NEW DELHI(PTI): Firing yet another salvo at Narendra Modi government, Rahul Gandhi on Saturday claimed it had diluted provisions of Real Estate Regulatory Authority Bill making the legislation pro-builders from being pro-buyers.
After meeting several NCR flat buyers on Saturday, the Congress Vice President, who has been attacking the Centre over land bill issue and the plight of farmers, said that he had learnt that it is not just farmers and tribals but also the middle class people that are "suppressed" on matters related to land.
Assuring homebuyers that he would stand by them, Gandhi said that it was due to lack of transparency, the buyers were left in a quandary.
"They are told that you will get the flat on a particular day but for years they don't get the flat. They are told the super duper area of the flat would be so much but what is delivered is different," he said.
He said that someone was promised that the flat will have a good view, but a few months after the flat was delivered, another building came up and the view was blocked.
He said the government was trying to destroy the Bill which Congress led UPA had brought to regulate the real estate sector.
"Main dilution is that there was clear transparency. The carpet area that you sign is what would be given. They have diluted and from pro-buyer, made it pro-builder," he said.
Attacking the government, he said, "What it is doing against farmers and tribals, it is also doing against the middle class". "I have assured them that the way I stand with farmers and tribals I stand with them also," he told reporters.
Saloni Paroothi, one of the home buyers who had met Gandhi, said that she had booked a flat in Noida but the possession was now delayed by several years. Explaining her problem, Paroothi said that she not only had to ensure payment of EMI, but also the rent of the house where she was living.
"The builder is neither paying any penalty, nor is he listening to us," she said. Other people who also had booked flats said that they were under tremendous pressure as they had put in their hard earned money in projects which were delayed for several years.
Former Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) minister and Congress leader Ajay Maken also attacked the BJP- led NDA government saying it had made "118 amendments" to the Real Estate Regulatory Authority Bill which had been brought by the earlier government.
He said the intention of the Bill was to protect and support the buyers but the government had overturned it entirely through these amendments.
Maken said that terms like carpet area were defined as 'net usable area' excluding walls to ensure buyers' interest but this has been amended. He claimed another provision related to delays had been amended to suit builders.
He said that as per the earlier Bill, builders could not make changes in the plan but now it has been added that "minor alterations" are permissible, while the term itself has not been defined leading to confusion.
Maken said the UPA had brought the bill in Rajya Sabha so that it does not lapse and Rahul Gandhi has now assured the buyers that he would fight for their cause.