Make private housing sector accountable

The government is seriously looking into the allegations of various irregularities against many of the country's real estate and housing companies and sincerely working to address them. There are continual allegations that many of the housing companies indulge in irregularities in selling flats, tamper design approved the government authorities, and make intentional excessive delay to handover the sold apartments to the clients.

The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has already started investigation into the allegations against the housing companies across the country. ACC sources said the anti-graft body now takes instant steps on receiving allegation from an accuser. ACC has opened a hotline '106' for receiving allegations in this regard and already received a good number of complaints.

However, the Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB), the leading association of the housing and real estate companies of the country, does not think that the allegations against its members have crossed the limit. REHAB sources said the organization so far has received some 500 allegations to this connection and is working to solve them fast.

ACC sources said the anti-graft body has also found irregularities in the activities of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK – the capital development authority), especially in its supervisory responsibilities on construction of buildings through tampering design approved by RAJUK, the sole authority in this regard. There are also allegations that syndication in the government construction sector has put a threat in maintaining standard and smooth working atmosphere. The syndicated group sometimes even keep hostage the authorities concerned to realize unruly interest, sources said.

The government’s initiation of e-tender system is a step to stop such unlawful and unethical activities of such syndicates. E-tendering is an internet based process wherein the complete tendering process; from advertising to receiving and submitting tender-related information are done online. This enables companies to be more efficient as paper-based transactions are reduced or eliminated, facilitating for a more speedy exchange of information.

Officials at the Ministry of Housing and Public Works opined that the stringent measures that have been taken by the incumbent Housing Minister in the last few months have contributed significantly to bring back the image of the housing sector. The dominance of brokers at the offices like Rajuk and National Housing Authority has now been reduced remarkably.

REHAB Vice President and Chairman of Media Wing, Liaqat Ali Bhuiyan said that they are aware of the allegations of fraudulence of some real estate companies. “If we get any allegation of irregularity against any member company, REHAB immediately inquires and takes action as per the findings,” he said.

Incidences like disappearing of real estate companies after taking money in advance from the clients are not rare. There are also incidences that some companies never complete the construction works properly, such as do not set lift, intercom, solar panel etc. and go traceless. In such cases usually the clients, victims of fraudulent acts rarely get any support from REHAB or any government agencies concerned, it is alleged.