Promoter’s sin, owner’s headache. Owners and residents of more than 200,000 apartments in the city face the prospect of going without water — and living in muck and mire — if they fail to pay for the violation of civic rules by the promoter who built them their homes.
The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) intends to disconnect the waterlines and sewerlines and seal the deep tube-wells that come with the older buildings (before digging them was not an offence) if the owners do not fork out substantial sums to regularise the rule violations.
Municipal commissioner Debasis Som has already issued a public notification, alerting owners and residents of the consequences they face unless they regularise the sins of their promoters. His deadline for sending in applications ends on Friday.
But, of the the 200,000-odd families who find themselves on the verge of losing water for no fault of their own, only a few hundred have applied till date. All apartments sold by promoters before obtaining the “completion certificate” will come under the purview of the civic authorities’ action, say officials.
Even promoters and the CMC’s licensed building surveyors and empanelled structural engineers have been asked to apply for the buildings they may have constructed earlier but for which no “occupancy certificates” were obtained before handing over possession to the purchasers. Som’s notification has also warned the licensed building surveyors and the empanelled structural engineers that they face blacklisting by the CMC if they fail to meet the Friday deadline.
The notification, however, has driven a wedge in the CMC itself. One set asks why “unsuspecting” flat-buyers should be made to pay for the ring of corruption — the promoter, the local councillor and the bribe-taking civic official — that lets rules be flouted. But there are others who believe the buyer is not always the victim and that he, too, takes advantage of violations of rules by haggling over the price.
All plans are sanctioned in the name of a landlord or a housing cooperative and it is the buyer’s onus to obtain the completion certificate before the flat is handed over to him. A promoter’s or a developer’s involvement is for a limited period, argue officials, pin-pointing the difficulty the CMC is going to have if it wants to zero in on the errant promoters and developers.