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As per the agreement, the owner was to get possession of the flat by March 31, 2016 Despite directions by MahaRERA, a developer has neither handed over the possession of the flats, nor refunded the cost of the flats paid by home buyers, in a proposed housing complex located at Virar West in Palghar district.

The developer-Bhoomi & Arkade Associates, had announced to set up a housing complex, comprising I and II BHK flats. Accordingly, many home buyers, booked the flats in the proposed complex.
One of the buyers, Amkush Dewan purchased an apartment (No. 81303, II BHK) in the project 'Acropolis-II', vide registered sale agreement dated December 23, 2015 and paid Rs 33.90 lakh. As per the agreement, he was to get possession of the flat by March 31, 2016. But could not get it.

As such Dewan filed a complaint (No: CC006000000001398) with MahaRERA against the developer (MahaRERA Regn.No. P99000006132). During the hearing, the advocate for the developer maintained that the delay in handing over possession of the flat was due to mitigating circumstances, beyond the control of the developer for which extension of time was well stipulated. Besides, the developer was in a position to hand over the flat to the complainant within next six to eight months.

While giving his ruling, on January 30, 2018, MahaRERA Chairman Gautam Chatterjee, observed that the developer had fixed December, 2021 as the proposed date of completion of the project, which was unreasonable since the revised date of possession for an ongoing project has to be commensurate with the extent of balance development.

As such Chatterjee directed the developer to handover the possession of the flat to the complainant before May 2018, with Occupation Certificate (OC), failing which he will be liable to pay interest from June 01, 2018 onwards till the actual date of possession.

The said interest will be as prescribed under Rule 18 of the Maharashtra Real Estate (Regulation and Development) (Registration of Real Estate Projects, Registration of Real Estate Agents, Rate of Interest and Disclosures on Website) Rules, 2017.

However, till date the developer, has neither handed over the possession of the flat, nor has refunded the amount paid by the buyer nor have the interest on the amount has been refunded.

Basically, the developer was to hand over the possession by March 31, 2016. Even if a one year grace period is taken into consideration, the interest @ 10.5 per cent is due to the home buyers from May 2017 onwards. Up till now over 1,200 buyers who have booked the flats in the proposed complex, await the possession, RERA consultant Sulaiman Bhimani said.

Reacting to the issue, Chaitya Mehta, director of Bhoomi and Arcade Associates, said that “a major work of the complex has been completed, but the electricity connection is yet to be received. The flat buyers will be paid interest on the money paid by them at the time of giving possession of the flat”. MahaRERA Chaiman Gautam Chatterjee’s response to the SMS sent was awaited.

In the meanwhile, Dewan who has sent several reminders to the developers demanding the possession of the flat or alternately payment of interest on the amount paid, is in the process of filing a fresh complaint since the developer is yet to honour the MahaRERA order.

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Governments all over the world resort to spin to present themselves in the best possible light.

The boundary between gloss and outright lies can often be blurred. Statistical information is the easiest to fudge. The actual numbers may not be fabricated; that would be too obvious. Instead the spin masters use a few standard tricks: they select which numbers to present and which to hide, and they drawing unwarranted conclusions from a headline number. Official statistics present every opportunity to cross the line from disingenuous spin to downright misleading propaganda - or lies, in plain English.

Statistics is like a bikini, as the wit said, what it reveals is interesting; what it conceals can be vital.

Here’s an example of misuse of official statistics from India.  The Finance Minister tweeted a headline number about annual revenues from direct taxes. For the first time in 2017-18 it had crossed the 1 trillion rupee mark.

But he did more than just mention that 10.02 lakh-crore number. He made 2 further statements - one was implied and the other is an explicit and clear conclusion. Both bear further examination.

The statement that the 2017-18 revenue was 18% higher than in the previous year was not there just for completeness. The implication is that it was a substantial rise; it was a creditable, praiseworthy performance of the Indian economy. Is that really true?  

An 18% rise, on the face of it does sound a whopping rise! And it would be creditable if it had bucked the trend. Is that the case?

We do have the figures going back to 2001. They are here, on page 2 of this report from the Govt of India.

The data cover the years 2001-01 to 2016-17. Lets take the 10.02 trillion Rupees number given by the FM in his tweet for 2017-18 and add it to the existing time series data. The following chart shows the growth in direct tax revenues over the years.

Now, set in the context of previous years’ data the 10.02 trillion figure for 2017-18 looks like it is no more than the trend growth.

What about the  18% y-on-y growth? That sounded impressive. Again, taking the entire data series and plotting the y-on-y % aage increase over the previous year, we get this interesting plot.

So, now the 18% looks par for the course; its good but can it factually be described as ‘historical’? The y-on-y growth has returned to levels last seen in 2010-11, and is nowhere near the amazing near 40% growth seen in 2006-7, and the 36% seen the following year.

Now lets turn to the second part of the statement. The FM drew a clear conclusion about what led to the (not so) creditable 18% growth in 2017-18. He ascribed it unequivocally to ‘accountable governance’ under his leader, the Prime Minister. Leaving aside for the moment the question of the extent to which the Govt allows itself to be held to account, if the 2017-18 performance is ascribed to the leadership of the Prime Minister, the question that begs to be asked is this:

What led to the  9% growth in 2014-15, the 6.6% rise in 2015-16,  and the somewhat better 14.5% in 2016-17? You can’t claim credit for a good (if not stellar) performance and deny responsibility for a dismal performance.

References:

  1. Income Tax Department,  Time Series Data, Financial Year 2000-01 to 2016-17. See https://www.incometaxindia.gov.in/Documents/Direct%20Tax%20Data/Time-Series-Data-2016-17.pdf

The people who died today taught us a very important lesson that its not only our job to remind our elected officials of their responsibilities but also see to it that, they actually do the work.

Name changes v.s. Foot Over Bridge construction

Unknowingly, Sachin Tendulkar, asked the most important question in Rajya Sabha under the circumstances - He raised a question in 2016 about the status of Foot Over Bridge (FoB) at the  Elphinstone railway station.

In response, the ministry stated that the work was sanctioned in 2016 and unfortunately, as we now know, nothing much happened. This is despite the umpteen number of tweets, letters and other forms of communication (pictures and tweets in the blog) , where the commuters had raised serious concerns about the imminent dangers.

On the other hand, the Maharashtra state assembly passed a resolution to change Elphinstone station to Prabhadevi in Dec 2016, which was approved by the center in April 2017. According to the news sources, the name change was to take effect in Sep 2017.

While the ministry was quick to announce the compensation for the kith and kin of the deceased and those seriously injured, it was anything but quick to begin the sanctioned work.

Below is a list of tweets sent to the authorites forewarning the imminent threat to their lives

  • No more crying in the middle of the night 
  • No more playing in the middle of the street
  • No more mischief in the class
  • No more tantrums in the house 
  • No more exams to pass 
  • No more dreams to chase 

How can they, when the children are no more?

Not one, not two, 13 children died yesterday, 309 died in August alone, 1269 this year and all in the BRD government medical college, Gorakhpur, Uttarpradesh. 

This is not just because of a doctors negligence or an equipment failure or a random incident of negligence but a deliberate failure of an entire system. A system that was meant to diagnose, treat and cure, was left to decay so much that the rot just became toxic claiming innocent lives.

The CAG report published in August 2017 for the period beginning from 2011 ending 2016 March, exposes the rotten system of the BRD medical college. From failing to treat cancer patients to failing to conduct prenetal diagnosis to misusing funds to shortage of medical equipments - the medical college broke rule of law and violated the moral code of conduct. 

Excerpts from the CAG report 

✓ the GMCs failed to provide adequate treatment to cancer/heart patients as equipment such as Cobalt Teletherapy, Brachytherapy unit, Left Ventricular Assist Device, etc. were not being operated in hospitals due to lack of doctors/technical personnel/infrastructure.

✓ The GMCs did not execute Annual Maintenance Contract for equipment. As a result, the machines were not functional and tests for cervix cancer, foetal monitoring, prenatal diagnosis, bio-chemical and hormonal tests etc. could not be conducted.

✓ GMCs did not procure clinical and teaching equipment though adequate funds were provided by the Government, resulting in shortages of equipment

✓ The GMCs failed to provide adequate treatment to cancer/heart patients as equipment such as Cobalt Teletherapy, Brachytherapy unit, Left Ventricular Assist Device, etc. were not being operated in hospitals due to lack of doctors/technical personnel/infrastructure.

✓ The GMCs did not execute Annual Maintenance Contract for equipment. As a result, the machines were not functional and tests for cervix cancer, foetal monitoring, prenatal diagnosis, bio-chemical and hormonal tests etc. could not be conducted.

✓ GMCs violated the provisions of General Financial Rules while procuring equipment by extending undue favour to suppliers and purchasing equipment at a higher rate

✓ Financial management of the GMCs was not adequate as there were instances of retention funds for long periods in PLA, diversion of funds, etc

So what's next?
I'm sure the CAG report will have no affected on the administration because if a child's death didn't, then what's a report? And neither did it have any affect on the media, because the deaths continue to happen but not the coverage and further questioning. This leaves, us i.e you and me. So let's begin with questioning the authorities 

  • File an RTI with the BRD medical college to understand what steps they have taken for cours e correction. And if they haven't, then when would they?
  • Call the MLA's and the MP's and put pressure on them to not just fix the current problems but to elevate the standards of healthcare 

If we don't think we can do this, then just remember the faces of the kids who died or should we say, we let them die