With prospects of foreign participation brightening, the state government is moving to effect comprehensive reforms in the housing sector.
As a first step, it has passed a Bill to streamline building property promotion. It makes promoters more accountable to apartment-buyers and gives a lot of power to the administration to rein them in. In effect, it forms part of the government’s new housing policy.
The West Bengal Building (Regulation and Transfer by Promoters) Bill has been sent for the President’s assent two months ago.
A few companies in Singapore and Malayasia have evinced interest in providing funds and technology for housing and infrastructure like roads in Calcutta and elsewhere, officials of the housing department announced.
“Once we get the President’s nod, a builder who is not registered with the government will not be able to construct any building for sale. The new law also makes violation of the legislation by the promoter a cognisable offence and he or she will be arrested and tried,” asserted P.K. Gupta, deputy secretary in the housing department and authorised officer of the Promoters’ Act.
He said the government will publish the names of registered promoters and will also make buyers aware about their rights and what they should ensure.
The President last week gave his approval to another new legislation — an amendment to the West Bengal Apartment Ownership Act, 1972, which was designed as part of the housing reforms. This new Act provides controlling guidelines on how flat-owners should maintain their buildings and says that in case of disputes, the government will intervene.
Officials said the new law, awaiting the President’s approval, will also offer a fair deal to apartment-buyers. “Once it is implemented, we can demolish any complete structure if it is found to have been built by an unregistered promoter, without proper sanction from the housing department,” housing secretary Sarojendra Pande said on Thursday.
Also, if a registered builder fails to comply with any of the agreements with the buyer of a apartment, the government can intervene and demolish the structure, cancel the registration and also take the promoter to a criminal court.
The jurisdiction of the new Act will initially encompass Calcutta, Behala, Garden Reach, Jadavpur, Lake Town, Rajarhat, Salt Lake and Howrah. Later, North 24-Parganas and Hooghly will come under its purview.