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Flat owners, builders should unite on VAT issue, say NGOs
November, 06th 2012

NGOs in the city who are protesting on behalf of flat owners on the VAT issue have written a letter to the city builders association Credai Pune Metro chief Satish Magar, welcoming his suggestions to help narrow the divide between flat owners and builders.

The Grahak Panchayat, Grahak Hitvardhini and Sajag Nagrik Manch jointly wrote the letter to Magar on Monday, calling for a public debate.

It suggested various options to the builders body to end their impasse, firstly asking Credai to start a technical debate with sales tax officials. If you promise to bring up this point with them, we will co-operate. Builders and flat owners will not take legal action against each other till this issue is resolved, stated the letter.

 If Credai cant accept this option, let us hold a public debate overseen by CAs, sales tax officials and a retired judge from the High Court or Supreme Court. Its outcome will chart the future course of joint action, it added.

NGOs also said that if both options were unacceptable to Credai, it could suggest other alternatives.

Finally, the letter stated that a fight between builders and flat owners wont lead to a solution on the issue. Hence, joining hands and fighting with the government would be the way to resolve the matter.

When the contrast between statements by district guardian minister Sachin Ahir, who said flat owners are not supposed to pay the VAT, and Magars insistence that customers pay it, Sudhakar Velankar of the Grahak Hitvardhini said, You cant rely on a ministers statement. A state government order issued on August 6 this year put the onus on customers. Whom should we believe?

The Government Resolution (GR) had directed builders to pay 5 per cent VAT on properties sold between June 2006 and March 2010. Since it was an indirect tax, the builders started issuing notices to property owners to pay the tax.

We have made an appeal to Credai. If they are serious about the issue, they should be ready for joint action, added Velankar.

When contacted, Magar appeared positive about the NGOs appeal and said, I have also suggested that we fight together. In fact, we too are fighting for the rights of flat owners. Had we not been doing that, we would not have moved court in 2008. I will comment in detail in this regard only after reading the letter.

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