Flat owners without OCs to file police cases against builders | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Flat owners without OCs to file police cases against builders

mumbai Updated: Jul 09, 2016 01:09 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
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In addition, these buildings are also not given conveyance deed, which means they are deprived of the ownership of the land on which their houses stand(Hindustan Times)

After the police issued a circular asking citizens to act against errant builders, hundreds of flat owners who don’t have occupation certificates (OC) are gearing up to file police complaints against such builders.

There are approximately 10,000 buildings in Mumbai without OCs. Residents of such buildings are thus forced to pay double the regular water charges. In addition, these buildings are also not given conveyance deeds, which means residents don’t technically own the land on which they stand.

Take the instance of a 545-apartment project at Kopar in Thane, which has not got the OC since the residents took possession in 2011.

“The builder did not construct the mandatory road leading to the complex. In addition, he violated many rules for which we has to suffer,” rued Vijay Yadav, who is planning to lodge a complaint against the builder.

Similar is the contention of Ramesh Khanna, who said the conveyance is being denied to his structure in Matunga. “We cannot mortgage our land as the land title is not being transferred in our name because of lack of OC,” said Khanna. “Even the amnesty scheme was of no use as it mandated huge costs for the society members,” he added.

In the past two decades, majority of the builders carried out FSI (Floor Space Index) violations, did not construct roads, kept aside the mandatory open space nor did they construct compound walls or made proper sewage disposal system.

Many even defaulted in paying various dues to the government agencies. The result was that the civic body denied them the OC, as they had failed to adhere to the rules and regulations specified in the development control (DC) rules.

Now, societies are looking forward to the circular issued by special inspector-general of police Prabhat Kumar. It listed various conditions for police action like delays in possession, giving possession with occupation certificate and building beyond the permissible limits. Till now these issues were treated as civil matter and at the most the homebuyers took builders to the consumer courts. However, it took years for the case to get settled. Now, the buyers can file an FIR where the state will fight on behalf of him.

Real estate lawyer Vinod Sampat called it a continued violation. “The residents are suffering because of the violations and hence this order will give them a chance for redressal,” said Sampat.

Builders called it a witch-hunt aimed at targeting the builders.

“It is classic case of system failure and we are being unfairly targeted. We were denied OC by the BMC on flimsy technical grounds and we gave the flats to buyers on humanitarian grounds. We couldn’t delay possession to the homebuyers who have invested their life savings on buying the house,” said Anand Gupta, former general secretary, Builders’ Association of India (BAI).

The issue

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) issues an OC only when the builder has adhered to all the rules and regulations specified in the development control rules

However, over the years, builders have just handed over the flats to the buyers without OC and exited from the project, thus, leaving the buyers in a lurch

Majority of the builders carried out FSI (Floor Space Index) violations, did not keep aside the mandatory open space nor construct roads, compound walls or had proper sewage disposal system in place. Many even defaulted in paying various dues to the government agencies

The Bombay high court in 2013 had come down heavily on the issue saying that flat owners should not be given possession till the OC is obtained for the structure. However, the practice continues

Technically the building is illegal, the BMC taking a humanitarian angle supplied them water but at double the rate than others

The amnesty scheme was not so successful, as it involved costs for the society members and also did not condone FSI violations.

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