Citizens' Issues
Activists urge Maharashtra governor to return Housing Bill to Legislature

Activists and citizens have been demanding Maharashtra government to shelve the new Bill, which according to them would fail to protect flat buyers and housing societies, while builders would go away scot-free 

Several activists, led by the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP), have urged Maharashtra governor K Shankarnarayan to return the new Housing Bill to the Legislature for reconsideration.
“The Maharashtra Housing (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2012, passed by both houses of the Legislature contains several provisions which will shower unjust benefits on builders and would fail to protect buyers and housing societies. Therefore Hon’ble Governor should decline to sign the Bill and return it to the Legislature for reconsideration,” MGP said in a release.
On 16th July, the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly cleared the Housing (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2012, which aims to regulate and promote construction, sale, management and transfer of flats on ownership basis and to establish the Housing Regulatory Authority (HRA) and Housing Appellate Tribunal (HRT).
Advocate Shirish Deshpande, chairman, MGP, said various provisions of the new Housing Bill would take away the rights and benefits that are available to buyers and housing societies under the earlier Maharashtra Ownership Flats (Regulation of the Promotion, Construction, Sale, Management and Transfer) Act, 1963 (MOFA). 
He claimed that a provision of imprisonment for serious offences of builders, which existed in MOFA have been dropped in the new Bill and after lot of pressure, the government has agreed to provide imprisonment of up to three years that too only in case of non-compliance of the orders of the HRA or the HRT.
“This will not deter builders from indulging in various unfair and deceptive practices because originally the HRA can award only penalties and it is non-compliance of such orders on penalties that would invite imprisonment and that too at the discretion of the HRA,” Adv Deshpande said.
Activists and citizens have been demanding that the government shelve the new Bill and strengthen MOFA instead, and a public hearing be organised on the issue.
Earlier while speaking with Moneylife, Ramesh S Prabhu, chairman, Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association, said that it will be more helpful for the consumers if the provisions related to regulatory authority or Appellate Tribunal are incorporated in the MOFA itself, instead of the Act being replaced by a new legislation which is evidently pro-builder.
As per the new Bill, registering the housing project and displaying it on the website of the Housing Regulatory Authority becomes mandatory for the promoter. The promoter will have to pay fees not exceeding Rs50,000 along with the application for registration. 
Pointing out some of the grey areas in the new Bill, Mr Prabhu said, “Builders may just register multiple projects under separate aliases online after registration. The documents that are required for registration have to be self-attested by the builder; and registration will be done before getting them validated by any other authority.”
The delegation of MGP that met the Maharashtra governor also highlighted that the original Bill presented in April 2012 expressly allowed refund of the flat buyer’s money with interest from the date/s when money was paid to the builder. However, the Bill was amended and the Joint Selection Committee dropped this important provision thereby making the buyer less secured and vulnerable to get refund, MGP said.
The MGP also expressed its shock and surprise about a provision in the new Bill, which allows the builder to have a proportionate share in additional floor space index (FSI) taking into account any future increase by the government policy and rules even after executing the conveyance.
Here are the proposed changes suggested by the MGP to the Governor...

The delegation, led by Adv Deshpande and Dr Ramdas Gujarathi, president, MGP, pointed out several short-comings in the Housing Bill, while emphasising that in present form, the Bill will not be able to protect buyers and erring builder would be let off with miniscule penalties for their mischief and violations.   
On 7th August, Moneylife Foundation has organised a discussion on the new Housing Bill. Two of the boldest voices in real estate space, Adv Vinod Sampat and Pankaj Kapoor of Liases Foras would address the gathering at Pu La Deshpande Kala Academy (Mini Theatre), Ravindra Natya Mandir, Near Siddhivinayak Temple, Prabhadevi, Mumbai between 6pm and 8pm. For more details click here


Get discounts on branded goods by slashing carbon footprint

Following international trends, stores like Woodland are waking up to 'carbon neutral' stores in which customers are able to redeem "credits" accumulated through the purchase of environment friendly products for discounts

New Delhi: Cutting back on travelling, using renewable bio-fuels, thinking twice before firing up that laptop are among activities that cannot just contribute to greening the planet but could get you also hefty discounts on trendy apparel and other major branded goods, reports PTI.


Following international trends, stores in India are waking up to 'carbon neutral' stores in which customers are able to redeem "credits" accumulated through the purchase of environment friendly products for discounts.


In a new initiative, leading footwear and apparel brand Woodland is all set to go "carbon neutral" in 80 of its stores in Delhi-NCR and Karnataka.


Being carbon neutral means having a net zero carbon footprint, or achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount offset, or buying enough carbon credits (tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit 1 tonne of CO2) to make up the difference.


Companies can go carbon neutral by reducing CO2 emissions associated with transportation, energy production and industrial processes.


"We want all our stores to be carbon neutral retail chain by 2015, by adopting more environment-friendly measures including planting of saplings all over the country. 2-3% of our profits (around Rs10 crore) is earmarked for such eco-friendly initiatives every year," says Harkirat Singh, MD, Woodland Worldwide.


The retail chain will also spread awareness among its customers and encourage them to exchange their carbon credits with discounts up to 15-20% on Woodland products.


Harkirat Singh, of Woodland Worldwide says, "We are encouraging our customers to go 'green'. Our target group is youngsters between 16-24 years who are very informed and concerned about the environment," says Singh.


Singh says he urges customers to not only go green but also purchase products from companies that follow same motto.


"Once, they buy environment friendly products and collect a carbon credit, they can come and submit it at our store, where we will give them discounts based on the credits. This way we are expecting to collect around 450 carbon credits, thereby doing our bit in helping the environment," says Amol Dhillan, Vice-President, Strategy & Planning, Woodland India.


NextGen, Bangalore based Energy and Environment Company, is in the process of calculating the level of carbon emissions from electricity used at stores, diesel consumption of generators and fuel burnt by the Woodland staff for commuting.


"We will balance the measured amount of carbon released by planting trees, using environment friendly techniques at our manufacturing units, such as solar power," says Amol.


As the first part of the initiative, a comprehensive carbon accounting has been done for the chain of Woodland stores in Karnataka and Delhi-NCR region to calculate the carbon footprint of each store through its retail operations.


The calculated footprint for NCR region has come out to be 2,000 metric tonnes while for Karnataka it is 1,000 metric tonnes.


"Since solar water heaters are mandatory in Karnataka, our campaign will encourage customers to pledge their emission reductions for every solar water heater they use. Ond doing so each customer using a solar geyser will be gratified with a Woodland e-voucher on submission of authentication and thus sharing his carbon credits helping Woodland Retail Chain negate its carbon footprint," he adds.


Concerned by global warming and the effect of carbon emissions on the environment, countries like Norway, Maldives, Denmark, Costa Rica, Vatican City are working on becoming 'carbon neutral' in the near future.


Companies contribute a huge part to the environmental mess with the release of deadly effluent and by the enormous carbon emissions.


Tech-giant Microsoft has also committed to going carbon neutral, joining Dell, Google, HSBC, PepsiCo, Sky, Tesco and other corporates which have successfully managed to reduce their carbon "footprints" by reducing CO2 emissions in certain divisions of the organisations.


Jet fuel prices hiked by 4.5%

The twin increases snapped a six fortnight trend of reduction in rates, including a steep 5% or Rs3,260 per kl cut effected from 16th June and about 2% or Rs1,241 per kl fall in prices from 1st July

New Delhi: With firming of oil prices in the international market, jet fuel or aviation turbine fuel (ATF) rates were hiked on Wednesday by a steep 4.5%, the second increase in a month, reports PTI.
The price of ATF or jet fuel, in Delhi was hiked by Rs2,797.41 per kilolitre (kl), or 4.5%, to Rs65,005.59, according to Indian Oil Corp, the nation's largest oil company.
The hike comes on back of a 1.7% or Rs1,039.1 per kl hike in rates effected from 16th July.
The twin increases snapped a six fortnight trend of reduction in rates, including a steep 5% (Rs3,260 per kl) cut effected from 16th June and about 2% (Rs1,241 per kl) fall in prices from 1st July.
Jet fuel, which had hit an all-time high peak of Rs71,028.26 per kl in August 2008, shortly after international oil rates touched a record $147 per barrel, had fallen to eight-month low of Rs 61,169.08 per kl in early July.
In Mumbai, jet fuel will cost Rs65,884.34 per kl from today as against Rs63,002.45 per kl previously.
Jet fuel constitutes over 40% of an airline's operating costs and the two consecutive increase in prices have wiped away half of the gains the cash-strapped airlines would have made from reductions.
No immediate comments were available from the airlines on the impact of the price hike on passenger fares.
The three fuel retailers -- IOC, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum -- revise jet fuel prices on the 1st and 16th of every month, based on the average international price in the preceding fortnight.


We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.

To continue

Sign Up or Sign In


To continue

Sign Up or Sign In



The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)