Governments change, time passes, but the carelessness and whims of the housing authority prevail. In 1997, the Housing Authority under the Ministry of Housing and Public Works (then known as the Department of Housing) issued a notice for sale of plots in Block F of Mohammadpur. The total land area was seven acres and the size of these plots was two and a half kathas, two kathas and one and a quarter kathas respectively.
Around 23,000 people applied to buy those plots. The authorities then decided to give flats to the applicants, instead of plots aiming to provide residential facilities to more people and started working on a plan to build 900 flats. There was nothing wrong with the decision.
The housing authority should immediately handover the flats that have been completed already and ensure that all the buyers get the flats as soon as possible
But the housing authority could not deliver the flats to the allotted recipients within the stipulated time, while increasing the price of the flats in stages. In 2006, the authority fixed Tk 1.6 million for a 800 sq ft flat and Tk 1.96 million for a 1000 sq ft flat. In 2009 the price was increased to Tk 2.98 million and 3.59 million respectively. The applicants deposited the money in installments. Then the housing authority increased the price in 2018 again. The new price was set at Tk 5.2 million for an 800 sq ft flat and Tk 6.13 million for a 1,000 sq ft flat. The housing authority has violated the agreement with the buyers. The flat owners did not violate the conditions, the housing authority did. Then why do flat owners have to pay for this?
There is no clear reason for not handing over the flats to the customers even after 22 years of taking up the project. According to the agreement, the allotted persons paid half of the total price in four installments before moving into the flat.
On the other hand, the housing authority was supposed to hand over the flat by 2014. But they have failed to do so. The president of the flat owners' association said that they did not receive the flat even after paying the installments. Authorities claim they could not complete the work on time due to illegal installations. Besides, there was negligence of the contractors.
The housing authorities have resorted cunning dealings. It had made the clients sign bonds saying that they will not sue the authorities. This can be even be considered as contempt of court. If the court rules in favour of the clients, will the authorities refund the money? When flat owners are supposed to be compensated, imposing extra price on them is not only unethical, but also illegal. The flat owners are not obliged to accept this unjust decision of the housing authority. The clients even said they would pay if the court asked for an increased price.
Housing authorities say 90 per cent of the flats have been completed. The rest of the work will be completed in a few months. Therefore, the housing authority should immediately handover the flats that have been completed already and ensure that all the buyers get the flats as soon as possible.
It will reduce the suffering of flat owners, as well as alleviate some of the past failures of housing authorities.