THOU­SANDS OF LIVES COULD BE AT RISK

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floors than what’s per­mis­si­ble by way of FAR. Not only that, they have also vi­o­lated the sanc­tioned plan and sold ‘com­mer­cial’ ar­eas ear­marked for park­ing, com­mu­nity cen­tre, club etc. If they take the com­ple­tion cer­tifi­cate be­fore giving pos­ses­sion, the au­thor­i­ties can get wind of these vi­o­la­tions,” says Alok Ku­mar, who has filed a pub­lic in­ter­est pe­ti­tion in the Al­la­habad High Court, blam­ing the UP ur­ban de­vel­op­ment depart­ment for al­legedly be­ing “de­lib­er­ately obliv­i­ous to the pro­vi­sions of the UP Apart­ment Act.” Af­ter hear­ing Ku­mar’s pe­ti­tion, the Al­la­habad High Court has is­sued a no­tice to the sec­re­tary, ur­ban de­vel­op­ment of the UP gov­ern­ment and Ghazi­abad De­vel­op­ment Author­ity.

“It’s the finest piece of leg­is­la­tion,” says Ku­mar, “which takes care of all the is­sues which an apart­ment buyer might come across and even pro­vides for a three-year to six-year jail term for a de­vel­oper in case he/she vi­o­lates the act. How­ever, the au­thor­i­ties, with the con­nivance of some de­vel­op­ers, have re­duced the law to noth­ing.”

Many peo­ple who have bought apart­ments in var­i­ous so­ci­eties in Ut­tar Pradesh have com­plained that the au­thor­i­ties, too, do not co­op­er­ate when they ask for in­for­ma­tion on the sta­tus of the com­ple­tion cer­tifi­cate of the build­ings they live in.

Talk­ing about an RTI ap­pli­ca­tion, Sing­hal says, “When I asked the Ghazi­abad De­vel­op­ment Author­ity through the RTI if the de­vel­oper of my build­ing had ap­plied for a com­ple­tion cer­tifi­cate, one of the se­nior of­fi­cers dur­ing the hear­ing told me that it was con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion, which could not be dis­closed to the res­i­dents. Isn’t it ridicu­lous?”

Sud­hir Sood, who owns a flat in a de­vel­oper’s project in Noida, says, “I have writ­ten to the Noida au­thor­i­ties sev­eral times ask­ing about the op­tions avail­able to me as my de­vel­oper hasn’t ac­quired a com­ple­tion cer­tifi­cate. I haven’t re­ceived any re­sponse. Deal­ing with them is like bang­ing your head against the wall.”

When con­tacted, Dev Pu­jari, chief architect, Noida Author­ity, re­fused to com­ment on the author­ity’s si­lence on the whole is­sue.

How­ever SK Za­man, chief architect and town plan­ner in GDA, agrees that builders have been tak­ing the act for granted. “We have is­sued sev­eral no­tices to de­vel­op­ers and warned them to take strict ac­tion in case of non­com­pli­ance of the UP Apart­ment Act. Not only that, we are also go­ing to de­lib­er­ate (at our board meet­ing) on sev­eral mea­sures to dis­ci­pline them.

The author­ity’s prom­ises does not go down too well with the le­gal ex­perts and res­i­dents, who ar­gue that is­su­ing a no­tice will not serve any pur­pose and it’s high time strict ac­tion is taken against those who have flouted the law.

“In­stead of is­su­ing no­tices one af­ter another, why can’t the au­thor­i­ties file an FIR against the de­vel­oper un­der the UP Apart­ment Act? Un­less such se­vere ac­tion be taken, noth­ing will hap­pen,” says Ku­mar.

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