A few hundred buyers led a protest march against builders to draw attention of the government
Puja Bhattacharjee | November 3, 2014
Come November, Delhiites look forward to pleasant morning walks, the soothing rays of the afternoon sun and cosy nights under the blanket. Atul Malhotra and Ravi Rajoria too would have been looking forward to the winter after six excruciating summer months. But destiny had other plans. On Saturday, instead of spending the weekend relaxing at home, they travelled from Janakpuri and Faridabad, respectively to join a protest rally.
A number of flat buyers of various projects had congregated in front of The Great India Place Mall in sector 38, Noida, on November 1 to protest against the indefinite delay in delivery of their flats by the builders.
Dr Shiv Kumar, a professor in Delhi University had booked a flat in Jaypee Green Knights Court in sector 128, Noida, in 2011. The promised date of delivery was in 2014. “The buildings are not even half finished. A bare skeletal structure is standing where by now there should have been a complete house. Very few workers can be seen on the site. The contractors told us that work cannot progress as they are not being paid,” he said. Like Kumar, many others were lured by the brand names and good record. Now, they are stuck with paying the EMI of the loans that they had taken to buy their flats along with paying rent for their existing accommodation.
The buyers feel all the more harassed due to the lack of communication from the Noida Authority despite repeated pleas. Advocate N K Sarin who had booked a flat in Unihomes 3 in Noida says the amendments to the consumer protection Act would benefit the buyers as it would enable them to approach the consumer courts as an association. At present, only an individual can approach the court. The buyers do not have much faith in the real estate (regulation and development) bill.
Kumar said, “One of the original clauses of the bill mandated that 70 percent of the amount collected from buyers of a project will be used only for construction of that project. But now that clause might be diluted to 50 percent. Besides, the bill lacks strong measures to curb cheating the buyer in terms of the area of the house.”
On measurement Kumar found that the actual carpet area is 3-4 percent less whereas the super area is seven percent more.
Malhotra, a private sector employee and Rajoria, a chartered accountant had booked a flat in Unitech South Park in sector 70, Gurgaon, in March 2011. The builder had tied up with Punjab National Bank Housing Finance Limited (PNBHFL) for disbursing loans to the flat buyers. “To make the deal more attractive, the builder promised to pay the EMI on behalf of the consumer for two years,” Malhotra said.
“The promised date of delivery was early 2014. But we got to know that the builder got the statutory approvals in 2014. They launched the project without even having the approval,” he added. They had registered an FIR against the builder in the economic offenses wing (EOW) and have made PNBHFL a party to the connivance. “The bank was the official fund manager for the project. How could they not know that the builder did not have the required permissions?” he asked.
“Now since the matter is with EOW, we expect a speedy investigation, which shall bring relief to us soon,” Malhotra said.
People who marched from sector 38 to sector 16 had sacrificed their weekends for meetings and are dealing with stress on a regular basis – all for a home. Placards calling for the prime minister’s attention towards the real estate issues were ubiquitous at the rally.
The ‘acche din’ promised by the government is yet to reach everybody.
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