Agitation threat by flat owners

NEW DELHI, JUNE 1. The Federation of Rohini Cooperative Group Housing Societies has strongly criticised enforcement of the Delhi Cooperative Societies Act without initiating necessary amendments.

At a meeting of nearly 145 representatives of group housing societies presided over by the Municipal Councillor, Vijender Gupta, at Maharana Pratap Community Hall in Sector 9 of Rohini on Monday, the Act was described as "arbitrary, unconstitutional, anti-people and harsh". Most speakers argued that it would affect the poor and middle class sections of society.

Calling upon the Delhi Government to insert necessary amendments and decrease the burden of conversion fee on lakhs of residents of group housing societies, the Federation warned of a massive agitation if the essential amendments were not made.

The meeting also decided to simultaneously apprise and approach all the authorities including the Chief Minister and the Minister for Cooperatives about the difficulties of owners of flats of Group Housing Societies.

Explaining the deficiencies in the Act, Mr. Gupta pointed out that under Section 91 of Chapter 9 of the Delhi Cooperative Societies Act 2003, it is stipulated that it will be mandatory for owners of flat of group housing societies who have purchased their flat on power of attorney basis to convert from leasehold to freehold. Also, he said, the owners of such flats have to deposit Rs. 10,000 with their society as transfer fees.

Stating that stringent penal provisions have also been made in the said Act, he said, these were both "unconstitutional and unjustified". As the provisions state that if the owner of a flat purchased on power of attorney basis could not get it converted from leasehold to freehold within 360 days of notification of this Act, then he will have to pay Rs. 50,000 as fine or seven year imprisonment or both, Mr. Gupta demanded that such draconian provisions be deleted from the said Act and the process of conversion of flat from leasehold to freehold should be made optional.

At present, of the about three lakh flats of group housing societies, more than two lakh have been sold on power of attorney basis and if the said Act was enforced, then all these families would be badly affected, Mr. Gupta said.