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India needs tough realty regulations

Thane tragedy glaring example of laundering large sums of black money through illegal constructions

Gulf News

The Indian public is getting desensitised to the extent of corruption and apathy that it is subjected to daily. The will to fight against the excesses and greed of government servants and those who circumvent the law to gratify their needs is eroding.

The Thane tragedy in Mumbai is a glaring case in point. At least 74 innocent people have lost their lives and everyday there are fresh reports of builders who have raised illegal constructions across the state of Maharashtra with the blessings of government officials in return for bribes. It seems the Thane incident is just the tip of the iceberg, as startling facts are still being brought to light. It distorts the view of Mumbai’s expensive real estate market, where there is now proof of construction on land that is fraudulently acquired in collusion with officials.

Almost every loophole has been exploited to break the law: No approved plan; use of sub-standard material; no occupancy certificate. The builders even invited people to take up residence there temporarily, in order to make it difficult for the authorities to destroy the constructions. The tragedy has laid open the modus operandi of those who launder vast sums of black money by putting it into illegal construction.

The need of the hour is for the federal government to introduce tough real estate regulations and attach severe penalties for those who break the law. State governments must ensure that they follow suit. The ownership of a home has a deep emotional connect in Indian society, but people must be aware that it should not come through throwing caution to the wind.