Govt bowing to developers’ lobby?
Centre had told states to form ad hoc housing regulatory body for 6 months, but Maha’s dilly- dallying is raising questions
The Maharashtra government is reluctant to constitute the ad hoc Housing Regulatory Authority ( HRA) because of pressure from the developers’ lobby.
The central government had recently approved the Real Estate ( Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013 and had asked the state government to quash its earlier approved Act and to implement the central one.
Sources in the government said that one of the clauses of this new Act is to constitute an ad hoc body for six months. “It would asked to prepare for the final HRA, its framework and its functioning guidelines. The housing secretary will head this body and would deal with the issues of the buyers and developers. It has been almost two months but neither has the HRA been formed nor has the government shown any interest in this regard,” the source added.
If this authority gets formed, then the buyers’ right will be protected and the housing sector will be regulated. They can also lodge complaints against the errant developers. The Act will also provide for imprisonment of up to three years in the case of promoters/ developers and imprisonment of up to one year in the case of real estate agents and buyers for any violation of orders of the HRA or monetary penalties or both.
Prakash Mehta, state minister for housing, was not available for comments. However, a senior government official, on the condition of the anonymity, said that the central Act has a lot of vagueness. “Besides, we have to make the rules and guidelines, how the body would function and the leftover issues would be included in the guide- lines. It will take some time. Therefore, we had taken the decision to not form the ad hoc body, but to form a permanent authority,” the official clarified.
Another source informed that the state government is just buying time. “The state had already approved its own Act. We sat on it for more than two years despite assent from the president. We spent more time on preparing the guidelines and the file concerned was lying with the chief minister’s office. This dilly- dallying has been done to favour the developers,” said advocate Jitendra Patil, a consumer activist.
Pankaj Kapoor, MD, Liases Foras, said that the government should promptly execute the forming of the HRA process. “Developers cheat buyers in many ways. The buyers are always blind and they do not see and understand many hidden things behind the project and inflated house costs. Currently, buyers have no protection even though they are putting their hard- earned money into buying a house. The HRA will empower them and regularise the housing sector by bringing in transparency. Besides, the developers will complete the project on time. Buyers will also get their houses on time,” Kapoor added.