South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

The Jatiya Sangsad passed a bill yesterday providing for punishment to real estate developers for wrongdoings and protection of the interests of landowners and buyers.

On the recommendations of a parliamentary body, provisions were included in the bill also for punishing landowners for violation of contracts with developers.

The bill was placed in the House on September 7 last year and sent to the parliamentary standing committee on the housing and public works ministry for scrutiny. The committee was asked to submit its report to the House within three weeks.

But the committee, dominated by developers-turned-lawmakers, held back passage of the bill for the last one year taking extension of time repeatedly.

After scrutinising the bill, it placed a report in the Sangsad on Monday recommending incorporation of the provisions for punishment of landowners.

State Minister for Housing and Public Works Abdul Mannan Khan accepted the committee’s recommendations and proposed passage of the bill.

According to the bill passed last night, all real estate developers have to be registered with the authorities concerned, and an unregistered developer may be imprisoned for two years or fined Tk 10 lakh for advertising in the media any property development project.

If a developer fails to provide utility facilities in line with the prospectus concerned, he or she will be fined Tk 5 lakh, or imprisoned for a year for failing to pay the fine.

Another provision of the bill says a developer will be imprisoned for three years or fined Tk 20 lakh, or awarded both for constructing buildings in violation of approved design.

In case a developer does not comply with the contract with landowners or buyers, or keeps construction work unfinished and does not pay compensation for this, it will be considered cheating, says the bill.

And a developer may be imprisoned for up to two years or fined Tk 20 lakh, or awarded both for cheating.

Moreover, the bill says a landowner may be jailed for up to two years or fined Tk 10 lakh for violation of the contract signed with a developer.

A landowner may also face the same punishment if he or she cancels the contract signed with a developer without serving a notice at least 30 days before the date of cancellation, says the bill.

Another bill was placed in parliament yesterday seeking to establish an expatriate welfare bank.

Justifying passage of the bill, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said the proposed bank will provide loans to unemployed youths on soft terms so that they can go abroad for employment.

It will also give loans to non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) after their return home, the minister said in a written statement tagged with the bill.

The bank will also assist the NRBs to send remittance to country easily, he said.

The bill was sent to the parliamentary standing committee on the finance ministry for scrutiny.

Source: Daily Star – 23.09.2010