PERIOD OF TRANSITION WILL BE PAINFUL – GAUTAM CHATTERJEE
A leader in implementing RERA, Maharashtra has registered over 35,000 projects, the maximum across the country. Maharashtra RERA Chairperson Gautam Chatterjee spoke to Sapna Srivastava about the key challenges faced by the sector.
What are the key challenges in implementing RERA?
Real estate being so important, the sector had to be brought under some regulations. We are going through a period of transition. A lot of projects will fall to the way side and we will have to do a lot of hand holding to see how these projects get completed. A lot of the projects will require crutches to ensure they are completed soon. All the cases of developers in jail and buyers stranded are the major challenges for me. And these will be the challenges I will always have to deal with till they are completely overcome.
Can RERA Take Over The Unfinished Projects?
In case of stalled or delayed projects, we create a resolution panel comprising homebuyers and a developer representative to interact with banks and potential builders for taking over the project to complete.
Even few buyers exiting from the project, would result in project auction with all buyers taking a huge haircut on their investment in a long drawn out process. In such a scenario, the homebuyer will incur losses on his investment as the builder would have no funds to compensate and will also be left without home. That’s why I say that an allotee should stay put while RERA enables the developer to complete the project.
In most cases, MahaRERA is trying to ensure that all allottees of the project get together and work out the funding gap with some portion of it through the homebuyers pending instalments. I feel only the completion of a real estate project can bring relief to the homebuyers.
Through RERA, we are trying to address the key challenge of information dissymmetry i.e. lack of full knowledge about the project through mandatory disclosures in the public domain.
What about the Delayed Project Approvals and Sanctions?
That is an issue and the regulator should be able to hold every stakeholder accountable for acts of omission and commission. Section 37 gives me powers to issue orders to only three stakeholders- buyers, agents, and promoters. I can summon other agencies for explanation because I have the powers of the civil court. But I do not have the powers to issue orders on them.
What is necessary is that professionalism should come from all stakeholders then we will have the right kind of people as developers who will do all the necessary pre-calculations before the project take off. If this goes smoothly then finances will also start flowing.
What are the Distinctive Features of MahaRERA?
MahaRERA web portal was active right from the day the Act was implemented. In fact I am very proud to say that we function completely paperless with least footfalls. Anyone can just file the application online and fill the details as per the Act or else the application won’t get registered. We have even put in a pin code identification mechanism in the website. Through the pin code search, one can access information of all the registered projects of that area including credentials of the developers.
What are the new developments in MahaRERA?
As Mumbai has majority of SRA and MHADA projects, the talks are on, to bring them under RERA ambit. From December 01, all projects registered with us have been prescribed a new form, 2A. This new addition to the Act would require an engineer to certify every quarter and ensure that the sand, cement, concrete steel etc. used are according to industry standards.
MahaRERA is also ensuring skilling of construction workers by spending 3 crores to create 500 expert trainers. Currently Kushal Credai and the Rustomjee Institute are conducting the training. About. 80 people have passed out and would now train workers at RERA registered projects. Such information of trained workers available on project portal on RERA website. This will increase the saleability of the project as buyers will like to invest in a project being constructed by trained workforce.