Punjab’s realty bites

THE wait for many people who have invested their hard-earned money and life savings into realty projects that promise dream homes in Punjab seems to be never-ending. Several private builders — mostly in Mohali — have defaulted on paying dues to the government worth a whopping

Rs 700 crore, leading to hurdles in getting project clearances. In fact, these projects have been approved by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and it is this point that the builders highlight in their advertisements to woo prospective clients. The disclosure clause listing pending clearances is buried in the fine print, if at all it is mentioned.

Despite repeated reminders and grant of extensions to the defaulting firms over the past few years, huge amounts are outstanding for external development charges, change of land use and licence fee. And while the builder lobby is a mighty pressure group in the corridors of power and tends to take considerable leeway, repeated offences by some developers have led the Punjab Department of Housing and Urban Development to take concrete action. It has directed the Revenue Department to stop the registration of properties of such real estate projects. In certain cases, post-dated cheques deposited by the builders to clear their dues have bounced and they are facing due legal action.

The authorities have been releasing lists of big defaulters time and again for over a decade now. They have issued notices to hundreds of realtors and even threatened to cancel their licences in case of non-compliance. It seems to have had little effect on the habitual offenders. There has to be a better way to mitigate the suffering of the beleaguered buyers awaiting possession of their homes.


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