Mumbai: The Maharashtra cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal offering 50 per cent waiver in premium to developers on real estate projects till December 31, 2021. Also Read - Maharashtra Man Kills Girlfriend to Avoid Marrying Her, Hides Body in Walls of Flat

The realty developers, who take benefit of the 50 per cent waiver in premium on construction projects for the next one year, will have to pay the entire stamp duty amount on behalf of customers. Also Read - All Mumbai Schools Under BMC Limits To Remain Closed Until Further Orders

A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office said the cabinet’s decision is based on the report submitted by the Deepak Parekh committee set up to suggest measures to boost the states construction sector post-COVID-19 lockdown. Also Read - Bird Flu: Over 11000 Birds Culled in Maharashtra; Delhi Bans Sale, Storage of Poultry Products | Key Points

The statement said the committee has submitted its recommendations regarding attracting more investments in the construction sector and also on affordable housing.

To avoid windfall to any specific company or project, the waiver of premium will be allowed at the ready reckoner rate existing as on April 1, 2020, or the current ready reckoner, whichever is high, it said.

Leader of Opposition in the assembly Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP criticised the government’s decision to offer 50 per cent premium to builders for one year, saying it will not benefit property buyers.

Speaking to reporters, Fadnavis said, Slashing the premium will result in some builders getting windfall gains.

“I had asked the state government to involve RERA (housing sector regulator) in the process of registration and stamp duty collection to ensure property buyers get the benefits of such a decision. However, the government has done exactly the opposite.”

This decision is beneficial to builders and not to the common man, the former chief minister said.

“There was a need to give some relaxation to people but this half-hearted decision will not benefit property buyers for sure, the BJP leader claimed.

I am gathering more information over the issue. Once I compile it, I will write a fresh letter to the chief minister. I am deeply pained to hear about ongoing talks of kickbacks to get the premium slashed, Fadnavis said.

Meanwhile, Mumbai Congress president Bhai Jagtap on Wednesday demanded that the property tax for houses measuring up to 500 sq ft in the metropolis be waived totally and alleged the previous BJP government had failed to do the needful in this regard.

Speaking to reporters, he also demanded that houses and tenements measuring from 501 sq ft to 700 sq ft be given a 60 per cent waiver in the property tax, and slum-dwellers in Mumbai be provided water for free sans any levy.

The then BJP-Shiv Sena government in March 2019 had approved a proposal to exempt residential properties up to 500 sq ft, within the Mumbai municipal area limits, from property tax.

Earlier, the Shiv Sena-ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had announced that the property tax for houses up to 500 sq ft will be waived.