Sunday, July 10, 2016

Police Raj Over Builder Raj !

“Real Estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full, & managed with reasonable care, it’s the safest investment on the earth”... Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, commonly known as FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the President of the United States from 1933 to 1945. Good Roosevelt was USA President & that’s why he is allowed to make above statement as USA is Land of Opportunities; had our Prime Minister or Chief Minister had made such statement then I can’t imagine what news media as well social media would have made of him for glorifying real estate! As in our country builders are supposed to be the taboo of the society, agreed all need the builders for building their homes yet they are to be bashed up in public, yes that’s what builders deserve is what society feel. Obviously no politician can openly praise builders or real estate is the scene here & our State isn’t exception to this fact! Icing on the top is a recent circular, no its not by Urban Development or Revenue, the departments which are supposed to control real estate, but this time the circular is by none other than top boss of Police Department & it’s to make aware of every police station in charge to be tough against the builders who drifts away from the law of from their responsibility which they are bind under MOFA i.e. Maharashtra Ownership Flat Act!
The circular which has gone viral on social media for individual interests i.e. builder’s associations are panicked & they are going through it as last nail hit in the already sorry state industry; while association like “Grahak Panchayt” are happy considering the circular as victory in their fight against builders of whole thousands of clients are victims for various reason. While I can’t comment on reaction of police stations in charge as they have their own reasons to be happy getting aware about their power over the builders by this circular, it’s important to look in the background of this so called circular by Police department which surely has made builders run for their life! The circular is by Director General of Police & its referred to all the Police Commissioner’s as well SP’s ordering them to get complaints related to delay in possession of flats or violation from the commitments or illegal construction, registered at priority level against the builders & take strict action also, this is under purview of MOFA & file the offense of crime against such builders. These instructions are supposed to go to every police station level under the Commissionaire or SP's in respective cities in the State.

On prim a-fascia it’s harmless as it doesn’t say anything new as these provisions must be there in law is what I assume yet in the history of real estate first time police dept has come up with such a circular is a fact & reason can’t be that suddenly real estate has gone bad to worst! There is lot below the surface than it looks to the eyes of a commoner. Agreed there has been maximum numbers of complaints against builders in consumer forum than any other industry but then real estate is different kind of industry than normal production industry is also a fact. I am not backing builders not saying that clients haven’t been suffered, yet there are defaulters but why it is so, has anybody thought of? Real estate is the only product which client has to pay today & deliver of product gets to him after two or three years, in any other industry you pay on delivery even a costliest car like Ferrari too, one pays at time of deliver major amount. Here in real estate the builder has to pay full from his own pocket to buy the land & then again pay for getting all the plans sanctioned paying every premium as well tax to most govt departments. No bank finances to a real estate firm for land buying or plan sanctioning; now after this the builder launches his project & if the project is of hundred flats & just twenty flats get booked then also he has to complete the project by his own finances, this is what expected from the builder. In between there are hundreds of uncertainty factors which are not in control of the developer & it includes Environment Clearance type Govt NOC’s to obtaining material in time; like recently for nearly four months there was shortage of sand in the market as State Govt hasn’t cleared auctions of the sand lots! Such all obstacles are there in fulfilling the committed possession dates. Joke is the banks which are jumping to give loans to the end user the same banks curtail their funding when it’s financing to the developer itself. Now how can he complete hundred flat projects on booking of twenty flats? 

Here many will say that’s builder’s problem or complete the project & then take booking! Simple, this may look, but isn’t viable financially as after loading all financial heads the final costing at which the flats will be open to sale won’t be affordable for which again the Govt & media keep blaming the builders only!
Then there are so many lacuna's in planning due to development control rules as well policies which keeps changing & on top of it obtaining various NOC’s from every known dept at every stage of the building! All this, the builder has to tackle & if he is earning money then every business is to earn money only yet it’s the builder who is on radar of all as a bad guy. Here most people will ask if it’s so then why are still so many people in real estate yet, why they haven’t quit. Well, that time isn’t long with all such attitude as in making home affordable we are making being builder in itself unaffordable! I am not saying don’t punish builders who has deliberately made their clients suffer rather it’s the bad entity in real estate has to be thrown away but the way our Govt has chosen isn’t a right way is what I want to put forward.

As real estate is dependent on too many factors take simple aspect like material purchase; in cities like Pune & Mumbai in real estate exists chains of all ill elements joined together especially in material supply & contracting; & you are forced to buy a particular material from one single source in a particular area or location. For e.g. sand, you have to purchase it from one single person & that guy doesn’t allow any other supplier in his jurisdiction, obviously he is under protection of some Bhai or political leader & local police knows this nexus yet they don’t interfere, so there is no control on quality of the sand he supplies. Any rejection of the sand for quality norms can lead to serious events even beating up of site staff too! In such case if the construction quality gets damaged, is builder alone responsible? And trust me sand is just one example, right from security service contract to excavation type works everywhere this Bhai raj is there! I know here people will say why don’t the builders go to police? Well, try it by your own self is what I will appeal as in our country how many people on their own goes to police to solve the problem? Same is happening on from of simple things like unloading of material at site which is governed by Mathadi Unions, its extortion actually!  

Then come the illegal constructions issue; no building is build overnight so if it’s illegal then what the concerned governing authority is doing during the construction? Why police isn’t taking action against such non functional authorities making them also party to the crime? Why wait till some client files a complaint? So many questions are aligned with the said circular in my mind not as a builder but as a common man! Few years back a building collapsed in Ambegaon, a southern suburb of city & a survey was undertaken by the collector-ate for illegal building, what happened to its outcome is still not known to anybody? Why no action is being taken about it by police when even there is life loss & there can be many such in future? Hundreds of causalities occur due to poor maintenance of MSEB live wires or accidents causing deaths of two wheeler riders because of poor road works or road digging, so why till now no one has been arrested by the police leave apart a circular? Just because a developer is available so hold him & screw him is the best way to make common people happy!

And then there are thousands of residents who don’t play their maintenance charges for the services they are enjoying, what action we are going to take about such people? Another aspect is many a times clients also makes his builder suffer for not paying in time as well threatens & blackmail for many issues in the name of  law, that’ also should be covered in such laws. My point is in any industry there are good people & bad people, & if bad people needs to be punished then the system if not reward good people but at least protect them from suffering! There should not be misuse of the DG’s circular with every police station summoning every builder in their jurisdiction for obvious reasons instead giving justice to the real sufferer!

With all due respect if this decision has been taken keeping not just elections ahead in all the cities where builder raj is significant but to make the life of common man better, then what about the local governing bodies failing repeatedly in their duty to give proper services to the residents of these cities? Again I am not trying to avoid blame on builders at fault or diverting the subject but look around, we don’t have proper roads, poor public transport, no water supply lines, no drainage & all of this is supposed to be part of the home which a builder gets sanctioned from the local authority. So if the builder is supposed to be arrested under some section of law for cheating his clients with false commitments then why not same law is being applied to local governing bodies which are also defaulting from their responsibilities for providing proper infrastructure to the very residents in these buildings?  
Now I only hope for better future of Real Estate, as first there was MOFA to control the Industry, then came RERA, now a letter from Director General of Police asking every police officer to control builders, so what next? Apply Martial Law & bring Army with AK 47 to punish builders in the name of protection of common man! Well by that time no sane person will be left in real estate & those who will be remaining will be like cockroach category i.e. whatever pesticides you bring in, the cockroach will digest & survive to make real estate worst; I think that’s what our Govt wants!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

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