In order to protect consumer rights in the real estate sector, the Punjab government's department of housing and urban development on Monday launched various SMS services to provide necessary information to its consumers. The new services have been launched after Punjab's chief minister (CM) Captain Amarinder Singh asked the department to prioritise consumer affairs over all other matters.

As per the new move, applicants of the new schemes will be able to know the status of their applications through regular updates sent by the department. "As on date 5,85,470 SMS passing on the said information have already been sent to the allottees which will help them avoid their visits to various offices in the department", an official spokesperson said.

He further said that all the new services provided in Right to Service Act 2011 through this SMS facility will be cover under this move. "The service provides for informing the consumers, allottees about the payments due seven days prior to the due date.

Payment alerts on the due date, acknowledging the payment, reminder if payment not received, information about diary number and date of the documents received will also be provided under this module", he said. Adding to this, acknowledgement of document submitted at single window counter, information about documents dispatched to the allottees, acknowledgement of application received in new schemes and communicating result of the draw of lots and property number will also be available, he said.

The spokesperson also said that the department is in the process of issuing an appeal to its consumers or allottees so that they should get their mobile numbers registered along with their property details to avail this SMS facility. Spokesperson said that presently, the service has been introduced for Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and would be shortly extended to all development authorities in the state. "The SMS service will promote rapport with the consumers and will add transparency in the existing system. This will also promote government's reach to a common man", said the spokesperson.