Resentment has been simmering among the 300 families of the Ivory Towers residential complex in Sector 70 ever since the SAS Nagar subdivisional magistrate asked them to provide details about their flats, including confidential financial information, and that too through officials of the housing complex association.
The residents are fuming over the fact that for the first time since the complex was built 14 years ago, the SDM had sought details of all loans they had taken as well the names of banks and financiers through which they were raised along with their PAN numbers.
They averred if the SDM required such information he should have issued a public notice and not sought it through the association’s office bearers who might share the personal financial information with anyone.
It usually the income tax department or banks and other financial institutions that ask for this kind of information, the residents added. As the residential complex, the only one of its kind in SAS Nagar, is under the purview of the SDM as has been registered under the Punjab Apartment Ownership Act.
The Ivory Towers Flat Owners Association put up a notice at the complex on July 3, asking residents to provide the details as soon as possible.
When contacted, SDM Lakhmir Singh said, “I’ve been empowered to seek all such financial information from the residents of the residential complex as I’m the competent authority.” When asked why the details were being sought through the Ivory Tower association’s officials who could misuse the information, he replied, “There’s no harm in doing that.”
A female resident of the complex said on condition of anonymity: “This is something uncalled for. Even my family members don’t have access to my financial details that the SDM now wants, and that too through the association’s officials. Can the SDM give an assurance the information provided won’t be misused?”
“Why is it the SDM never thought of asking the association members to convene the annual general body meeting, which hasn’t been held for the past three years? We fear if confidential financial information falls into the hands of the association members, they might use it to harass us. If required we’ll appeal to higher authorities and may even take legal recourse to safeguard our interests,” said another resident.
However, in what appeared to be an about-turn on the issue, the president of the Ivory Towers Flat Owners Association, Tikka Yashvir Chand, said: “If the residents aren’t willing to provide the financial details they can just submit the other details that have been sought in the questionnaire.” When asked why financial details were included in the questionnaire, he could only say, “Errors do occur occasionally.”