“Promoters putting pressure on the right authorities” is critical for completion of projects in Gurugram, and for ensuring basic infrastructure is available to people purchasing houses in the city, Chairman of Haryana Real Estate Regulatory Authority (HRERA) KK Khandelwal noted.
In his opening address at the Indian Express Round Table Conference on Monday, where panelists discussed the ‘Role of RERA in Energising Real Estate Sector in Gurugram’, Khandelwal compared the real estate sector of the past to the Mahabharata, stating that both of these are based on a game of rules and principles.
Just as Krishna chose between these, he said, different parties in the real estate sector used to earlier chose to either follow or not follow both rules and principles, or were partial to one over the other. “After the coming of RERA, one is bound to follow rules and, because now there is a well written statute, there is an awakening and awareness among customers,” he added.
Claiming that the Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) and the regulatory authority created to implement it had led to the city maintaining a “steady pace of sales volume in 2019”, the HRERA Chairman said Gurugram saw a 125 per cent rise in launch of new units in the second quarter of 2019, compared to the same period the year before. Similarly, he claimed sales rose by “around 5 per cent” and prices fell marginally by 4 per cent, and unsold inventory reduced by 14 per cent.
“Large number of irregularities which were in practice are now more or less absent. Earlier also, there were very good promoters. They launched projects … there was no difference between commitment and delivery … Some of the people, who may not be in real sense imbibing the principles of real estate got into this business and gave bad name to the total industry. After coming into force of RERA, confidence of buyers has been restored,” said Khandelwal, warning, however, that “bad promoters” should be “taught a lesson” so as to prevent a “perilous” impact on real estate growth.
In a panel discussion following Khandelwal’s address, however, several developers spoke of their own problems with development authorities, saying these too were responsible for delays in giving possession and services to allottees. Navin Raheja, CMD, Raheja Group, classified developers in Gurugram into two groups — the “lucky” ones “on the left side of the National Highway, till Rajiv Chowk”, and the “unlucky” ones, on the right side of the highway and beyond this junction. The latter stretch is known for lack of accessibility and infrastructure, with many residents who bought units there running from pillar to post to procure basic services.
“Why should customers go and buy if there is no accessibility? It’s a pain for customers, they have given money in 2007 … They gave money for an ecosystem, a house with water, electricity, sewer line, all social infrastructure, schools,” said Raheja.
His counterpart at Central Park, Amarjit Bakshi, however, laid the blame for this, and the lack of demand created by it, squarely on other factors. “If demand is not coming up, it is not because of RERA, they have already created the trust. There are other factors like economics … At the same time, as the powers and authorities are not centralised, there is no one person you can hold responsible.”
Khandelwal, meanwhile, stressed the need for promoters to build pressure on the government to provide these services, while rebuking them for failing to take this into consideration while obtaining licenses. “When you go to Town and Country Planning for a license, you go as a businessman … you know that this is the problem, the government is sluggish … in spite of that, you go there and say you will provide everything … I fully agree with you that development authorities have failed to provide external development services … We have to find solutions to this with the people who have to do this work … Promoters have to push this, and maintain pressure on the government.”
Other panelists at the event, which was moderated by Sandeep Singh, Associate Editor, Business Bureau, The Indian Express, included Samir Kumar and Subhash Chander Kush, both members of HRERA, as well as Digbijoy Bhowmik, sector lead—urban transportation, infrastructure government and healthcare, KPMG.
Bhowmik said a lack of “vision” was equally responsible for the chaos that prevails along stretches like Dwarka Expressway, adding that RERA is apart from other acts of its kind, since it focuses on development of the sector as well, and not just regulation.
“This act is not only about regulating, it is also about developing the sector, about how real estate as an industry should evolve, with respect to the current situation in the market. The job of the authority is not simply protecting the customers,” said Bhowmik.
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