The Allottee Grievance Redress Forum (AGRF) is a redressal panel which is in existence since 2 years and has barely brought any relief to aggrieved homebuyers. Both buyers and officials believe the body is another ineffective initiative because it lacks teeth to take action against developers. Presently, 940 complaints are registered with the forum.
AGRF was constituted in September 2015 by the state government to protect the interests of homebuyers and residents of Gurugram (Gurgaon) as well as to put pressure on developers to resolve the grievances of investors.
“There have been instances, where the AGRF had passed orders for paybacks to buyers, in two cases against the developers — MGF development Ltd and Orchid Infrastructure Pvt Ltd — moved to the Punjab and Haryana high court questioning the body’s constitution and validity,” an official of department of town and country planning (DTCP) said.
Even the homebuyers claim the body is inefficient because of lack of powers. “We had filed a complaint with the AGRF against real estate company MGF and despite the initial momentum, the process didn’t yield the expected result,” said Vinay Kumar Mittal, a homebuyer.
Over the period of two years, 940 complaints have been filed with AGRF through the district administration and another 400 through DTCP. However, there are no official figures on the cases resolved of by forum.
Mr. RS Batth, the district town planner, said, “The number of resolved complaints would depend on the definition of the word ‘resolved’ because in many cases we dispose of cases asking the developer to complete the projects. How long the developer takes to complete the project post that direction is beyond our control.”
Homebuyers claim that the government has used AGRF to fool them. “The body has no regulatory powers and the chief minister himself constituted and chaired the body just to put the people in an illusion that the government is taking a tough stance against developers,” said Abhay Poonia, who had filed a complaint with AGRF against a housing project “Suncity”.
A government official working on developer-related cases also validated the same. “Around two years back when the government came into power, it wanted to showcase that there are against developers and in favor of the homebuyers. Hence there was quite a lot of action happening on this front, eventually, things have taken a fallen down.”
Additionally, a noted number of complaints in AGRF are against the DTCP officials themselves and they are then sent to the department itself for resolution, the working of the forum is itself very ironical.
Recently after the launch of the Haryana Real Estate Regulation Act, the plan is to use the AGRF as a forum to address issues other than delayed possession. However, given their limited powers and an absolute crunch of resources within the DTCP.
“Regarding the issues with already completed projects, the department has administrative powers, which we can use to help homebuyers,” said Batth.