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rera: Homebuyers concerned over no representation in West Bengal RERA implementation committee

Pan-India homebuyers’ body, the Forum for People’s Collective Efforts (FPCE), has raised concerns over formation and structure of the West Bengal housing department’s committee for implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016 and the West Bengal Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Rules, 2021.

The state government had last week constituted a nine-member West Bengal State Working Committee on WBRERA. The committee includes two members from the state government’s housing department, three from the West Bengal real estate regulatory authority and four real estate developers operating in the state.

Debasis Ghosh, joint secretary of the state’s housing department and the president of real estate developers’ body CREDAI-Bengal, will be the joint convenors of this committee.

FPCE has raised concerns over the structure of this committee, citing no representation for homebuyers and a skewed strength of real estate developers even as the committee is aiming for a smooth implementation of the Act and rules.

“RERA was conceptualised to protect the homebuyers’ interest,” said Abhay Upadhyay, president of FPCE. “The sector lacks transparency and malpractices continue as builders have managed to establish their nexus even in the current regime of RERA.”

Upadhyay said the recent notification “unfortunately” and “very sadly” confirms this belief wherein the most important stakeholder has not all been considered despite them being the sufferers.

According to Upadhyay, who is a member of the Central Advisory Council, RERA under the ministry of housing and urban affairs, it is needless to highlight that its consumers should be empowered and they should have been the part of this committee to ensure effective implementation of the RERA.In December, the WBRERA was finally set up and started working nearly 18 months after the Supreme Court struck down the state’s own legislation, West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act, 2017 (WBHIRA), holding it unconstitutional and paving the way for implementation of RERA in the state. In February 2022, the apex court had directed the state to implement RERA immediately.

In August, FPCE had written to the state’s chief minister to intervene and issue necessary directions on top priority to ensure fully operational and functional RERA and Real Estate Appellate Tribunal under the central Act.

It had raised concerns over the launches and sales of projects without registration in the state. FPCE had also raised issues like continuing malpractices including accepting more than 10% money from homebuyers without executing builder-buyer agreement, diverting funds from the projects, changing sanctioned plan and specifications after projects had been sold without taking written consent from two-third of allottees for gains.

The homebuyers’ body has been pushing for the implementation of the central Act in the state and has been in constant dialogue with the ministry of housing and urban affairs for the same. It had also moved the Supreme Court against the WBHIRA.

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