“Please take note of this. All builders should sell flats only on carpet area. At the exhibition today, I found that most builders were selling on carpet.” As the state housing minister Sachin Ahir made the statement at the MCHI-CREDAI expo, the builders flanking him - Bandish Ajmera, chairman of the exhibition committee, Boman Irani, MCHI secretary, and others - nodded their heads in agreement.
The scene was an idealistic tableau, but it had little bearing on the realty on ground. At the property exhibition of the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry at MMRDA ground, when the minister wasn’t looking, several stalls stuck to selling their stock on built-up (or saleable) area, instead of the stipulated carpet.
A visit to Rustomjee builder’s stall, followed by others, confirmed the incongruity. The attendant at the counter quoted built-up rate for the developer’s Thane project. At the same time, a salesgirl quoted the rate for the builder’s Virar project on the basis of carpet area. Irani couldn’t be reached for comment. He didn’t reply to MiD DAY’s text messages.
Bandish Ajmera’s Ajmera builder also quoted built-up prices, just as it did in MCHI’s last exhibition in October 2012. When contacted, Ajmera told us he would call us back with a response but did not. Following suit was Chaubey Realties, which was selling on built-up area. Asked why the discrepancy, managing director Akhilesh Chaubey responded by pointing out one on the part of the government.
“The government wants us to sell on carpet. But it charges us on built up. So when we are charged developmental fees by the government on built-up, how can it expect us to sell on carpet? Who would bear the cost of the common area, elevators and others such spaces?”
Most other top builders were doing the same but certain builders like Hiranandani, however, who quoted built-up prices in the last exhibition, were quoting carpet rates yesterday. Paras Gundecha, MCHI president, said, “Builders were told to sell only on carpet. I would get this rectified immediately.”
At the expo, minister Ahir also talked about the government’s plan to boost cluster redevelopment. The government would now form clusters on its own - rather than waiting for societies to approach it - by suggesting societies for redevelopment. The clusters would be formed on socio-economic basis and societies would be given the option to choose the builder. They would have a nodal officer in every municipal ward of the state to check illegal construction.