Fed up with the highhandedness of private developers, hassled homeowners have come together to launch a first-of-its-kind, pan-India initiative — Green Letter Movement.
A newly-formed buyers' community, the Federation of Apartment Owners Association of India (FAOAI), has been drafting detailed letters to reach out to stakeholders and decision makers by highlighting problem areas where builders are at fault. The move came after a January 3 buyer-friendly order by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in a case related to DLF properties in Gurgaon.
Letters will be sent to ministers, government secretaries and Supreme Court and High Court judges. Of the nearly 5,000 "green" letters planned, 200 have already been dispatched.
To start with the group will look at harassment in the name of parking space.
"There are about 1,200 claims by buyers across the country against the illegal practice of selling parking space at an average rate of R3-5 lakh. This amounts to a scam of nearly R400 crore," said Amit Jain, director general, FAOAI.
Jain said legal experts and anti-corruption activists will help decide the course of action which may include filing a case on behalf of all those affected.
"We want our hard-earned money back and the movement shall serve as a wake-up call for those concerned," Jain said, adding that the initiative aims to educate buyers about their rights too.
The FAOAI includes buyers from all major projects in Gurgaon, Banglore and several cities across India.
According to the pressure group, major areas of confrontation between buyers and builders are sale of projects without a sanctioned layout plan, sale and registry of the super area and not of the apartment area, sale of parking space and community centres as separate entities, claim of rights over common area, transfer of land titles to the owner's association and restriction of profits from any group housing complex development, among others.