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Govt real estate bill in a spot as states remain non-committal

The tussle between the Centre and non-Congress states has now rolled over to the real estate regulatory authority bill.

delhi Updated: Jun 06, 2012 01:48 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
Moushumi Das Gupta
Hindustan Times

The tussle between the Centre and non-Congress states has now rolled over to the real estate regulatory authority bill.

After sharp differences over issues such as National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail, states like Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh have raised the red flag over the draft bill that seeks to safeguard consumers from land sharks. The states claim that the bill infringes on federal structure, and is therefore unacceptable.

The Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation ministry, which drafted the bill, had originally planned to introduce it in the budget session that concluded last month. However, following murmurs of protest, the ministry held a fresh round of consultations with all the states last month to try and get them on board. It had set May 18 as the deadline for states to send their comments on the draft bill.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Chattisgarh government wrote to the ministry opposing the bill on the grounds that land was a state subject and the central government does not have the mandate to legislate on the issue, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu are yet to respond.

The chief ministers of both the states – Mamata Banerjee and J Jayalalithaa – were the most vocal critics of the Centre’s proposal to bring in FDI in retail and set up the NCTC.

Though Uttar Pradesh had earlier agreed to the bill, it now wants to re-examine the bill. “They also have some issue about land being a state subject and have held back their comments,” said a ministry official.

However, to allay the states’ fears, the government has incorporated a provision in the draft bill stating that they could have their own regulatory authority – if they wish.

“Despite this, some states are not convinced. Now,it all depends on how quickly states send their comments. Otherwise, the whole process of finalising the bill would be delayed,” he added.

The draft bill proposes to make it mandatory for developers to get themselves registered with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority, failing which they could face imprisonment as well as hefty fines.

It also proposes the setting up of a regulatory authority to address consumers’ grievances.

First Published: Jun 05, 2012 23:29 IST