Punishment stays for errant realtors | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 04, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 04, 2010

Punishment stays for errant realtors

JS body rejects proposal to scrap provision in real estate bill

A parliamentary body yesterday turned down its sub-committee's recommendation for scrapping the proposed real estate law's provision for jail sentences to realtors developing and advertising projects without approval.
The parliamentary standing committee on the housing and public works ministry however included three new provisions prescribing jail sentences and fines to land owners for violating contracts with real estate firms.
Last year, it formed the three- member sub-committee headed by M Enamul Haque, a realtor-turned-lawmaker, for scrutiny of Real Estate Development and Management Bill.
Abdul Mannan Khan, state minister for housing and public works, tabled the bill on September 7 last year, seeking to bring the unregulated real estate sector under a legal framework.
The House sent the bill back to the standing committee and asked it to place a scrutiny report within three weeks.
The parliamentary body took around 11 months to complete scrutiny.
Committee Chairman ABM Fazle Karim Chowdhury yesterday said, “We have added three new provisions to the bill and hope it will now ensure interests of all parties--land owners, real-estate businessmen and customers.”
“We have just corrected some technical mistakes in the original bill and included three provisions,” he added, talking to reporters after the committee met at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.
The parliamentary panel did not agree to drop the provision for jail sentences to real estate owners, for fear of drawing flak, sources close to the committee told this correspondent.
A provision of the bill says a realtor will be sentenced to up to two years in jail or fine up to Tk 10 lakh or both if he develops a project without approval from the authorities concerned and place ads for it.
Another provision says land developers will be awarded up to one year in jail or fine up to Tk five lakh for not ensuring utility services in the buildings.
Of three new provisions, one says a land owner will be jailed for up to two years or fined up to Tk 10 lakh or both for violating contracts with a real estate owner.
The other two say he will be awarded the same punishment for violating terms and conditions with a realtor, and for not handing over land by the time specified in the contract.
Leading environmental and professional bodies at a press conference in March alleged that real estate developers-turned-lawmakers have held back passage of the proposed bill.
They called upon the prime minister to reconstitute the parliamentary body dropping lawmakers who have business interests.
They also submitted a memorandum to the prime minister demanding immediate passage of the bill to protect buyer interests and save wetlands around the capital.
Nasrul Hamid Bipu, a member of the standing committee on the housing and public works ministry, is a real estate developer, and president of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (Rehab).

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