With a view to ensure transparency in societies seeking to undertake redevelopment projects, the State Co-Operative Department has, for the first time, issued mandatory redevelopment guidelines under section 79 (A) of the Maharashtra Co-operatives act, 1960 for cooperative housing society to follow.
The subject of redevelopment has assumed great significance because in Mumbai, majority of the buildings owned by the Co-Operative Housing Societies are quite old and in a dilapidated state. In case of redevelopment of old buildings which have completed 30 years or are beyond repairs as certified by the Govt. approved architect on the basis of his “Structural Audit”. The structural audit report will determine whether the building should go in for redevelopment or for major repairs. In the absence of the technical report it would not be legally permissible to pass a resolution in the general body meeting.
Complaints of deficiency in executing redevelopment agreements have also started going to Consumer forum are also on the increase and Consumer Forums are taking serious notes with a dent in builder lobby’s highhandedness.
A recent Consumer Forum order reportedly directed a construction company to pay Rs 11.80 lakh as compensation to a 13 member cooperative housing society in Bhandup an Eastern sub-urban locality.
The forum held the concerned builder guilty of deficiency in service for failing to provide amenities that were promised on the redeveloped property.
Accepting the report submitted by an expert firm about inferior quality material used in the construction which led to leakages “There is no doubt the construction was of inferior quality,” the forum observed.
The complaint was filed by Ganesh Cooperative Housing Society, located in Bhandup (E), on December 9, 2010. The society March 24, 2005, it entered into an agreement for redevelopment wherein the builder had agreed to hand over 225-sq-ft flats at no additional charge to each of the members. The members received possession of their flats in December 2008. Within the first year of the possession, the residents realized the builder had cheated them and used inferior quality material for construction, leading to a severe leakage problem. Additionally the builder had neither provided an automatic lift nor points for telephone and cable TV.
Despite repeated requests to remove the deficiencies, the builder kept mum. Alleging that the leakage had severely damaged the flats, the society filed a complaint before the additional district consumer disputes redressal forum.
The developer denied the allegations. It denied that inferior quality construction material had been used during the redevelopment. The builder pointed out that the residents took possession only after expressing their satisfaction with the flats and hence, there was no basis to their claims. But, the forum referred to the agreement that stated the company would provide the amenities claimed by the residents.
– I C Naik