Mumbai: Land ownership transfer & redevelopment issues haunt societies as they rush to complete audits

September 25, 2022
Mumbai: Land ownership transfer & redevelopment issues haunt societies as they rush to complete audits

MUMBAI: The cooperative housing societies in Mumbai have requested the state to extend the deadline for holding AGMs and submitting annual audits till Dec 31. According to them due to covid several societies took time till March this year to clear their audit for earlier fiscal 2020-21 and thus have backlog for recently ended fiscal to be cleared.

The last date for agm n audit submission for the recently ended fiscal 2021-22 has been set as Sept 30 which the maharashtra societies welfare association (MahaSeWA), a federation of cooperative societies in the state, wants to be extended till the end of this year so that auditors and societies get enough time to complete delayed accounting procedure without much hassles.

According to experts just around 25% societies have submitted their accounts so far with a larger chunk still remaining to complete formalities. Among all the problems majority societies have their deemed conveyance (land title transfer to society from builder) and redevelopment approvals stuck due to legal complexities and the red tape besides issues related to lack of unanimity among members, fights for nominations, titles and maintenance, they say.

MahaSeWA chairman Ramesh Prabhu said 75% of the societies have their audits pending as auditors were busy clearning the old 2020-21 fiscal audits till March this year as they could not process the backlog of the covid years for a long time due to lockdowns so were the AGMs. “Since there are elections to be held soon by the societies, the extension looks necessary. We have written to the authorites about this,” he added.

“Poor performance of website in accepting audits online, lack of enthusiasm among administrators, lack of accountability in the process, and overloaded registrars who have to handle 2000 societies each are some of the other reasons that are leading to delays,” said Vinod Sampat, president of the Registration Fee & Stamp Duty Payers Association.

Senior cooperative officials admitted delays on part of some housing societies however pointed out that upto 90% of the societies have submitted their audits in the past. Officials accepted the fact that only about 5-7% percent of the societies had their deemed conveyance (land ownership titles) and redevelopment proposals cleared. Prabhu said high amount of fees charged per flat to process conveyance might have been a point of discouragement. Social activist Godfrey Pimenta alleged corruption and exploitation as reasons behind delayed processing of conveyance and redevelopment porposals.

Mumbai metro region has around 65000 housing societies spread over Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and Raigad. In the absence of deemed conveyance the land ownership of housing societies is still in the hands of builders who rent out terraces to cell tower and advertisement companies, besides selling or using parking, TDRs and FSIs to earn money. Sampat said since conveyance and redevelopment had to go through multiple state govenrment departments, they were taking much longer time besides the hurdles due to legal complexities in titles, lack of unanimity among members etc. Interestingly, he said conveyance proposals were getting cleared faster after reaching the consumer court.

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