June 22nd, 2021
The Covid-induced lockdown has hit the Ghaziabad Development Authority’s (GDA) coffers hard — for instance, its revenue from online map approvals has dipped to Rs 1.5cr a month in the first two months of the current financial year from an average of Rs 7cr over the last quarter of the previous fiscal.
Against a target of approving 120 online maps a month, GDA has approved only half — 60 — on an average during the lockdown period of April and May. These are mostly smaller plots measuring 250sqm to 300sqm, while maps for bigger plots are not being submitted. While GDA officials blame the subdued market sentiments for the slump in revenue, builders attribute it to the cumbersome process too.
“Online map approval is a major source of income for GDA, but revenue has taken a hit due to pandemic and if we compare data of January, February and March with April and May, it has come down to just Rs 1.5 crore a month from over Rs 7 crore,” said Asheesh Shivpuri, chief architect and town planner, GDA. “In April and May, we managed to approve just 60 maps each month from the earlier 120 a month. Low consumer sentiments, coupled with dearth of workforce due to pandemic may be the reason,” he added.
Launched in September last year with a promise of zero human intervention, the online map approval system requires building bylaws to be fed into GDA’s network. If a map does not conform to the bylaws, it is rejected automatically. In case it adheres to the building bylaws, the system gives it approval within hours.
Developers also blame the cumbersome online process for the dip in GDA’s revenues. A city-based developer, Rajeev Gupta said, “It is not just the pandemic but also frequent snags in the system that led to the lower map approvals on the part of GDA, as a result of which big commercial map approvals through the online mode are getting affected.”
Ashu Sharma, another developer from Vaishali, said, “We were promised that after the introduction of the online map approval system, the approval will be done in 24 hours, but even after months it is not happening ostensibly due to software glitches.”
The chief town planner, however, said, “Last year, there was a snag in the system due to which larger maps could not be approved but now the snag has been dealt with. As for bigger maps, of a total of 60 maps, only six were commercial with sizes of above 300 sqm and those have been approved or are in the process.”