THOUSANDS OF LIVES COULD BE AT RISK
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.