In an unprecedented move, MahaRERA summoned officials from Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) in January to depose and submit evidence to settle complaints of delayed possession in connection with Green World project at Airoli on Thane-Belapur Road.
Officials from the Town Planning department of NMMC were called to verify if the delay in getting environment clearances happened at their end. Appearing before the authority on January 5, they accepted that the delay had happened at their level, said an order by MahaRERA Member Vijay Satbir Singh. Singh then directed the developers to pay interest to the home buyers from July 1 2017 till the actual date of possession at the rate of Marginal Cost of Lending Rate plus 2 per cent.
Complaints by 14 home buyers against the developers Mount Mary Developers and Akshar Space pvt Ltd were clubbed together and heard by MahaRERA since January. The complainants said that they purchased their flats in Green World, which has 10 towers of 23 storey and shops registered with MahaRERA, in 2011, and were promised possession by December 31, 2015 as per registered agreements. The complainants sought interest on their investments under section 18 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA).
The home buyers believe that the developers were solely responsible for the delay as the environmental clearance was not taken before launching the project, and this fact was not communicated to them. However, the developers argued that the delay happened because of factors beyond their control and pointed out that the primary reason was the delay by the NMMC and the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SIEAA) in granting environmental clearances.
Considering arguments of both the parties, and documents submitted, Singh felt it necessary to summon officers of Town Planning department of NMMC. The Assistant Director of Town Planning submitted a letter on January 11 confirming that the plot owners had submitted application for No Objection Certificate for CRZ-II to BMC on August 17, 2011, and the clearances were given on June 11, 2013 after a gap of one year and eight months. On the basis of this NOC, the SEIAA granted environmental clearance on July 30, 2013.
“It is clear that the project got delayed partly because of the delay at the level of NMMC and SEIAA to give environmental clearance…Considering the disruption in construction work for a period of more than a year and other constraints, it is reasonable to extend the date of possession by a year and half to calculate the promoter’s contractual liability under Section 18 of RERA. The promoter is, therefore, liable to pay interest to the allottees from July 1, 2017,” Singh observed in his nine-page order.