The newly appointed minster for Housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri has taken up the issue of protecting the interests of homebuyers in Jaypee Infratech’s projects with finance and corporate affairs minister Arun Jaitley.
While the option of amending the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) has been suggested to Puri, the minister will shortly send a detailed proposal to the finance minister.
Soon after taking charge last week, Puri, who has been flooded with messages from anxious homebuyers, had taken up the issue with officials in the ministry. But he found out that there was not much that the urban development ministry could do as the IBC was being handled by the corporate affairs ministry.
The ministry’s legal adviser has, however, suggested that the law could be amended to treat homebuyers at par with lenders to the projects, who have the first right on funds in case of liquidation. It is unclear if an amendment can help existing homebuyers in Jaypee Infratech projects as the case has been admitted in the National Company Law Tribunal. A case is also being heard by the Supreme Court.
Puri had asked his officers to chart out a roadmap on what the government could do to protect the interests of 25,000-30,000 homebuyers. Some homebuyers have been waiting for close to a decade to get possession of flats, villas and plots as the promoters, the Gaurs, repeatedly failed to honour their commitment.
The government, including the finance ministry, has been considering the various options to protect the interests of homebuyers, given that several of them have invested their life’s savings to buy a house.
An all-India flat buyers association ‘Fight for RERA’ had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to amend the law to protect homebuyers. There are also fears that many real estate projects struggling for completion may take the IBC route and homebuyers will be the worst hit.
Consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan had said on Saturday that National Consumer Helpline had received about 400 complaints from Noida homebuyers and all these had been referred to the housing ministry.