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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Realty regulator is need of the hour: Activists

Naresh Kamath, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 08, 2013
First Published: 03:02 IST(8/4/2013) | Last Updated: 03:03 IST(8/4/2013)

The recent collapse of building in Mumbra, constructed illegally using inferior-quality materials, has once again highlighted the urgent need for a regulator for the real estate sector.

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Property experts said a regulator can help streamline the whole process, especially in areas such as Mumbra, which has more than 2,000 illegal buildings.

Having a regulator would mean that builders would have to get themselves registered as well as log on all the details of their projects on the website.

Sachin Ahir, state minister for housing, said a regulator would bring in a fair amount of transparency, though he cautions that it cannot be completely fool-proof. “Homebuyers would be able to get all details online, which will deter many unscrupulous builders,” he said. “It will also help civic authorities and citizens to track down projects.”

The regulatory bill, which is currently awaiting presidential nod, has clauses that insist on timeframe of projects, detailed plans, approvals and specifies punitive action for delays and for non-delivery of amenities.

The Maharashtra Chambers of Housing Industry (MCHI), which is the apex body of builders, too admitted that a regulator is needed. “It will help but what is also needed is a pro-active stance from the government,” said Paras Gundecha, president, MCHI. “Faster approvals and less interference would help.”

However, Gundecha raised questions about how a regulator could crack down on unauthorised structures.

“A regulator is good idea, but if the state initiates criminal action against senior police and civic officials and local legislators, these illegal practices will be curbed substantially,” said Utsal Karani, NGO, Janhit Manch, which works for good governance.


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