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The civil aviation ministry is colour coding zones in various cities to make the process of clearances easier for real estate projects in areas that may impact air transport.

“We are code zoning at various levels which can be used as immediate reference and height below that can be quoted and municipal authorities can then clear the project," Airports Authority of India (AAI) chairman V.P. Agrawal told Mint.

This move by the civil aviation ministry comes after a committee appointed by the housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry suggested single-window clearance for real estate projects to reduce the delay.

The committee had said that if authorities such as AAI mark restricted areas as red, yellow and green, then it would eliminate the need for a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the authority.

Agrawal added that once AAI completed the colour coding, “95% of the people (or project developers) will not need to come to AAI as long as they meet those norms."

In a report submitted to the housing ministry in March, the committee on streamlining approval procedures for real estate projects had suggested ways to decrease clearance delays, which includes clearances from various state and central government agencies and also to establish a single-window clearance procedure. The committee, headed by Dhanendra Kumar, former chairman of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), has set out a procedure which, if implemented, will lower the time taken for clearance to a maximum 60 days from 200 days now.

AAI and the environment ministry are the two central authorities that take relatively longer to grant clearances, said a top housing ministry official.

“While the civil aviation ministry has started the procedure, we are still to hold a meeting with the environment ministry in this regard," said the official, who requested anonymity.

Chintan Patel, director, real estate and hospitality practice, at Ernst and Young, said this would reduce approval requirements, especially if a developer was building in a zone close to an airport.

“Today a real estate developer requires 50 plus approvals to start a project. Any step taken to reduce number of approvals will definitely be helpful. This will benefit the community at large as the approval process is partly responsible for escalation in prices of real estate," he said, adding that the developer passes on the cost because of the delay in approvals to the end consumer.

Agrawal said that the exercise will slowly cover the whole country, but “we are concentrating on metro airports to start with".

The committee also spoke about the importance of well-trained staff as imperative in reducing delays at the local level. It recommended that the housing ministry should train planners at the urban local body or municipality level in states so that they are competent in town planning laws and can hence reduce time delays. The report said that a composite application form (CAF) should be developed and also that building laws should be consolidated and streamlined at the state level.

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