrocketing in Mumbai and Thane, people have started shifting to far-flung areas in MMR, which necessitated the needed for connectivity to Mumbai. “We are also looking at extending the Metro-5 line till Wadala and then GPO in south Mumbai, which will boost travel from metropolitan regions to Mumbai,” Darade added.

Experts are, however, still sceptical about how this huge investment will fare. “These projects have come far too late. Not much thought has been given to how these lines will connect to other modes of transport. Just as Mumbai had a spurt of flyovers once, there are too many Metros,” said Sulakshana Mahajan, transport expert.

Source – Hindustan Times

Mumbai’s first AC train will run from January 1


The Railways finally has a date to start running the first air-conditioned (AC) train in Mumbai. Union railway minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday announced the train will be operational from January 1.

Addressing the media in New Delhi on Wednesday, Goyal said the trials of the AC train are going on successfully and the local train services will be operational from January 2018. The train will run on the Churchgate-Borivli route of Western Railway (WR). Its fare is planned on the Delhi Metro fare structure, but its details are still being worked out.

“Trials of the AC local train are in the final stage and the approval of the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) is expected by the end of this year,” said Ravinder Bhakar, chief public relations officer, WR.

The AC local train for the city was first announced in the 2012-2013 railway budget, but it actually arrived in Mumbai only in April 2016. Initially, it was supposed to run on Central Railway. It was then parked in a Kurla carshed for months. It had software issues in the beginning and a series of tests and trials were conducted.

Post the trials, CR officials were supposedly reluctant to operate it on their tracks citing technical problems. The train was then handed over to WR for operation on their route.

Interestingly, this is not the first time a deadline for the operation of an AC local train has been given. Earlier, railway board member Ravinder Gupta had stated that the AC local train would start operating by September this year. However, the deadline was missed owing to a series of technical complications in the rake.

Source – Hindustan Times


Lukhi, 50, is one of the three partners at Kashimira Ceramic Products LLP, which had been promoting a high-rise project in Mira Road’s Kashmira locality. Tanvi Eminence, which promised 500 apartments, was started in 2010, but the construction stopped in 2013 because of a financial row between the partners.

There has been no progress since and the home buyers, who have paid 85 per cent of the property cost, fear they will lose all their money. Recently, they named Lukhi, diamond trader Dahyabhai Sutaria and advocate Vijaykumar Hegdes wife, Sangeeta, in a cheating complaint. It is one of the biggest such cases, Mirror had reported on October 6.

Senior inspector Venkat Andhale of Local Crime Branch, Thane (Rural), confirmed the first arrest in the probe. “We had specific information that Lukhi was going to fly to Belgium tomorrow (Tuesday). He has a house in Belgium. As there was an apprehension he may flee, we intercepted his car at BKC and placed him under arrest,” Andhale said. “He will be produced in a Thane court.”

Source – Mumbai Mirror

Could GST make your dream home a reality?

Potential home buyers could be in for a treat post the GST rollout. So, what does the one-tax regime bring with it?

 IT executive Ashwin Chandra has been toying with the idea of buying a new house in Mumbai. He had checked out several under-construction projects, and even spoke to the developers, but was not entirely convinced if it would be a good idea to dive in now. Buying a property of his own will be a dream-come-true for Ashwin. But he is worried about a few other things. For starters, now that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been rolled out, is it wise to invest in a property after July?

Ashwin’s dilemma is a reflection of what most homebuyers have been going through for some time. Demonetisation had set the property prices crashing. Now GST is touted as the biggest indirect tax reform in independent India. But nobody is certain whether this will be good for the real estate sector. Of course, more clarity will appear once the GST rollout is complete. There are certain indicators that foretell advantages for homebuyers. Yet, there are factors that can be worrisome. Let us see what the deciding factors could be.

What does anti-profiteering mean in relation to GST?

GST at 12%
GST on under construction and newly constructed properties that have not received the Certificate of Occupancy (OC) or completion certificate is 12%, which is much more than the 4.5% service tax that was previously applicable. An OC is a document that is issued after the completion of construction by a local government agency or planning authority and serves as proof of the building compliance and associated laws.

Does this mean it will contribute to higher property prices? The answer is not a definitive ‘No’. This is because GST will subsume six existing taxes, including the likes of raw material and excise, entry tax and Value Added Tax (VAT), which is often beyond 12%.  However, ready-to-move-in properties are not under the ambit of GST. This has fuelled the belief that homebuyers will prefer to buy new properties.

A homebuyer, at present, must pay almost 11% in indirect taxes. For instance, VAT on the construction materials ranges from 12 to 14%. This will now be replaced with GST of 12%. The cumulative tax burden is borne by the customer, who pays a higher price for property. However, under GST, the cascading effect of half a dozen taxes is likely to reduce, ultimately benefitting customers.

Related: With GST ready to roll out this July, what does it mean for you?

This benefit, however, may be offset with the hike in cement prices. Critical to any housing project, cement will fall under the 28% GST slab. This remains a big detriment for the housing sector, as it is likely to increase property prices. Moreover, material like ceramic tiles, paints, wall fittings etc. may become more expensive as they now carry a GST of 28%, as opposed to the previous tax rate of 20-25%.

ITC as incentive for under-construction projects
Homebuyers are also likely to benefit from the Input Tax Credit (ITC), another tax that the government has announced. Builder can claim a refund for excise duty and other central taxes paid on construction material. By government directive, they must pass on the benefits to consumers. For homebuyers, this means reduced prices of properties and instalments. Note that this benefit accrues only for under-construction properties, and developers feel that the benefits will be marginal for homebuyers.

What will not change?
Presently, homebuyers pay stamp duty to get their property registered. This is typically 6-8% of the price of the property, and varies from one state to another. This amount goes into the state government’s coffers. This probably explains why states shot down the proposal to replace stamp duty with GST. Post GST, there will be no change to this cost, and homebuyer will have to pay the stamp duty.

Other government measures
It remains to be seen if the rollout of GST will benefit homebuyers. The real estate industry has been going through a churn since demonetisation, which set realty prices crashing.

Soon after, the government introduced the Real Estate Regulatory (Regulation and Development) Act, which made it mandatory for builders to register with the regulator. Under RERA, builders must disclose the size of the apartment based on carpet area. For ongoing projects, yet to receive a completion certificate, the promoter needs a separate account. The builder must deposit 70% of the money collected from homebuyers in this account. This must be done within three months of application for registration. The government wants to prevent diversion of funds to other projects belonging to builders, thus ensuring timely delivery.

Meanwhile, the rollout of GST is expected to further streamline the realty sector. The aim is to discourage purchase from unregistered dealers. So, the government has imposed a reverse charge on the recipient. This adds to the compliance cost of the purchaser.

Related: Home buying mistakes to avoid [gifographic]

The bottom-line
It remains to be seen if the rollout of GST will actually benefit homebuyers. Given the massive scale, initial hiccups are likely to crop up in the first few months, at least. On the face of it, property prices in metro cities might shoot up. Remember, homebuyers could pay 17-18% in taxes (12% GST plus stamp duty), which is a significant increase from the present 11-18%. But builders could pass on the benefits of ITC to customers. Or, at least, the government directive requires them to do so. There is little doubt that GST will bring more accountability to the real estate sector, and will provide a traceable trail of money. Thus, homebuyers can hope that the government will make the property buying process much easier and hopefully, a little lighter on the wallet as well.

Source – Mumbai Mirror