Real estate bill may hit Congress wall

'Govt made 118 changes in bill to make it pro-builder'

Real estate bill may hit Congress wall

After land bill, the real estate bill may face the Congress wall with Rahul Gandhi, who met flat buyers in the Delhi region on Saturday, accusing the Modi government of converting the legislation conceived by the UPA into a “pro-builder” policy.

Stating that the original bill had transparency, Rahul said the NDA has changed it from a pro-flat buyers to pro-builders bill. “The same way we are standing with the farmers, we
shall stand with flat buyers,” he said.

Former housing and urban poverty alleviation minister and Congress leader Ajay Maken, who is close to Rahul Gandhi, said the NDA government had made “118 amendments” to the bill.

Rahul, who is trying to boost his image after a two-month sabbatical, tried to reach out to the middle class saying he would fight for their cause. He has travelled in Punjab and Maharashtra to interact with farmers caught in the agrarian crisis unleashed by unseasonal rains and hailstorms.

“The government, which has been working against farmers and tribals, is now working against the middle class in the same manner,” he told reporters after meeting flat buyers in Delhi and surrounding areas.

With Rahul upping the ante on the amended Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, the fate of the bill listed for consideration and passage in the Rajya Sabha on May 5
has become uncertain as the NDA does not have the numbers in the Upper House to ensure its passage.

The bill was introduced in the Lower House recently. However, opposition parties led by the Congress demanded that it should be sent to select committee, saying the government has diluted several clauses of the bill. The bill was deferred.

The Congress said the original bill protected the interest of home buyers from fraudulent real estate developers, while the revised version favoured developers. However, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, whose ministry is piloting the bill, said the new bill ensures a balance between developers and buyers.

Rahul said the government was trying to destroy the bill which the UPA brought to regulate the real estate sector. “Main dilution is that earlier there was transparency. The carpet area that you sign is what would be given. They have diluted that now,” he said.
Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hit back at Rahul by saying that the Gandhi scion was indulging in “politics of tokenism”.

“Rahul Gandhi has the right to go anywhere and meet anyone. But governance and helping in nation’s growth are serious matters,” Prasad told reporters. “You can’t just disappear for 56 days while the Parliament is on. You come one day, say something and then vanish again,” he added.

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