Value & Budget Housing Corporation launch affordable homes in Chennai

BANGALORE: Value & Budget Housing Corporation (VBHC) has launched VBHC Vaibhava, its maiden project in Oragadam, Chennai, spread over 30 acres of land.

The proposed project is well connected to the industrial hubs of Sriperambudur and Oragadam and will be completed in two phases. The first phase will have 148 apartments of 2BHK each, costing Rs 16.6 lakh for 792 sq ft apartments, expected to be completed in 20 months.

"Oragadam along with Sriperambudur have seen major investments from leading MNCs in recent times and the opportunities here are immense," P. S. Jayakumar, Managing Director, VBHC.

Industrially, the Oragadam-Sriperambudur belt is rich with existing and upcoming big companies like Daimler, Renault - Nissan, Komatsu, , Dell, St. Gobain, Foxconn and Flextronics. Additionally, the Tamil Nadu government is also proposing to build a Rs 300 crore Oragadam Industrial Corridor Road.

VBHC is currently developing 1,904 apartments over 16 acres priced between Rs 4.5 lakh and 10 lakh in Bangalore. It also plans to roll out similar projects in the National Capital Region, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

The company has earlier raised $26 million or Rs 100 crore from Carlyle Group to construct new projects and purchase additional land. VBHC formed by P.S. Jayakumar and Jerry Rao, former Citibankers, aims to develop a million affordable homes across 10 cities in the country.

So far, VBHC has raised Rs 190 crore including Carlyle Group's investment. Earlier it has raised money from Housing Development Finance Corp and India Financial Inclusion Fund. The budget housing company has also raised undisclosed sum from Bessemer Venture Partners for housing finance start-up, jointly promoted by Rao and Jayakumar.

Value & Budget Housing Corporation launch affordable homes in Chennai - The Economic Times
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  • Ozone announces luxurious project 'The Gardenia'

    CHENNAI: Infrastructure developer Ozonegroup announced its luxurious project " The Gardenia" coming up at Anna Nagar in city. The multi-storey luxurious apartment, houses 32 exclusive four bedroom of size 3,640 square foot. Each apartment is fitted with modular kitchen, furniture and vertical gardens, Chennai-headquartered Ozonegroup said in a statement.

    Some of the recreational facilities located inside the apartment include gym, spa, swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna and steam rooms.

    Besides, it also offers a tripe basement car parking, multi-level security system and a centralised air-conditioning system to each apartment, it said.

    The Ozonegroup is currently engaged in various projects including its affordable housing project "Evergreens", "Ozone Urbana" in Bangalore, Metrozone in Chennai and island development near Goa,it added.

    Ozone announces luxurious project 'The Gardenia' - The Economic Times
  • Realty company RWD to expand in Tamil Nadu

    CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu-based realty company RWD, which is a 50:50 joint venture between Ramky and Wavoo Developers, has lined up new projects as part of its expansion plans in Tamil Nadu in the realty space. Multi-sector player Ramky group had tied up with Wavoo Developers six years ago to form the joint venture Ramky Wavoo Developers, or RWD.

    RWD managing director Habib WS said the company expected to achieve a topline of Rs 120 crore this year. "The joint venture will help us achieve Rs 250 crore topline the following year, and we are targeting a turnover of Rs 500 crore by 2015", he said.

    The joint venture company's latest project is a Rs 120-crore commercial and residential apartment in Chennai, and the company is looking at more expansion in other parts of Tamil Nadu including Coimbatore and other tier-II cities, officials said. Commenting on the reported sluggishness in the realty market, Habib said the Chennai realty sector had outperformed most other markets in increase in asset value, and that rising disposable incomes and a rapidly rising middle class hinted at strong demand for residential property in Chennai.

    Realty company RWD to expand in Tamil Nadu - The Economic Times
  • Office space absorption falls in Chennai

    CHENNAI: A looming slowdown in the IT sector and the economic uncertainty have sent absorption levels of commercial real estate space in the city into a tailspin.

    Chennai saw lease transactions for nearly 1.8 million square feet in the January-June period as against the 2 million square feet it had absorbed in the same period last year. This is a fall of around 12%, while nationally, the decline was 21%.

    Office space absorption across key metro cities in the country in the first half of 2012 fell to 13.4 million square feet against 16.9 million square feet in the same period a year ago, a report from real estate consultancy firm Cushman & Wakefield said.

    Bangalore witnessed the highest absorption of office space in the first six months, of 3.01 million square feet. The city registered a 46% decline in absorption over the same period last year. The National Capital Region saw the highest decline in office space absorption of 53%, but Mumbai and Hyderabad bucked the trend, registering 19% and 5% increase, respectively.

    "Businesses are on a wait-and-watch mode. They are waiting for some positive triggers to conclude transactions," S Ramaswamy, senior consultant at real estate consultancy RECS Group said.

    Prominent developer of commercial and residential space, Arihant Foundation's CMD Kamal Lunawath said enquiries for space was strong, but there exists some difficulty in conversions.

    The slowdown in offtake had its impact on rentals in suburban areas. "Peripheral areas like Sholinganallur, Ambattur and beyond GST witnessed a slight drop in rentals," N Hariharan, office director, Cushman & Wakefield, said. "But, there are a lot of enquiries for transactions. We hope the second half will be good and we may end the year with absorpotion levels same as 2011."

    Rentals in the Central Business District (CBD), (areas in 5 km radius around Gemini Flyover) have shot up 10%. "There is very strong demand for office space in CBD and off CBD areas. In some areas like Greams Road, there is a 10% increase in rentals," Hariharan said.

    Office space absorption falls in Chennai - The Times of India
  • Now, DMDK MLA held for ‘land-grab’

    Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government’s drive against land-grabbers that cornered the DMK has now netted an MLA belonging to the DMDK, the ally-turned-foe of the ruling AIADMK. This is the first time an MLA of the party is being arrested, prompting its founder-leader Vijayakant to allege that this was an act of political vendetta by the AIADMK leadership.

    Police picked up Arun Subramanian, the MLA representing Tiruttani in the neighbouring Thiruvallur district, from his residence early on Wednesday over allegations that he usurped over 4,000 sq ft of land. He was later arrested and produced before a local court which remanded him in judicial custody for 15 days.

    Officials said they received complaints from Irular Sangam, an organisation representing a tribal Irula community, which charged the MLA of taking possession of the municipal land illegally and constructing a compound wall around it. This prevented free movement of the people living in the neighbourhood. Thereafter, the District Collector ordered a probe which apparently confirmed the allegation leading to a complaint being filed and subsequent police action on Wednesday.

    Opposition and DMDK leader Vijayakant claimed that the case against the MLA was foisted as part of a vendetta by the AIADMK against political opponents.

    The drive against land-grabbers was initiated by the J Jayalalithaa government after coming to power in May 2011 — a move that primarily targeted the DMK.

    Now, DMDK MLA held for ‘land-grab’
  • Metro rail plans to ply a train every 2.5 minutes

    CHENNAI: A gleaming stainless steel train will roll into a station every four-and-a-half minutes when the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) project is inaugurated in a couple of years. But officials are hoping to up the frequency to one train every two minutes 30 seconds once footfalls reach six lakh passengers a day.

    "Initially, we will operate four-car trains every four minutes 30 seconds during peak hours along the Washermanpet-Chennai airport and Chennai Central-St Thomas Mount stretches," said a senior metro official. Peak hour frequency will be raised once patronage picks up, hopefully in the next ten years.

    By then, Chennai would catch up with Delhi Metro Rail in terms of frequency of services. CMRL will also try to match Delhi on carriage capacity.

    Delhi metro carries an average 1,500 passengers in a four-car standard gauge train while Chennai is hoping to accommodate 1,276 commuters on a similar train. Bangalore Metro Rail currently transports nearly 1,000 passengers in a three-car train.

    The first set of these locally made coaches for Chennai Metro will be ready by January 2014 at French multinational Alstom's plant at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh, 55 kms from Chennai. The plant will be commissioned by September this year, said Henri Poupart-Lafarge, president of Alstom Transport. "We decided to build a plant because we wanted to be close to our client. Also, it would serve our other clients in Asia," said Lafarge.

    Alstom is slated to supply 168 stainless steel coaches to Chennai Metro, with which it had signed a Rs 1471.3 crore contract. The first set of coaches, that were made at the company's plant in Brazil will reach Chennai by March 2013, said a CMRL official.

    The stainless steel coaches for Chennai will be air-conditioned and have automatic sliding doors.

    "The coaches are similar to Delhi Metro with a unique feature of platform screen door for underground stations which is not there in other metros," said Jojo Alexander, managing director of Alstom Transport, India. It will also have special class coaches with cushioned seats and reserved class for women passengers. Space for wheelchairs, emergency passenger exits, passenger-driver communication system, closed circuit television, route maps in English and Tamil and reduced noise levels are some of the other features.

    The consortium of Alstom and Larsen & Toubro has also started on the track work for CMRL. The first stage of track installation work will be completed in 2013 and will become operational in early 2014. "Alstom's Coimbatore manufacturing Unit will be providing the traction elements for Chennai," said Alexander.

    The company will invest 30 million euros to develop the Sri City plant, which will eventually become the hub for their business in India and Asia. The Sri City plant, spread over 150 acres, is part of the transport giant's expansion plan in the growing rail market in India and Asia.

    "When we were awarded the CMRL contract, we knew our factory wouldn't be ready with the first set of trains. That is why we are getting them from our Brazil plant that uses the same technology," said Thibault Desteract, vice-president, commercial, Alstom Transport.

    Metro rail plans to ply a train every 2.5 minutes - The Times of India
  • Clean-up of Chennai rivers to begin, Rs 300cr allotted

    CHENNAI: The long anticipated cleaning of waterways in the city may begin soon. Chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday announced the allocation of Rs 300 crore for effluent treatment and other related works that would be carried out to check pollution of key water bodies across the city. The work mainly involves plugging the sewage outlets and strengthening the city's sewage network.

    The amount will be spent for sewage and effluent treatment activities on 337 locations in Cooum and Adyar rivers and Buckingham canal, an official release said. "We have identified 105 outfalls in Cooum river, 49 in Adyar river and 183 in Buckingham canal," said a metro water official.

    The initial allotment of 150 crore would be given to the Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewage Board in installments for laying pipes and setting up and upgrading pumping stations, Jayalalithaa said. Metrowater officials were optimistic and said they expected to finish the work in 18 months.

    "The key work would be to upgrade old sewage lines that were built during the British era," said the official.

    "Many sewage pipelines are too narrow to cope with the current load and so leak into the storm water drain network, which in turn is connected to the river bodies. Besides, the British administration had themselves connected many manholes directly to river outlets to cope with system overload. All these will have to be changed," he said.

    "Pump stations too are old and need to be revamped," he said. "Once we plug the outlets, we need better pumping facilities to prevent system overload." Once the stations are revamped, sewage lines will be enlarged from six inches to nine inches. "This will reduce leakage into storm water drains. We will also plug the link areas and the direct lines to the water bodies. Upgrading the pumping stations and the main lines will take nine months."

    In low-lying areas, where the flow of sewage is not normal, Metrowater plans to set up new pumping stations. "We have been working on this for a year and already identified lands to set the stations up," he said.

    Clean-up of Chennai rivers to begin, Rs 300cr allotted - The Times of India
  • Monorail issues tenders for consultant

    CHENNAI: The Metropolitan Transport Corporation on Thursday called for consultants to help the corporation prepare a manual for the design and functioning of the proposed monorail in the city.

    The consultant will prepare a 'manual of specification and standards' for the monorail project which will be executed by the company selected for the construction. August 8 is the last date for submission of bids.

    The first bid for the monorail project was announced on December 1, 2011 for companies or consortia to build the system. The project is expected to be completed within two years of choosing the company.

    The consultants to prepare the manual must have experience in providing concept design or feasibility study for at least one project in the last three years which has a mimimum carrying capacity of 8,000 passengers per hour per direction. The assignment should have been completed with a minimum budget of Rs 2,500 crore.

    Monorail issues tenders for consultant - The Times of India
  • With an eye on safe localities, residents install CCTV cams

    CHENNAI: In many city neighbourhoods, residents are taking it upon themselves to ensure the locality remains safe and secure. While some pool in money to install surveillance cameras, others approach police requesting regular beat patrolling at night.

    Residents of Anna Nagar Western Extension, for instance, recently collected 10 lakh to install 14 CCTV cameras, including six speed dome cameras, in their locality. Police say many residents' welfare associations in other areas have installed similar systems.

    "In Anna Nagar district alone, CCTVs have been installed in 40 places, including Thirumangalam, J J Nagar, Vasantham colony, Thendral colony and Villivakkam," says deputy commissioner of police Prem Anand Sinha.

    He says no official permission is required to install surveillance cameras in residential areas. "We have regularly conducted meetings and urged residential welfare associations to keep their places safe. Installing these cameras would definitely help," he says.

    In Srinagar Colony, CCTV cameras were put up at the entrance six months ago. "We decided to have four cameras after a robbery in the locality," says RSS Manian, secretary, Srinagar Colony board of trustees. "We approached police and they advised us to install the cameras. We have also set up a security booth in the colony."

    In Ambattur, 15 welfare associations installed CCTVs in Mangadu, Porur, Poonamallee and Thirumullaivoyal. In areas like Virugambakkam, Valasaravakkam and T Nagar, 18 cameras have been installed.

    The live monitoring is done by the residents and the footage is retained for a month to help police investigations. Additional commissioner of police (law and order) P Thamaraikannan said: "Police have solved many cases with the help of CCTV cameras."

    About 12 years ago, when many houses were broken into, the Kalakshetra Residents Welfare Association sought special police beat patrolling at night. Two policemen patrol the colony from 2am to 5am. Many residents who live in individual houses inform police when they are going out of town so that police can keep an eye on the place.

    People of KK Nagar came up with an innovative solution two years ago — installing gates at various streets.

    The gates, manned by a watchman, are kept locked from 11pm to 4.30am. "It has definitely helped keep the place safe and secure," says Federation of KK Nagar Residents Welfare Association president Vairasekar.

    With an eye on safe localities, residents install CCTV cams - The Times of India
  • Developers focussing on amenities to attract Chennai buyers: JLL

    MUMBAI: In order to attract home-buyers in Chennai, who are seen as conservative, developers are planning several township projects with a host of amenities in the coming months, says a report released by property consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle India.

    "There has, so far, been no scope for the growth of large-sized township projects within the city. Chennaites had been showing an unyielding preference towards living within the CBD because of the dearth of good schools, convenience stores, entertainment and restaurants in other areas," said Badal Yagnik, managing director, Chennai & Coimbatore, Jones Lang LaSalle India. "Developers had been more than happy to construct projects of 12-30 units with limited or no amenities, little or no green cover and extremely restricted open spaces."

    However, things are set to change in the coming months. "In the coming months, Chennai will see a major change in this aspect, with a string of township projects by developers of national stature under execution and nearing completion," he added.

    The new 'game-changers' include generous landscaping, serene environment, schools within the campus, big club houses, health club facilities for both indoor and outdoor sports, multiplexes in the vicinity, health care, restaurants and large swimming pools, states the study.

    "As a result, community living in the true sense is finally going to emerge in Chennai. We anticipate that once these large projects are fully executed, we will see a decisive forward momentum in the concept of large, well-equipped residential communities in Chennai," said Yagnik.

    Developers focussing on amenities to attract Chennai buyers: JLL - The Economic Times
  • Mass Rapid Transit System, Metro path map is now part of app

    The city's Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) and suburban rail network have joined Metropolitan Transport Corporation and transport utilities in 500 cities across the world whose routes and timings are available on Google Maps for Android phones. The integrated data on buses and trains makes the application a comprehensive guide for commuters in the city.

    Google Maps has public transportation schedules for more than one million transit stops worldwide, in nearly 500 cities, including New York, London, Tokyo and Sydney, according to Google's official blog. Chennai's MRTS and suburban train schedules are available on the latest version of Google Maps, an app that allows users to pack every path, every road, rail track, river and sea in the world into less than 20MB of a cellphone's storage space — around the same space needed to store five MP3 songs.

    The new facility on Google Maps does not offer real time information on transportation services in Chennai because trains have not installed Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. But the app provides personalised information that should make it a breeze to travel around Chennai by its railroad network — even for complete strangers to Chennai. A user only needs to key in his destination and preferred mode of transport. It offers directions to the closest railway station and departure timings of the trains from that station, the number of halts on the route with their names in a separate drop down box and the time the journey will take.

    "We've made some changes to the Transit Lines layer, so you can select a specific mode of public transportation to display on the map while the other modes remain hidden," Google's blog says. "This is helpful in areas where there is a tight concentration of several types of public transit." The app integrates MRTS and suburban rail routes so a user travelling from, say, Chepauk to Pallavaram will be informed that he will have to make a transfer at Chennai Fort where the routes converge.

    Experts say the hitch in providing real time information is primarily because transportation utilities are yet to fulfil their promise to equip all buses and trains with GPS devices. Sites like, latlong. com and also stand to benefit from public transport being GPS-enabled. MTC had in 2009 announced that its buses would all soon have GPS devices, but only 550 of the corporation's 3,500 buses now have GPS devices.

    Three years ago, Google approached MTC for real time information from their GPS devices. Google was keen to sign a memorandum of understanding with MTC, but the proposal fell through. Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune's transport services are also on Google Maps.

    Mass Rapid Transit System, Metro path map is now part of mobile app - The Times of India
  • NE exodus may hit construction sector

    CHENNAI: Builders and real estate contractors may soon feel the heat of the recent exodus of labourers from the northeast from Chennai. Industry sources feel that lack of adequate labour force would have a detrimental effect on the construction sector in the months to come. Going by the estimates of police and railway authorities, more than 10,000 migrant workers from the northeast have left Tamil Nadu in the past four days, following rumours of attacks on them.

    Builders expressed concern over the development as the construction industry is already facing a shortage of about 30% in the labour force. A city-based builder said the exodus could increase the labour shortfall by another 10-15%. "Next two months are festival season. During this time, every year, workers take one or two months leave. So the immediate absence of labourers will not affect our scheduled deadlines for completion of projects. We had factored in such shortage during festival season. But if the workers who are still available in the state start moving out, things could get really worse," he said.

    While the labour department estimates that there are 2 lakh migrant labourers in the state, non-governmental organisations say it is about 10 lakh.

    Of the overall population of migrant workers in Tamil Nadu, a leading builder said, the northeast workers comprise a minor share compared to those from West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha. It is so, primarily because most of those who come from the northeast are unskilled workers. They often work as helpers in the construction sector. Labour sub-contractors engage them at a salary much lower than what a local worker is paid.

    T Chitty Babu, managing director of Akshaya Homes, said the exodus had not made any sudden impact on the sector. "In our last labour audit on Saturday, it was found that a few workers had gone. But it is not a sizeable number to affect any of our ongoing projects. A crisis will come only if those who have left do not return," he said.

    "People from Assam and other northeastern states are scattered in different industries and sectors all over the state," said R Geetha, a leading activist among migrant workers in the state. She said the northeast workers were the most socially insecure lot compared to those from West Bengal or Odisha. "The government agencies should take immediate measures to keep them," she said.

    Another city-based builder, Prakash Challa, managing director of SSPDL, too felt the impact would be felt if the workers do not return in the next two months. "We cannot estimate the impact at this stage. But it is a fact that the construction industry is dependent on migrant labourers from the northeast to a large extent," he said.

    NE exodus may hit construction sector - The Times of India
  • Village heads flay building restrictions at Vedanthangal

    CHENNAI: Residents and heads of 68 villages around the Vedanthangal bird sanctuary have decided to rally against the forest department's ban on construction within a five kilometre radius of the sanctuary.

    At a meeting of the action committee at Vedanthangal on Sunday, it was decided that they would block roads, give up voter identity cards and ration cards and hoist black flags at houses to protest against the freeze on construction.

    The committee comprising village heads passed a resolution, pledging to fight the restriction, at the meeting attended by a few thousand residents from neighbouring villages.

    "There is no clear idea about the restrictions itself. Further, it will block development works, including construction of hospital, school and community centres," said S Vijayakumar, president of Vellaputhur panchayat.

    On August 5, the state forest department organised a meeting where officials explained to residents, elected representatives about the restrictions on new constructions and repair of existing structures that come under the 5km range of Vedanthangal and Karikili sanctuaries.

    The restrictions are based on the numerous orders passed by the Supreme Court over the years and the National Board for Wildlife's instructions that prohibit non-forest activities in areas around sanctuaries in the country. Reports on large-scale real estate ventures around bird sanctuaries at Vedanthangal, Pulicat and Karikili made forest officials to intensify their surveillance and ban constructions in buffer area.

    Village heads flay building restrictions at Vedanthangal - The Times of India
  • Realty firm for seniors to complete Rs 500 cr project in 3 yrs

    Chennai: A real estate firm focusing on constructing dwellings for retired senior citizens in south India expects to complete Rs 500 crore worth of projects in three years.

    The demand for retirement villas and apartments have been growing consistently over the last two years, Covai Senior Care Constructions, Director (Finance and Strategy) P B Anand said.

    "Currently we are executing seven projects across South India valued at Rs 500 crore. We expect it to be completed in another three years," he said.

    The Coimbatore-based firm is in the final stages of its Rs 50 crore fund raising plan, he said.

    "We have investments of Rs 25 crore as equity from an investor based out of United States. We raised another Rs 25 crore through debts. Currently, we are in the fag of it (fund raising plan)" Covai Senior Care Constructions, Director (Finance and Strategy) Anand said.

    He said the company is currently doing projects in Bangalore, Chennai, Puducherry and Coimbatore besides planning another project in Kancheepuram.

    The company reported revenues of Rs 60 crore in 2011-12 fiscal and aims to register Rs 100 crore this year, he said.

    Anand and Covai Senior Care Constructions Managing Director Colonel A Sridharan were here to announce their upcoming two projects at Puducherry and at Sulur near Coimbatore, both of which are retirment villas and apartments.

    Realty firm for seniors to complete Rs 500 cr project in 3 yrs
  • Furious residents give up on authorities, lay their own roads

    CHENNAI: Citizens from a handful of areas in the city have set an example by taking matters into their own hands, by laying their own road. Hundreds of complaints are being filed by residents about bad roads in both the earlier limits of the corporation and in the extended areas, with little being done to rectify this issue.
    The residents of Nolambur, who moved into the fast developing locality in 2006, ran from pillar to post trying to get authorities to lay the Sri Ram Nagar main road, which is the only route connecting the apartment complexes to Bharathi Salai, a main road in West Mogappair.

    "None of the office we approached including the Panchayat Head and collector could not take any action because the road was caught in a legal wrangle," said G Suresh, Federation of Nolambur Residents Associations ( FONRA) president. In October 2011, the residents decided to lay the road themselves, by hiring a few road workers and pooling in the funds themselves.

    "Seven associations contributed close to Rs 67,000 totally," he said. This action helped in sending out a strong message to the government. However, this is not the first such incident. Many years ago, the Jai Nagar residents association who are based just off Koyambedu, also made a similar attempt to lay a road connecting Jai Nagar to the arterial Inner Ring road.

    "Knowing that it takes time, we hired a person, to lay a motorable passage," says Chandramohan, the president of the association.

    A road becomes a 'private road' when the developers do not surrender the road to the corporation. T C A Vijay Ananth, a resident of Kanakasri Nagar said, "Once we know it is a private road, it is understood that the maintenance is our responsibility."

    Furious residents give up on authorities, lay their own roads - The Times of India