MahaRERA forms self-regulatory bodies for stalled projects

Updated: Jan 15, 2020, 07:43 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

Members of these organisations can come together to complete projects, ensure implementation of regulations and improve compliance of rules

MahaRERA chief Gautam Chatterjee addresses the BAI Jan 11
MahaRERA chief Gautam Chatterjee addresses the BAI Jan 11

In a first, the state housing regulator, MahaRERA, has co-opted two developer bodies — the NAREDCO and MCHI-CREDAI — and made them Self-Regulatory Organisations (SRO). This was done to improve awareness and compliance of rules and to facilitate the completion of stalled projects.

MahaRERA chief Gautam Chatterjee, while addressing the Builders Association of India (BAI) on January 11, explained the functioning of the SROs, adding that RERA's (Real Estate Regulatory Authority) power won't be shared with the organisations. The concept of an SRO was introduced through an amendment in the MahaRERA Act in December 2019. BAI chairman Gyan Madhani welcomed the SRO, saying, "SROs can facilitate the completion of stalled projects as with MahaRERA's assistance, our members can chip in and help finish projects. Over 100 projects currently remain stalled."

Instrumental in improving compliance, SRO is an extended arm of the MahaRERA. "The SRO must conduct awareness programmes for its members and empower them with relevant information and technical support. Names of the contractors who help finish projects will be displayed on the MahaRERA website," said Ramesh Prabhu, founder of MahaSeWA (Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association).

Prabhu added that the SRO will be successful only if MahaRERA ensures that it does not become a builders' lobby. He suggested that the regulator can facilitate forming an Association of Allottees for each project and of different stakeholders such as consumers, architects, engineers, financial institutions and chartered accountants to ensure transparency and accountability. Prabhu recently helped MahaRERA complete two stalled projects in Mira Road. The three promoters of a residential block, Tanvi, got into a dispute and the project went into litigation. Stalled since 2012, its construction was resumed after the building's flat owners' association approached the MahaRERA. "The project is in its last stage of completion," Prabhu said.

Opposing view
"As per the principles of natural justice, no man shall be the judge in his own cause. Flat buyers seek relief against developers under RERA provisions. To have representatives of developers' bodies on the mediation panel would be unfair. Such a panel should have experts from fields unrelated to the real estate sector," said advocate Godfrey Pimenta, of the Watchdog Foundation.

What do stats say?
According to the MahaRERA website, 10,076 complaints from flat buyers have been received in three years, of which 9,398 are against MahaRERA-registered projects and 678 are against unregistered projects. Orders in 6,645 cases against registered projects and 496 against unregistered projects have been passed. "All these orders are only on paper. Those who opted out of projects are still waiting for a refund and those who didn't are waiting for completion. The statistics are an eyewash, the reality is different," claimed a housing activist.

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