Though more than two months have passed since Supreme Court has struck down West Bengal’s own real estate regulation legislation as unconstitutional, the state has left the regulatory space in the real estate sector a vacuum and has not implemented the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016, a central law. “The vacuum in the state is not in the interest of the vast number of potential purchasers of dwelling units. It has left the buyers in immense difficulty,” Abhay Upadhyay, president of Forum for People’s Collective Efforts, a body of homebuyers told Money9.
Interestingly, the website for West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act “hira.wb.gov.in” became unresponsive on July 22.
On behalf of the forum, Upadhyay shot off a letter to Durga Shankar Mishra, the Union secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs ministry on July 17.
In the letter he urged the ministry to take up the issue with the Mamata Banerjee government so that RERA is implemented in the state without delay.
In May, the apex court had described West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act as unconstitutional.
Though RERA was designed to regulate the completely unregulated real estate market, the legislation was never enacted in West Bengal with the state government introducing its own WBHIRA.
“Such an indefinite adjournment is causing immense hardship to home buyers as justice is being delayed and those considering filing fresh cases have nowhere to go,” wrote Upadhyay in his letter.
“It was imperative upon the State of West Bengal to take immediate necessary steps to implement the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and constitute the Regulatory Authority, Appellate Tribunal and Adjudicating Officer, and also to make subordinate rules and host a platform for detailed project/agent information under the Act, in letter and spirit envisaged under RERA,” the two-page letter said.
The forum is an active campaigner for rights of real estate buyers and have maintained that even the Central RERA is yet to address the rights of the buyers who continue to suffer at the hands of the developers.
One of the gaps that the forum has highlighted is the extension of deadlines for projects for developers.
In a bid to boost the real estate market, the West Bengal government has reduced the stamp duty on registration of real estate both in urban and rural areas. It has also reduced circle rates to bring down prices to give a fillip to purchase of dwelling units.
The government reduced stamp duty by 2 percentage points and decreased the circle rate by as much as 10%.
It would benefit anyone seeking to buy/take on lease a piece of land, house or a flat.
According to the announcement made during the state budget this month, the new rates will be 4% in cities and 3% in villages. If the value of the property is more than Rs 1 crore, it attracts an additional 1 percentage point of stamp duty.
The reduced rates will be applicable until October 31, 2021.
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