Wednesday, April 24, 2024

TS RERA focussed on New thinking Paradigm

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A month after taking charge as the first Chairperson of the Telangana State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (TSRERA), N. Satyanarayana, is busy bringing in a new thinking paradigm as mandated by the government. In a conversation with ‘The Pioneer,’ he speaks about what TSRERA is doing.

What was the mandate given to you?
RERA was established as per the 2016 Act and came into force on March 26, 2016. All real estate projects approved or ongoing on January 1, 2017, come under the purview of RERA. There are three institutions to implement RERA, one is RERA, the adjudicatory machinery and the appellate tribunal. We have to regulate and promote the real estate sector. 9,556 projects are registered with RERA. Telangana is a progressive state and there is a paradigm shift in governance and decentralisation. So we must be user-centric and hassle-free. Minister KTR asked us to take expert agency services to usher in a new thinking paradigm. The advantage of technology is huge. Best practices were studied as part of it.

What are your focus areas and which states have you studied?
The major focus area is speedy registration as we have to be promoter and developer-friendly. The symmetry of information needs to be provided to all stakeholders. So we are working on IT. There is a lot of advancement in technology and we will use things like data analytics to get into that and system pop-up alerts. I studied the Delhi, Maharashtra, UP, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka RERA. Based on this, I submitted a report to the government. First, for staff sanction for which we got stop-gap arrangements. Then for taking space because we need to have courts to conduct hearings. We appointed an adjudicating officer, and a legal team and revenue title aspects have been taken. Training and orientation will start. The IT team was recently created. We entered into an agreement with the Centre for Good Governance and we will have IT modules. Wherever it is warranted we are engaging with ASCI for field analysis reports.

How will you integrate IT into RERA?
Taking customer complaints online is in progress, may be we will have it soon. We took the help of TSTS for hearings as it is the only authority in the state. So we want to listen in hybrid mode for those from districts. I learnt in Maharashtra there is a conciliatory form where issues can be done win-win. From the consumers and promoters/developers, the system-selected person will sit on the panel and amicably resolve the problem. Section 32G will help us to do this. We have prepared a status paper on this. I am actually undertaking a consultation process with all stakeholders like consumers who are mostly associations and builders’ associations. I am dealing with academic researchers through ASCI. Different views will be taken up and we want to do more graduation than Maharashtra.

Has the pace of clearing permissions increased?
There were 380 backlog applications for permission when I took up the role. I disposed of all of them in 15 days. Granting permission has a process and it goes through various levels. There is one month provision in the Act, but I am taking 15 days on average. If there is any gap in granting permission, we will return. If they cannot explain, we will issue a show cause and then reject. So far, I have returned 25 for gaps in legal documents, advocate certificate, five years balance sheets and title extent among others.

How many complaints are currently being heard?
Clearing complaints is one of the immediate focus areas. There are 1,000 complaints from 2017. I am hearing around 330. Sometimes due to lack of awareness stakeholders raise complaints. Now we get on average 30 to 40 complaints. Some are sold without registration and permission. Most of the complaints of around 150 are related to not completing the project or quality. The builder promised something, but it was not delivered.

How do you want to address the issue of UDS and prelaunch offers?
Any prelaunch offer, undivided share of land, or expression of interest sales are not permissible and are a punishable offence. Penalties of Rs 15 crore were levied after RERA started in the state on about 700 projects. After I took charge of RERA I am hearing about 12 cases. My appeal to home buyers is not to go by these offers. To promoters and developers, this will call for a penalty which is 10% of the total cost of the project. If repeated another 10% penalty can be imposed. We can also impose three years imprisonment. We have given notices to a few. Once they submit their replies we will take action accordingly.

Victims of Sahithi Infra are protesting. How are you dealing with Sahithi & Vasavi issues?
In the case of Sahithi, we got complaints and people came to meet me. We heard them twice now and even today there was a hearing. Next month there is a hearing. May be shortly we will examine the case as per the provisions of the Act and will take action. In the case of Vasavi, they went to the High Court and it came to us. The hearing is on August 22 as the advocate of the complainant wanted time. We will examine the additional information once it is submitted and hear it as we have a direction from the court.

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