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Bhuj: Consumer court orders Odhav Hari Developers to pay monthly penalty to buyers

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Odhav Hari Developers Pvt Ltd had sold 1,200 plots for residential purpose. People had made payments in 36 instalments between 2004 and 2007.

 Not securing the non-agriculture (NA) status for land sold for residential purpose has proved very dear to a realty firm in Bhuj town in the border district of Kutch. 

It had sold 110 metre plots at a price of Rs 25,200 each. Twelve years later, a consumer court has ordered the firm to pay a penalty of Rs 5,000 every month to the plot holders until the firm gets the NA status for the land.

Odhav Hari Developers Pvt Ltd had sold 1,200 plots for residential purpose. People had made payments in 36 instalments between 2004 and 2007. Even after the buyers made the full payment, the realty firm did not obtain the NA status for the land and made final the sale deeds.

Since the land status was of agriculture, the purchasers could not build houses for nearly a decade. Nearly 1,050 plot holders took their money back with interest and returned the plots. But 15 buyers approached the Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum in Kutch district in 2015 and sought directions to the firm to get the NA status for the land so that they could build houses. The forum held that the realty firm and its proprietors were at fault and not securing the NA status was unfair trade practice. In May 2016, the forum ordered the firm to pay a penalty of Rs 1,000 every month to the 15 plot holders. 

The payment was ordered to be continued until the firm obtained the NA status. 

The plot holders were not satisfied with the amount of penalty and moved the Gujarat State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission for the enhancement in the penalty and for directions to the firm to get the NA status.

After hearing the case, the commission observed that the firm obtained full payment for the plots by 2007, but did not secure the NA status because jantri rates had risen and hence it was required to pay more premium. 

The commission said the firm used the money obtained from the plot holders at will for years and did not make the final sale documents. 

The land is now at a prime location due to industrial development in the surrounding areas. 

The commission said that it appears the firm wants to sell the land at a higher rate for commercial purpose after removing the baggage of the residential scheme. 

With these observations, the commission increased the monthly penalty amount to Rs 5,000. With the enhancement in the penalty amount, the firm will have arrears of nearly Rs 1.80 lakh because the payment has to be made from May 2016.

Source: TNN

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