The Central Advisory Council (CAC), constituted under the RERA Act, 2016, will meet on April 12 to discuss measures to ensure structural safety in high-rise buildings and prevent loss of life as well as property, besides considering a proposal to set up a high-level panel to address the issue of stalled projects.
The council, chaired by Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, will consider measures like physical inspection of projects during construction and structural audit at regular intervals.
Homebuyers’ body Forum for People’s Collective Efforts (FPCE) president Abhay Upadhyay said in a statement that the agenda for the upcoming CAC meeting shows that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is serious and keen to address all major concerns not only in the implementation of RERA but also in providing resolution for incomplete legacy stalled projects.
There are 30 members in the panel which includes Niti Aayog CEO and secretaries of many ministries. FPCE president as well as presidents of realtors’ body CREDAI and Naredco are also members of the council.
The third meeting of the CAC will also discuss the implementation status in compliance to the provisions of the RERA by states/Union Territories (UTs), tweaking in the rules framed by states/UTs and strengthening of RERA to ensure its effective implementation.
As per the agenda, the CAC will deliberate upon constitution of committee for resolution of legacy stalled projects.
“Recently, there have been reports of incidents related to structural safety in multi-storey apartments. Though RERA mandates the promoters to rectify the structural defects highlighted within a period of 5 years from the date of possession, some provisions related to structural safety may be deliberated to ensure further safety of high-rise buildings and to prevent loss of life and property,” the agenda note said.
These provisions may include physical inspection of projects during construction, structural audit by reputed institutes on regular intervals, declaration of structural safety by promoter before applying for completion or occupancy certificate etc., it added.
On the stalled projects, the CAC agenda highlighted that the Centre has established the Alternate Investment Fund (AIF)- Special Window for Affordable and Mid-Income Housing Fund (SWAMIH) investment fund of Rs 25,000 crore to provide last mile funding for projects.
The fund is being provided to projects that are net-worth positive and registered under RERA, including those projects that have been declared as Non-Performing Assets (NPAs), or are pending proceedings before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
As on February 14 this year, 249 deals aggregating to Rs 23,778 crore have been approved, and this will benefit more than 1,46,946 homebuyers and unlock projects worth Rs 66,163 crore.
“It is evident that this fund has proved to be very instrumental in completing the legacy stalled projects, and is fulfilling the dreams of homebuyers who invested their lifetime savings in these legacy stalled projects which were launched before enactment of RERA,” the agenda said.
Accordingly, the CAC might advise the Centre to constitute a committee in chairmanship of NITI Aayog CEO to deliberate on all the issues related to these legacy stalled projects holistically.
“The committee may comprise representatives from Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, sector’s experts (dealing with stalled projects and insolvency proceedings) and give its recommendations to the central government within two months from date of its constitution,” the agenda said.
The CAC agenda highlighted that all states/UTs have notified rules under RERA except Nagaland, which is under process to notify the rules.
As many as 31 states/UTs have set up Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Regular-25, Interim-06). States like Meghalaya, Sikkim, West Bengal and UT of Ladakh are yet to establish the authority.
In the agenda, it was pointed out that some states have tweaked the provisions of RERA while framing rules under the Act by exempting the registration of ‘ongoing projects’.
The matter was taken up by the housing ministry on several occasions and through various communications.
The CAC in its first meeting on May 14, 2018 deliberated upon the issue of dilution by the states while framing rules under the Act.
As decided in the meeting, the ministry has taken up the matter through various communications. States have been requested to frame rules in consonance with letter and spirit of the Act.
On tweaking of provision by states, Upadhyay said: “We have been raising the issue of dilution in RERA rules by the states due to which many incomplete projects were left out of the ambit of RERA, and also that RERA authorities are unable to enforce their own orders due to which RERA orders became nothing more than a piece of paper.”
Stating that the recent incident of poor construction quality, leading to loss of lives, will also be part of the discussion, he said it is very heartening to see that the ministry has taken up the most burning issues for discussion in the interest of homebuyers.
“We are hopeful that deliberation on such issues in the CAC meeting will ensure that RERA becomes more effective, all stakeholders take the law more seriously and lastly the suffering homebuyers gets ultimate relief,” Upadhyay said.
For stalled projects, he said the proposal to form a committee under the chairmanship of NITI Ayog CEO is a most welcome proposal and shows that the government is keen to ensure completion of remaining incomplete stalled legacy projects also very soon, giving relief to millions of homebuyers.
“We have also come to know that the ministry has accepted our suggestion to live stream the proceedings of CAC meeting on social media platforms to ensure complete transparency,” Upadhyay said.