What does the common man do when he faces problems in land schemes floated by the Government?

We hear of many instances where people have fallen prey to promises of huge returns on investments made in real estate ventures. These so-called real estate agents who advertise the sale of plots at attractive rates and throw in various schemes and offers, simply vanish into thin air later or leave the customer in a fix by demanding more money.

This is in the private sector, but the state of affairs is equally bad in the public sector. The general public believes in any Government scheme, as there will be few complications involved. However, this proved wrong in the case of one Rajeshwar, who applied for a plot under the MIG category, promoted by a Municipality, way back in 1995. He paid the required registration fee and was allotted a plot. He settled his dues in 2002 as per the payment schedule.

Since then, he has been meeting the Commissioner and other officials of the Municipality, requesting them to register the plot in his name, to no avail. Instead, in 2006, he received a notice demanding a further payment of Rs. 8,000 as the market price had gone up. He was also assured, in writing, that on paying the amount, the plot would be registered in his name. Though Rajeshwar raised objections, he paid the said amount. But, the plot was not registered in his name, despite his constant effort.

Four years later, he got yet another notice, this time demanding Rs 85,000. Upset by this arbitrary claim, especially when there was no mention of this repeated escalation in the initial agreement, Rajeshwar sought our assistance. He then wrote to the Municipality refusing to pay the excess amount and demanded that the plot be registered in his name immediately. There was no response.

Similarly, in another instance, an Army jawan's family was allotted land by the Government in 2002. Since 2003, following payment of the required fee, the jawan's wife has been repeatedly appealing to the department concerned and the officials to issue the related patta in her name, but her attempts have proved futile till date.

In both cases, we have written to the departments concerned asking them to address the issues at once, and are awaiting a response.

When the common man places faith in the Government and its various schemes, it is important that the departments be consumer friendly and act more conscientiously. Else, the public may lose faith in the system itself.

(The writer works with CAG, which offers free advice on consumer complaints to its members. For membership details/queries, contact 24914358/24460387 or helpdesk@cag.org.in)