Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wake Up, Chief Minister of Maharashtra! It's Your Duty to Protect the Flat Buyers in Hubtown!!

Helping 3,000+ Hubtown Flat Buyers 
to Takeover & Complete the Projects 
is the Duty of State Government 
- says Mr. Vijay Kumbhar, RTI Activist!


What Can Flat Buyers Do When a Builder Does Not Complete a Project?




In 2009, Hubtown Ltd. launched 3 affordable housing projects for urban middle class. Ackruti Hubtown Countrywoods Kondhwa in Pune. Hubtown Greenwoods at Thane. And, Hubtown Gardenia at Mira Road in Mumbai.

Now, it's 2014, even 5 years after the launch, Hubtown Ltd. hasn't completed these 3 projects.

One & half year ago, 32 Flat buyers in Ackruti Hubtown Countrywoods had gone to Consumer Court for compensation for delayed possession. In their flat agreement - possession was promised in 2010 - 2012. On this 15th March 2014, there is a final hearing of their case.

Hundreds of flat buyers in Ackruti Hubtown Gardenia at Mira Road, a couple of months ago, organised protest march & demonstration for possession of their flats. "I will commit suicide if Hubtown doesn't give possession of my flat" - a lady flat buyer in Hubtown Gardenia had announced.

Besides, demonstration - protest & consumer court,  these 3000+ flat buyers in 3 Hubtown projects can file criminal complaint against Hubtown Ltd.,.

LIke the flat buyers in DLF Park Palace & Belaire, these 3,000+ Hubtown flat buyers can go to Competition Commission of India (www.cci.gov.in).

What about Complete  & True Ownership of a Flat?



(To View More Photos - Put Your Cursor Over the Current Photo)

But, what about the completion of these 3 Hubtown projects?

Penalising the builder and getting compensation is not enough.

Even getting possession of your flat is just a first step. Not the end.

These 3,000+ flat buyers should become the true owners of their properties.

These 3,000+ flat buyers have paid to Hubtown for the true ownership of their flats.

To become a true owner Hubtown Ltd. must complete the project & handover the ownership to the Co-Op Housing Society of the flat buyers.

These 3,000+ flat buyers can get true value of the money they have paid for their flats - only when these 3 projects are hundred percent complete with completion & occupancy certificate, all amenities & essential basic infrastructural services are operational.

As per the current market trend, Hubtown Ltd. will do the conveyance deed and handover the ownership of the buildings & the plot of land of the entire project to these 3,000+ flat buyers only when the entire project is complete.

It means that, when the builder is not in a position to complete the project - flat buyers can not become true owners of their flats. They don't get  their money's worth.

Flat Buyers, Takeover & Complete the Project on Your Own!


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"But what can property buyers do to complete the project?," I asked Mr. Kedar Vanjape of Kedar Vanjape Developers Pvt. Ltd.

"When flat buyers sign flat agreement they become deemed owners of the project. So, if the builder is not in a position to complete the project - it's flat buyers' right to takeover the project and complete it on their own - with the help of the banks which have provided home loans to them!," Kedar said.

Banks are not only the stake holders!

Government of Maharashtra is also a party. Government of Maharashtra has collected stamp duty, registration charges & VAT from these 3,000+ flat buyers!

Government of the People for the People, by the People!


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"Isn't it the duty of Government of Maharashtra to help these flat buyers to become true owners of these projects?," I asked Mr. Vijay Kumbhar, RTI Activist.

"Yes! It is the duty of State Government to protect citizens' rights!," Mr. Kumbhar said.

"What should these 3,000+ flat buyers do to get help from Maharashtra Government?," I asked.

"Ideally, Government should intervene on it's own. Because protecting citizens' rights is Government's responsibility. But, when the Government is blind & deaf  - when it doesn't acts on it's own - unfortunately, citizens have to become proactive and remind the government it's duties," said Mr. Vijay Kumbhar.

"Proactive means what? Demonstration - protest march - morcha - uposhan - hunger strike - satyagraha -  atmadahan - self immolation - setting oneself on fire - what should these 3,000+ flat buyers  do?," I asked.

"I said - become proactive. I didn't say 'harm yourself'! I said - remind the government it's duties. I didn't say 'destroy yourself'! Are you aware that you - the citizens - are the owners of this country? Not the elected representative - who form the government - but you - the citizens - who elect this Government - are the owners of this country?," Mr. Kumbhar said.

"True! But would the government listen?," I asked.

"What else can government do? If you tell in a proper way - government must listen and act. Government can't avoid it's constitutional responsibilities  & duties," said Mr. Kumbhar.

"What do you mean by proper way?," I asked.

"The right person in the government should realize that if he doesn't do what you are asking for - he would be in trouble!," Mr. Kumbhar said and added that RTI could be one way to remind the right person in the government about his duties & responsibilities.

Not only that! Mr. Vijay Kumbhar offered his guidance to these 3,000+ flat buyers of Hubtown.

Shri Prithviraj Chavan - The Protector of Home Buyers


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After talking to Mr. Vijay Kumbhar, who has single-handedly reminded Mr. Manohar Joshi, then chief minister of Maharashtra, about his duties & responsibilities, I was convinced that Government of Maharashtra has no option but to help these 3,000+ flat buyers to takeover & complete the projects on their own.

In fact, principally, Government of Maharashtra has already accepted that when the builder is not in a position to complete the project, the flat buyers have a right to takeover & complete it on their own.

The Maharashtra Housing (Regulation and Development) Bill 2012 - which was presented in Maharashtra Assembly had an important clause about the abandoned projects. As per the news in Indian Express, the clause was -
If the housing regulator is satisfied that the builder is unable to complete a project, it can pass an order forming a legal entity comprising 60 per cent of the buyers, appointing this entity as an escrow agent for taking over possession of the building, directing the transfer of the retained flats in the name of the escrow agent within a prescribed period and authorising the escrow agent to appoint contractors, consultants and other agencies required to complete the construction and obtain occupation certificate.

Now, The President of India has given his assent to housing bill 2012 and Maharashtra has become first state in India which got a housing regulator. In the second half of 2014, Government of Maharashtra will establish the housing regulatory authority.

At this point of time, it is not clear whether this Housing Regulatory Authority can do anything for these 3,000+ flat buyers in 3 incomplete Hubtown projects - launched in 2009.

But, the person who was instrumental in formulation of Maharashtra Housing (Regulation & Development) Bill 2012 can do a lot. Because this person is non other than Chief Minister of Maharashtra - Shri. Prithviraj Chavan - whose portfolio includes - Urban Development, Housing, Law & Judiciary!

In the letter requesting Union Minister for Housing to get president's assent to Maharashtra Housing Bill, Mr. Prithviraj Chavan has written -
The Bill will go a long way in safeguarding the interests of home buyers and ensuring transparency in property deals.

The biggest benefit of the Bill is that home buyers and investors can lodge complaints against builders (in cases of violations and non-compliance of agreement) to a regulatory authority, which will study the issue and pass an order within three months of the complaint being lodged.
At this point of time, unfortunately, Housing Regulatory Authority & Housing Appellate Tribunal is not yet formed. So what? The Chief Minister of Maharashtra will not refuse to protect these 3,000+ flat buyers in 3 Hubtown projects.

After all, the day Mr. Prithviraj Chavan became Chief Minister of Maharashtra, he has done his best to break powerful builder politician nexus (more powerful than Sugar Lobby in Maharashtra!).

In the last four years, CM of Maharashtra has tried his best to free home buyers from the clutches of builders. It was he who announced that builder's NOC is not required while selling the flat.

CM also started the drive of deemed conveyance in Maharashtra. Because of this drive, by December 2014, thousands of cooperative housing societies can become owners of the land & buildings in their societies. Congratulating Chief Minister for this initiative, Mr. Sanjay Nirupam has said, "‘This landmark decision will go a long way in protecting the interest of the common man against the powerful builder lobby"

By alerting the Development Rules (DC Rules), Chief Minister has curtailed the corrupt practices of Mumbai builders. These builders were using "flower beds, voids, terraces and lily ponds" to loot the home buyers & to dupe the State & Municipal governments.

CM Of Maharashtra changed the development rules in all municipal corporations in the state and made it compulsory for the builders to construct 20 per cent smaller flats  (300 to 500 sq.ft.) for economically weaker section  -  when the plot is 2,000 square meter or larger in size. Mr. Chavan said that this decision was taken to ensure that economically backward section too can get an opportunity to buy a home in upmarket areas in Pune & Mumbai.  

Mr. Prithviraj Chavan's tough stand against 10 FSI offered to builders for rehabilitating slum dwellers in Kothrud & Kalyani Nagar in Pune became a point of friction between the Congress and its alliance partner, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

According to India Today, from  day one, Mr. Chief Minister of Maharashtra has been going against the unholy nexus of builders, politicians & bureaucrats and trying to help the home buyers by regulating real estate business.

And, now, in the year of general elections, these 3,000+ flat buyers in Hubtown project are giving an opportunity to Shri Prithviraj Chavan, to take a solid step and leave a permanent mark as the protector of upwardly mobile young first time urban middle class home buyers in Maharashtra!

Related Stories:


1) 32 Flat Buyers & Hubtown Countrywoods - David & Goliath

2) What can 3,000 flat buyers of Ackruti Hubtown do?

3) What happens if a bank takes over a housing project? 

4) Ivy Estate Wagholi to Start Giving Possession of Flats!

5) Get Compensation for Delayed Possession of Flat in Ivy Estate Wagholi

6) Kolte-Patil Developers - Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil

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