Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Maharashtra Housing Regulatory Authority Bill—A Step Towards Transparency

The “Adarsh Colony” scandal is still not faded away from our memory and much before this it was quite inevitable to formulate a concrete guideline to safeguard home buyers interest from certain unethical builders. The much awaited Maharashtra Housing Regulatory Authority Bill is drafted in order to establish certain standard parameters for builders and real estate players from making unauthorised buildings. This bill is quintessential and quite pertinent for cities like Pune where the real estate market is in boom and commercial and residential builders in Pune need to adhere to certain civic parameters as against the ongoing unplanned construction mushrooming across the city.

However, this Bill got delayed as against the will of the state government, after a recent announcement that it intended to pass the bill in the coming monsoon session. This, however, seems a bit unrealistic, as the bill has not yet been presented before the state cabinet.

The cabinet approval is a pre-requisite for the passage of the bill.

A senior minister, who does not wish to be named, told, “The State did not do its home work. The cabinet ministers will not allow such a crucial bill to be passed hurriedly.”

The regulatory bill, based on the draft provided by the central government, aims to streamline the working of the realty industry. It will impact major reality players in the market making them more susceptible to the changes in case of any new industrial projects in Pune and other parts of the state. It focuses on various issues, like registration of builders and disclosures of projects.

Certain mandatory requirements like disclosing details of projects and time required for completion are some of the prerequisites of the bill and failing to adhere to these will invite heavy penalty. This will also includebest builders in Puneand rest of Maharashtra.

The major obstacle is the builders’ community that is, if not directly, but at least instrumental in opposing the bill and their opposition could likely become one more factor in delaying the project. “We have no problem with the regulator but even the authorities should be made accountable, “said Sunil Mantri, Former President, Maharashtra Chambers of Housing Industry (MCHI).

He said that state should fast track permissions so that projects are completed on time.However, housing activists are not very encouraged by the whole episode and have said that a nexus of the State and builders is responsible for it.

“Every sector like stock markets and telecom have been benefited by the regulator but the builders do not want to be accountable,“ said Shreedhar Sharma, President, Ravathy Foundation which works on housing issues.

“The state is not interested in the welfare of flat buyers and are just playing in the hands of the builders, “he added. It is anticipated that passing this bill will enforce the home developers in Pune and rest of Maharashtra to be more accountable for their construction and maintain full transparency.

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