L&T seeks waiver of Rs.200 Cr Impact Fee from GHMC

Hyderabad: Infrastructure giant and metro developer L&T plans to exploit 18.5 million square feet of built-up area without paying the necessary fees to GHMC. L&T is allowed to commercially exploit land at metro rail depots, stations and along the rail corridor, but it is seeking waiver of nearly Rs 200 crore on charges such as building fees, betterment charges and impact fees from the state government. The construction giant has also sought advertisement fee waiver for billboards to be erected at depots and stations.

Counting on the waiver to come, the L&T, which has already started construction of cellars for its multiplexes and malls at Punjagutta and Erramanzil, has not even paid the impact fee to the civic body despite the latter sending notices in June last year. GHMC officials said that L&T Metro Rail Ltd had sought permission for construction of basements 1 & 2 and the lower ground floors of commercial buildings at the two places a few months ago.

After the GHMC building committee met in April 2013, the officials sent a letter to L&T in June asking for payment of Rs 48,22,340 and Rs 68,00,960 respectively for the two sites. As L&T had proposed to construct only cellars and basements, the corporation had asked them to pay only the impact fees to get permission. The developer was also asked to submit documents like no objection certificates, a set of ‘in’ and ‘out’ ramps for the car parking area, letter surrendering the affected land of about 347 square metres in road widening as well as the change of name of the lower ground floor to the basement floor.

“As the metro rail works are progressing, L&T sought orders on waiver of fee and charges at the 13th Special Task Force meeting on metro rail project held last week,” a GHMC official said.

However, officials said there is no agreement on such an exemption. As per the concessionaire agreement entered into by the Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) with the firm, L&T could commercially exploit about 18.5 million sqft built-up area, including 12.5 million sqft at terminal locations and six million sqft at adjoining metro stations. L&T wants to develop office spaces, malls, multiplexes, hospitals, retail, health care, convention centres, theme parks, entertainment zones and convenience retail outlets at these locations.

“There is no mention of exemption of municipal fees and charges in the concessionaire agreement. Even if the state government wants to give tax waiver and building permission fee, the exemption should not be given for city-level impact fee as the proposed development by L&T will have a great impact on the city’s infrastructure,” a senior city planner said.

L&T is also seeking waiver of advertisement tax from the corporation for erecting boards and leasing them out to private parties. Billboards would be erected on 18 portals, 2,700 piers of metro rail, 64 metro rail stations and all along the 72-km metro viaduct.

When contacted, GHMC chief city planner GV Raghu said L&T has sought permission for cellars and they have asked them to pay the impact fee. The decision on exemption has to be taken by the municipal administration and urban development (MA&UD) department, he said.

V B Gadgil, L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Ltd Chief Executive and Managing Director, reportedly said they have requested the state government to waive various taxes. “We have sought certain clarifications from the government on tax exemptions, including property tax, as the property ownership is with the state government. Similarly, development will take place as part of the transit orient development (TOD), which is again one of the components of the metro rail project,” Gadgil told.