MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on July 17 promised a string of reforms in the existing law on deemed conveyances to give relief to thousands of flat owners in old housing societies who are eager to complete the formality of conveyance.
The minister of state for housing announced in the legislative assembly that the government was willing to do a rethink on the existing formula to calculate stamp duty, which is currently assessed on the basis of market rates. It is also open to giving exemption from paying additional local body cess and LBT on the value of flats. The issue of unsold flats would also be looked into apart from taking action against builders for non-execution of conveyance deeds. “While no final decision has been taken on these measures, we are keen to consider these issues going forward in future,” said Ahir.
There are 23,496 housing societies in the city. Of these, less than a thousand had obtained their conveyance deed before a special drive started in 2012. Of the 903 societies that applied, 549 were issued the conveyance instrument. After 2012, 398 applied and 87 have been given conveyance so far.
The anomalies in the conveyance law and the ongoing special drive were discussed in the assembly with several MLAs pointing out that flat owners were facing hardship in completing the formalities. The poor response to the state’s scheme would continue if the government did not relax the existing norms, they said. Some MLAs alleged that developers were being asked to pay bribes to government officers to record a property card variation. Flat owners and housing societies cannot afford to pay and are seen as resisting the scheme, they said.
“Many of these flat owners in Navi Mumbai and Thane live in fear that once they move out, they will lose the ownership of their land forever. The chief minister must make sure that the title of the land passes to the government in cases of dilapidated and dangerous buildings seeking conveyance while going for redevelopment,” said NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad.
Ahir replied that the government was willing to consider changes, such as coming up with a new formula to calculate stamp duty for housing projects built before 1985 when the ready reckoner rate system was not in force.This duty, several members demanded, should be charged at the rate applicable at the time building was constructed.
“At the existing rates, some flat owners could end up paying more duty than the original value of the flat,” said BJP MLA Yogesh Sagar.