Even as the Centre plans to introduce a realty bill to regulate the real estate industry, the state government is working to strengthen the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act (MOFA) and include a regulatory body as part of it.
The state said it would not wait for the Centre to come up with the legislation, which could take a while.
Sachin Ahir, the minister of state for housing, said the amended MOFA will be placed before the winter session of the state legislature, which begins on December 12. "We will strengthen the MOFA and create a regulator," he said.
Ahir said stringent provisions would be incorporated in the new MOFA. "We will include penal provisions as well as imprisonment."
The central government's bill is along similar lines, the aim being to safeguard the interests of the buyers.
The plan to set up a regulatory authority and bring transparency to the construction industry has been pending for a long time, fuelling rumours that the builder lobby has managed to stall the move.
The bill aims to make it compulsory for all builders to register with the body and disclose the projects undertaken, Developers who fail to complete projects on time are to be penalised.
The Maharashtra Chambers for Housing Industry (MCHI) said all stakeholders should be made accountable. "It's not the builders alone, the civic body and consumers should also be held responsible," said Paras Gundecha, president, MCHI. "There should be a time frame for the passage of plans and consumers who default on payment should face action."