Builders in the city are rattled by the stringent provisions encompassed in the new Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, unveiled recently by the state housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry.
They point out that various clauses like three years of imprisonment along with a penalty of 10% of the project cost is unfair and partial to the construction industry.
According to Paras Gundecha, president, Maharashtra Chambers of Housing Industry (MCHI), there is no need for a regulator for the real estate industry. “We have the MOFA (Maharashtra Ownership Flat Act), which is enough to deal with the current problems,” said Gundecha.
He said that the entire bill is targeted solely towards the builder’s community. “Why is there punitive action only for us while others like the government officials and consumers have been spared?” asked Gundecha.
Similar is the contention of Anand Gupta, secretary, Builders Association of India, who expressed fears of the bill stifling the real estate industry. “We have no problem with the regulator, but all we need is representation in the regulatory body. We should be also allowed to present our case,” said Gupta.
The regulatory body aims to streamline the construction industry which has until now been in the doldrums. The bill aims to license the builders, start bookings after permissions are granted, as well as offer a fixed deadline for completion of projects.
However, state minister for housing Sachin Ahir said that honest builders have nothing to worry. “The bill will only hurt unscrupulous builders and is aimed at redressing the grievances of homebuyers,” said Ahir.
He said that the regulator will take into consideration all the aspects like bureaucratic delays and litigations while deciding the cases, and there will be fair play.
He said the state plans to tighten the existing MOFA and have the regulatory authority function under it.
However, housing activists have welcomed the regulator calling it a necessity. “The consumers have hardly any say and the entire industry is ruled by the builder lobby,” said Sheetal Chheda, secretary, Revathy Foundation, the organisation that takes up housing issues.