Fed up with delays in delivery of their apartments, property buyers in Noida Extension or Greater Noida West, have decided to take advantage of the forthcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh with a twitter campaign: ‘no house, no vote’. It’s meant for builders and politicians.
As many as 3 lakh apartments have been launched in Greater Noida West since 2009. However, even after a long land acquisition battle from 2010 and resumption of construction work from 2012, just 25,000 apartments have been delivered till now. Buyers allege that possession letters given by builders include requests for extra payment for increased cost of cement and other construction materials, farmer compensation charges and delayed payment.
“This has escalated the cost of houses which were affordable when we booked them. It is because of these reasons that we have launched the no house, no vote twitter campaign, hoping to rope in most buyers who are yet to receive possession of their units. They will be asked to choose (none of the above) or NOTA option in the forthcoming assembly polls,” says Indrish Gupta, founder Noida Extension Flat Owners Welfare Association (NEFOWA).
“We have also received support from farmers in Bisrakh village who are expected to choose the NOTA option and are even contemplating floating citizen representatives in the forthcoming assembly elections,” he adds.
Over 100 projects are coming up in Greater Noida West and most of them have been built on land acquired from villages such as Bisrakh.
A car and bike rally is also being planned by NEFOWA, which will pass through all projects – completed and under construction to garner support from the 15,000 families that have moved into the area. “The campaign has enormous mass appeal,” claims Gupta.
In Uttar Pradesh, where assembly elections are to be held next month, investor confidence levels are dependent on how the new government will honour its promise to execute new infrastructure projects and whether it will keep up the growth momentum. Currently, the real estate market in the state and elsewhere in the country, is slow primarily on account of the demonetisation move. Real estate experts are hopeful that after the budget there will be more clarity and that the first asset class to see momentum will be affordable housing.
Developers such as Deepak Kapoor, president, Credai western UP, are optimistic. “I hope that the government coming to power will give a push to ease of doing business and provide for single window clearances so that construction work goes on as per schedule and projects are delivered on time.
“Currently, most projects get delayed because of approvals not being granted on time and presence of multiple agencies from where these have to be procured,” he says. Builders should be granted more time to make payments for land as the market is currently slow, he adds.
Homebuyers in Noida hope that the new government will implement section 4 (5) of the UP Apartment Act that specifies the time period within which projects have to be completed. There should be curbs on last-minute hidden charges that developers often charge buyers at the time of possession and master plans should be implemented. All amenities and infrastructure promised should be in place before projects are handed over, says Sudeepta Kumar Pal, managing partner and advocate, Lead Counsels.
Usually it takes five years for a building to be completed, but this has been made extendable by three years under the amended UP Apartment Act. A builder can now take almost eight years to complete the project. Here the government has diluted the Act and gone back to the Development Act, say legal experts. “This is probably been done to bail out builders who have delayed the project. The Apartment Act 2010 had a unique feature. Projects had to be specifically completed within 24 months. They have now been given six additional years,” say legal experts.
The amended Act also states that once a completion certificate has been received by the builder, the sanctioning authority can clear any plans for changes in projects and permission of homebuyers is not required. The inference one can draw from this is that a builder can make changes in the original project plan till the time he obtains a completion certificate, says Pal.