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

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Sudhir Suryawan­shi sud­hir_ s@ dnain­dia. net

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.

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