The state housing regulatory bill, which has been stuck in red tape for months, will be approved by the Centre within a month, said chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.
After the central government’s nod, Maharashtra will be the first state to have an independent housing (regulation and development) body that will address buyers’ grievances and bring discipline to the real estate sector.
Chavan had met Union housing and poverty alleviation minister Girija Vyas recently at his official residence ‘Varsha’. Vyas promised Chavan that the state housing regulatory bill would be approved shortly. “We told Ms Vyas that there was a slim chance of the central government tabling and approving its housing regulatory bill in the near future. So, it should give priority to the state housing bill, which should be urgently approved,” said chief minister Chavan.
The bill was passed by the state legislature in 2012. The central government sent it back, saying it would not give the state bill its nod until it approved the central housing regulatory bill. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan wrote to the Centre, highlighting the urgency for a state bill. He said illegal constructions and manipulation by unscrupulous developers were rampant in Maharashtra.
“To curb these malpractices, the regulatory bill is vital. It would bring discipline to the real estate sector. In the wake of the Campa Cola incident, there is need for such a bill. Developers regularly cheat gullible buyers. We do not have any mechanism to control such malpractices. The housing regulatory bill is the right step,” said Chavan.
Once the bill is approved, the housing regulatory body will control and restrict illegal constructions besides monitoring developers.
The body will have immense powers and will carry out administrative, advisory and judicial functions. It will consist of a chairperson and two or more members appointed by the state government. Aggrieved buyers can approach the body with a complaint and its decision will be binding. If the aggrieved party does not agree with its decision, it can approach the high court. “If developers violate regulations, they would be liable for a Rs10 lakh fine and a jail term of up to three years,” a senior state housing department official said.
“Once the bill is approved, it will be mandatory for developers to upload their approved residential and commercial plan on the government website. After completing these formalities, developers will be allowed to put the project on sale. Unless and until all required permissions are in place, they will not be allowed to sell flats. And buyers will be able see which apartment, in which project, has been booked or sold out. The new bill will bring transparency to the housing sector,” said real estate experts, adding that the bill would add a lot of checks and balances.
Empowered entity will thwart cheating developers
When the bill gets approved, the state will be wthe first one to have an independent housing (regulation and development) body. It will be empowered to carry out administrative, advisory and judicial functions.