With scores of home buyers in Noida and Greater Noida taking to the streets, protesting the lack of basic amenities in group housing societies and delay in possession of flats, the last two months have seen the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA), and Noida Authority working on a mechanism to address the issues. The measures include uploading the list of group housing projects on their websites with the status of their completion, conducting more inspection rounds and even holding meetings with both parties.
In April, Noida Authority constituted a committee to look into grievances raised home buyers in Amrapali Sapphire housing project after a section of investors took to social media to voice their concerns. The group sent messages to the realtor’s brand ambassador, cricketer M S Dhoni, highlighting the absence of facilities promised by the group – poor quality of water supply, exorbitant power charges, among others. While the Amrapali management had asked for a three-month period to complete pending work and address investors’ concerns, the Authority formed committee to look into these complaints.
Elaborating on the nature of the issue, a NOIDA Authority official said, “The problem started with Amrapali Sapphire mainly having problems when they realised stamp duty during registration will increase by two per cent and the burden will fall on them. The stand of the home buyers was that they had already paid for the flat but they did not get possession.”
The Authority also formed teams to carry out weekly checks of various group housing projects around the same time. While protests by investors in Amrapali Sapphire projects seemed to have triggered a series of similar demonstrations by other home buyers, NOIDA Authority officials maintained the issue was nearly half of these projects had not received occupation certificates. “Thousands of buyers have not been able to register their flats due to non-payment of land dues by builders. After land is allotted to them for these residential projects, builders are expected to pay certain sum to the Authority. They have not been able to pay around Rs 300 crore as land dues. This amount needs to be paid in order to receive occupation certificates. If they do not have an occupation certificate, they will not be able to get possession of the flat. They will not be able to transfer ownership of these flats to the buyers. For all these 117 projects, a sum of Rs 7,200 crore as land dues needs to be paid to the Authority. Builders have maintained that some sort of a scheme should be brought in under which this sum can be paid in installments. We are looking at these concerns and meetings are being held with realtors to resolve the issue. We have also tried to bring some relief to them by easing out the payment process,” the official added.
“Once the application for group housing projects are invited, allotment takes place. According to the conditions, the builders are expected to pay a certain sum of money to the Authority and after the lease is executed, they roll out schemes for group housing and buyers start investing in these properties. The builder has an agreement with the Authority and they are required to submit building blueprint — with the proposed facilities, the firefighting mechanism, time schedule for completion of these projects, etc — to the Authority for approval,” he said.
Following the submission of the proposed construction plan of the project, a builder is required to approach the Authority for completion certificates so that the dwelling units can be handed over to buyers. “Before a completion certificate is issued, the Authority looks into whether plans follow the required building bylaws and other norms. The problem arose when the builders, for one reason or another, could not complete projects on time, or completed the construction and handed over flats without getting the necessary clearances, making this possession illegal. From the Authority’s side, we need to check if the building blueprint they had provided and the facilities they had promised at the site are there before issuing completion certificates… and then possession can take place legally. There are many builders who have not completed the formalities… We are holding meetings with not just investors but also builders to sort these problems. Interaction between developers and buyers are also being facilitated,” he said.
With over 90 per cent of group housing projects which were allotted land in 2011 in Greater Noida facing similar issues, GNIDA officials said mid-term reviews of these projects are likely to be conducted to ensure home buyers are not left in the lurch. “Building by-laws have been violated at several group housing project sites. At some places, the prescribed distance between two towers has not been maintained and balconies have been built, fire safety norms have been overlooked.
To ensure norms are followed, we are considering conducting mid-term reviews. Instead of inspection taking place when the builder approaches us for completion certificates, we are looking at carrying out such checks mid-term,” says PC Gupta, Additional CEO, GNIDA.