Co-operative Housing Society

Housing societies woo members with plush annual meetings

Attendance goes up significantly as lavish spreads in banquet halls attract members.

Samosas and wafers are passé. Society general body meetings have switched to sangrias and canapés. The annual ritual of housing societies in the city is literally going places, moving from the cooped office on the premises of the cooperative society to plush venues like star hotels and banquet halls. Today is the last Sunday ahead of the August 15 deadline to conduct the AGM and for scores of societies in the city, the meeting is set to be one lavish affair.

While in some societies the fun and food formula is a tried-and-tested way to ensure good attendance at an otherwise staid meeting, others believe that a grand function makes for a good opportunity for families of the members to bond over cocktails and dinner. “Many members are not really interested in the administrative affairs of the society, but when we have a function at a good venue, they do turn up for an evening out,” says Satish Jawahrani, secretary, Akshay Mittal Society in Andheri.

Jawahrani adds that the meeting itself lasts for a short duration and once the business of the day is negotiated, the members and their families can interact informally. This year, Akshay Mittal Society organised its AGM at the 3-star Kohinoor Intercontinental, and the tab for the party was about Rs50,000. “Of the 270 members, about 60 turned up for the meeting. Had we organised it at a five-star, the attendance would have been even better,” quipped Jawahrani.

Given that the AGM is held at a time of the year when unpredictable weather rules out an outdoor location, the shelter of a banquet hall and the services of the hotel’s kitchen often help ensure that the members just have to land up at the venue. “The food, the drinks, the music – everything is taken care of. We do not have to worry about organising anything; no hassles of coordinating with different suppliers to make an evening of it. And the marginal increase in cost is worth it since the money is from the members and for the members,” says Alok Gupta, secretary of Rushi Tower Society in Lokhandwala. “While the annual Holi party is organised on the society premises, the AGM is conducted at a more upmarket venue nearby,” he adds. This year, Rushi Tower has planned its AGM at Barbecue Nation.

Housing experts opine that as long as the significance of the AGM is not diluted, the trend to conduct it at posh venues is a positive one. “A good venue with good arrangements allows the society members to interact in a relaxed atmosphere that’s conducive to cooperation and healthy discussions. After all, the AGM is not only about passing the books of accounts, but also addressing other important issues that affect the society members,” says Ramesh Prabhu, Chairman, Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association. Prabhu is of the opinion that a posh venue can be a good incentive for reluctant members who usually shy away from affairs of the society. “Since it’s awkward to land in time for dinner, they will willy-nilly attend the meeting and participate in the working of the society,” he concluded.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 31, 2013 at 7:34 pm

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Housing societies not under RTI yet: Info chief

The 97th constitutional amendment made RTI activists happy because they believed that it brought co-operative housing societies under the purview of the RTI Act.

In February, the state passed its own ordinance implementing the amendment.

State chief information commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad does not stand with the activists’ consensus.

He spoke with dna’s Ashutosh Shukla about cooperative societies, pending second appeals and voluntary disclosure.

Your opinion on housing societies coming under RTI?

I don’t think that they come under RTI Act. One has to read section 2h of the RTI Act to see what it covers. Just because an amendment enables something to come up, does not mean it is established by the government. Societies are a body formed by 20 people. Where is the public interest in that? Even if it did come under RTI, whom will we fine as public information officers? Private companies too are formed under Companies Act but that does not mean they come under RTI unless they are financed or adhere to some of the provisions.

What is the status of second appeals?

There are around 23,000 second appeals in all benches. In my bench, people will be able to get orders within two months if they file an appeal today. Due to vacancies the pending appeals in greater Mumbai region are over 3,000, of which, around 1,500 are of 2011 and 1,600 of 2012. By December, 1,500 appeals of Greater Mumbai bench will be cleared.

Voluntary disclosure under section 4 of the RTI Act has not improved much.

There is nothing much the commission can do. The state government, collectors and people heading the authority will have to take most of the initiative. We had issued directions to all public authorities to properly implement section 4. This time, a reminder will go a warning that disobedience of the commission orders will attract serious contempt under section 166 of the IPC (deals with imprisonment of public servant or fine or both)

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 7:33 pm

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Mumbai: Societies can now wrest dues out of you

Are you a repeat defaulter on maintenances charges for your flat? Mend your ways.

Are you a repeat defaulter on maintenances charges for your flat? Mend your ways. Housing societies in the state will soon have the power to initiate recovery proceedings from flat owners who default on such charges.

This was one of the amendments to the Maharashtra State Co-Operatives Act cleared by the state cabinet on Wednesday to bring it in line with the 97th amendment to the Constitution, which is aimed at encouraging the economic activities of cooperatives.

Societies, however, don’t get a free run of things. If they initiate recovery proceedings, they will still have to take the help of a recovery officer of the state.

While the cabinet cleared a move to permit housing society executive bodies to even sell flats to recover dues in extreme cases, the final sale of a flat will require the approval of the registrar of cooperatives.

Worried over an amendment that disallows administrators to be appointed for unaided societies — a move that would do away with state intervention in co-operative societies that do not take any government aid — the state is looking at legal options to allow intervention if there is mismanagement and misappropriation of society funds.

Co-operation minister Harshvardhan Patil said the state is mulling over a legal option of imposing certain conditions which allow it to intervene. “People can then come to us, saying the societies are registered and that the government should do something about the co-operative institution if there is deposit erosion or liquidity collapse.”

The scope for state intervention in co-operative institutions receiving government aid has been further reduced with an amendment that allows suspension or supersession of the board for only a period of six months. In the case of co-operative banks, this period cannot exceed a year.
Another major amendment stipulates that members of co-operatives will have to attend at least one annual general meeting to stay an active member. Else, he/she will be dubbed ‘non-active’, ergo, losing the right to vote.

Advocate Vinod Sampath, housing societies law expert, picked holes in the amendments. “There are a few good things. But the move to allow housing societies to directly start recovery proceedings against defaulters and then get the approval of the registrar may not be right. Any penalty can be levied only by a court, and the society cannot decide and levy them. There has to be a counter-check to the powers vested with the society. The managing committee can charge whatever comes to their mind and levy a penalty on the house owner to recover dues. People with vested interests may take advantage of this amendment.”

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Tag a must to drive into this housing society

No tag, no entry. This is what a new security system installed by a cooperative housing society in Navi Mumbai ensures.

No tag, no entry. This is what a new security system installed by a cooperative housing society in Navi Mumbai ensures.

Seawoods Estate CHS recently installed a radio frequency identification (RFID)-based access control system. As per the system, residents are required to paste an RFID tag, which looks like a sticker, on the windshield of their vehicles. This will grant them entry without having to stop for any manual checks.
Residents claimed theirs is the first society in the city and one of the few in India to have installed such a system.

Netra Shirke, society’s chairperson, said, “From now on, access from the complex’s gate no 1 will be denied to vehicles not having the tag. Visitors’ cars and those without tags will be routed to gate no 2 where access will be granted after manual checks. This will smoothen entry and exit of vehicles from the complex.”

Sandeep Salunkhe, society’s treasurer and the brain behind the selection and implementation of the system, said, “We evaluated many options and finally narrowed down to this system. It offers excellentfeatures and looks very sophisticated.”

Members said that Seawoods Estate being a large society and housing around 1,200 cars, security has always been their first priority. “I am glad we took this decision. This is in line with our vision of using technology for improving efficiency and making it more convenient for our residents,” said society’s
secretary Sandeep Bangia.

Deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Vijay Patil inaugurated the system.

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Aadhaar enrolment centre in your housing society soon

Soon, instead of standing in serpentine queues to enroll yourself for an Aadhaar card, you may be able to do it from the comfort of your housing society or workplace.

Because of diminishing footfall, the state government is planning to allow the setup of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) registration centres in private premises like housing societies and companies.

State IT secretary Rajesh Aggarwal said that they decided to do this after the footfall at registration centres in Mumbai started declining. So far, around 72% people in the city have registered for their Aadhaar cards.

Earlier, the state had allowed enrollment centres in around 530 societies and companies in Mumbai, Pune and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) but had stopped it after deciding to go in for “priority registration” for LPG consumers and beneficiaries of the direct benefit transfer scheme and to cater to people lining up at the Aadhaar registration centres.

An IT department source said they planned to allow the setup of registration centres in private premises in Mumbai and surrounding areas like Thane, Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad.

“The BMC wrote to us about the declining footfall. In areas where the footfall is declining, 50% of the machines should be deployed in large housing societies and corporates,” he said, adding that the remaining 50% kits would be in public premises. A final decision is expected soon.

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Soon, you can get cheap veggies in your housing society


If buying vegetables from your local bhajiwala has made your household budget go up in smoke, relief might be just around the corner; in fact, in your own housing complex.

City developers have decided to set up at least 100 shops, along the lines of Apna Bazaar, in various housing societies where fresh vegetables will be sold at subsidised rates.

The move comes in the wake of rising vegetable prices in the retail market which are pinching consumers. As the number of corporate sector-sponsored centres called Apna Bazaar aren’t enough to tackle the growing number of vegetable buyers, the state government has appealed to city developers, particularly those who have developed the bigger housing complexes, to set up shops that will sell vegetables at cheaper rates. The government will supply the vegetables.

A senior government official said that in the retail market vegetables are being sold at rates double and triple than those in the wholesale market.

“And the scapegoat in all this is the consumer. For instance, in the wholesale market, tomato costs Rs30 per kg, whereas in the retail, the rate is double that, Rs60. We don’t have any control over these street vendors from whom 90% of the people buy vegetables.

Hence, we want to smash this well-entrenched cartel by setting up as many shops in housing societies as possible. We had a meeting with several developers and they are willing to set up the shops,” the official added.

Vimal Shah, president of Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry, said they will set up at least 100 Apna Bazaar-like shops in various places in the city.

“The state government is giving the locations where it can supply vegetables. So, as per the demand, we will ask our developers to set up the shops. We have circulated a note regarding the same within our developer community,” he said.

Manju Yagnik, vice-chairperson at Nahar Group, said, “We are checking out the nitty-gritty of the proposal. We need to have enough space to set up such shops. There are some developers who have that space and they may go ahead. We will try our best to work out this idea to benefit the people.”

Prakash Bobade, assistant general manager at Ajmera Group, said they too are working out the idea of setting up these shops, while sources close to Kalpataru Group said they have decided to set up the shops in their prominent housing complexes across the city.

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