Pun­jab home buy­ers yet to get full re­lief from Rera Act

AD­VAN­TAGE BUILDERS En­acted to pro­tect home­buy­ers the Act has failed to res­cue the buyer due to loop­holes that ben­e­fit the builder

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Mu­niesh­wer A Sa­gar mu­niesh­wer.sa­gar@hin­dus­tan­times.com n

CHANDI­GARH : It is nearly 10 months since the Real Es­tate (Reg­u­la­tory and De­vel­op­ment) Act 2016 (Rera) be­came fully op­er­a­tional. The three-mem­ber Pun­jab real es­tate reg­u­la­tory author­ity (P-Rera) has also been set up.

En­acted to pro­tect home-buy­ers be­sides boost­ing in­vest­ments in the real es­tate in­dus­try, this Act, how­ever, has failed to res­cue the be­lea­guered buyer due to sev­eral loop­holes that ben­e­fit the builder.

HOW ARE BUILDERS HOODWINKING ACT?

There can be no com­plaints against a builder who hasn’t got his project reg­is­tered: Rul­ing in the Bikramjit Singh case, in De­cem­ber last year, the author­ity held that it will not en­ter­tain com­plaints against pro­mot­ers whose projects are not reg­is­tered with it.

So, home buy­ers in all those projects, which are not reg­is­tered with the author­ity, can­not make a com­plaint against the de­fault­ing builder.

“If a buyer makes com­plaint against project non-reg­is­tra­tion, then it can­not seek com­pen­sa­tion against the de­fault­ing builder. So, the builder gets away very eas­ily,” said Hi­man­shu Raj, a Chandi­garh-based ad­vo­cate. So far, around 400 projects have been reg­is­tered, a mix of on­go­ing and new projects.

Ex­ten­sion of the project reg­is­tra­tion dead­line: Pro­mot­ers of the on­go­ing projects were to reg­is­ter their projects by July 31, 2017. But the reg­is­tra­tion date was ex­tended to De­cem­ber 31, 2017. In Fe­bru­ary this year, the author­ity de­cided to give one more chance to such pro­mot­ers to sub­mit reg­is­tra­tion ap­pli­ca­tions even af­ter ex­tended date De­cem­ber 31, 2017 on pay­ment of late fees.

“In the project we are liv­ing, the builder nei­ther has the com­ple­tion cer­tifi­cate nor has reg­is­tered with the author­ity. Af­ter Bikramjit case, we can­not make com­plaint against him be­cause the project is not reg­is­tered, and af­ter ex­ten­sion in the reg­is­tra­tion dead­line we can­not com­plaint for non-reg­is­tra­tion of the project. This is very un­fair to home buy­ers,” said Pradeep Sharma, a res­i­dent of a group hous­ing so­ci­ety in Zi­rakpur.

In­for­ma­tion gap: The author­ity is com­pletely de­pended up on ur­ban de­vel­op­ment au­thor­i­ties (UDA) like GMADA (greater Mo­hali area de­vel­op­ment author­ity) and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties for in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the to­tal num­ber of li­censed projects and projects with­out com­ple­tion cer­tifi­cate.

“Many builders are op­er­at­ing with­out the req­ui­site ap­provals and li­cences. Sub­mis­sion of these ap­provals reg­is­tra­tion ap­pli­ca­tion is manda­tory. So they are avoid­ing reg­is­tra­tion with the author­ity. They are get­ting away with non-reg­is­tra­tion be­cause the author­ity can­not take ac­tion against them in ab­sence of in­for­ma­tion about them,” said Para Money Goyal, a Chandi­garh-based ad­vo­cate.

Web­site not fully func­tional: Cen­tral to the act is the author­ity’s web por­tal with full builder and project de­tails.

“But in the case of Pun­jab Rera web­site, we only get to know which projects are reg­is­tered. The reg­is­tra­tion num­ber per se is mean­ing­less when we don’t get full in­for­ma­tion about the project, the ap­provals it has, fi­nan­cial de­tails, past builder record, etc,” said, Manoj Dass, a Zi­rakpur res­i­dent work­ing with a pri­vate sec­tor bank.

OF­FI­CIAL SPEAKS

On chal­lenges in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Act, P-Rera chair­man NS Kang says that stake­hold­ers must be aware about their rights and du­ties un­der this Act. “We have made ef­forts in this re­gard by in­volv­ing the me­dia and builder bod­ies such as Con­fed­er­a­tion of Real Es­tate De­vel­op­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tions of In­dia (CREDAI). But some grey ar­eas are com­ing up dur­ing im­ple­men­ta­tion. For in­stance, the ju­ris­dic­tion of the ad­ju­di­cat­ing of­fi­cer and the author­ity are not clearly spelled out,” he adds.

Re­gard­ing ac­tion be­ing taken against projects that are not reg­is­tered, Kang says that out of the list of 455 projects not reg­is­tered, they have is­sued no­tices to 300 builders, and adds that UDAs have pro­vided the list, but mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are yet to fol­low suit. Kang in­forms that as per the Act, project with­out a com­ple­tion cer­tifi­cate is on­go­ing is called an ‘on­go­ing’ project. As per the Pun­jab Rera rules, projects with par­tial com­ple­tion cer­tifi­cate are ex­cluded from this clas­si­fi­ca­tion.

On the is­sue of ex­tend­ing the dead­line for reg­is­tra­tion, he says, “We did it to im­prove com- pli­ance of the act and pro­mote reg­is­tra­tions.”

The chair­man of Pun­jab Rera says that the author­ity can’t at present in­de­pen­dently check projects not reg­is­tered with it. “But, we are work­ing on a setup to check builder reg­is­tra­tion and mon­i­tor com­pli­ance,” he says.

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