Millennium Post

The other dispossessed

Each of us dreams of building our own homes that is an abode of happiness, where we can relax, have fun and enjoy all amenities. It is this dream that every person wants to fulfil and spends all his life’s investment on.

Private builders are doing every bit to fulfil this demand by launching budget friendly apartments. People book a house in these upcoming complexes and pay hefty EMIs. However, instead of seeing their dream getting fulfilled, they never get the possession of their homes on time. This is a very common scenario in Noida Extension and Greater Noida.

Noida has already established itself as the new residential hub. One can see more and more residential homes being constructed in the city. Noida Extension is one of the fastest emerging residential societies in the city.

While crossing the Noida-Dadri road, one can see clusters of tall under construction buildings. The fastest-emerging residential society in north India, Noida Extension is all set to house lakhs in private residential buildings.

Amrapali, Gaur, Ajnara are among the several developers that are raising high world-class residential complexes here. However, there is more to the story. There is a tussle between the home buyers and builders that never seems to end when it comes to delivering the projects on time.

Satyendra Rai, a 42–year-old civil engineer has been dreaming of moving into his own apartment from rented house. In 2009, Rao who was paying a monthly rent of Rs 15,000, planned to buy his own abode. He surveyed the real estate opportunities in Noida and finalised Noida Extension.

He decided to choose an apartment from India’s fastest growing real estate developers in Delhi-NCR, Amrapali Group.

He took a loan of Rs 30 lakh to buy the 11th floor apartment of Amrapali Dream Valley. The developers promised to hand over the keys after three years, in March 2013. But due to a stay order by Allahabad High Court, the developers extended the delivery time to 2014.

To Rao’s utter surprise, he has now come to know that he will only get the possession of his two-bedroom apartment in 2016.

‘I was hoping to get the possession of my apartment in 2014, but now I will have to wait for another two years to get the keys’, Satyendra Rai said.

The delay in the construction of the apartment has put additional burden on Rai. ‘I thought I will not have to pay the rent anymore and can live happily in my house but because of the delay, not only do I have to repay the loan, but also the rent. It has affected my budget,’ said Rai who is a father of two teenage sons. Rai said that the building is still under construction and the homes do not even have doors or toilets or fixtures.

The real estate group’s chairman and managing director Anil Sharma, who is also the president of CREDAI-NCR, said that the delay in the construction is due to the 2012 stay order of the Allahabad High Court.

Apparently in October 2012, the Allahabad High Court had stayed work of the private developer including five others seeking an answer on how these builders continued construction without completing the process of land acquisition from the farmers concerned.

The work resumed only after the farmers were given compensation demanded by them. This is an alibi for the real estate developers.

Anil Sharma said, ‘We do not deliberately hold the construction but it was not in our hands when the stay order was issued. Now, we are trying hard to finish the construction as soon as possible and deliver the homes to the buyers.’

There are many others like Rao who are fighting for their houses. Sagayn Raju is one among thousands have been left in a quandary due to snail-paced construction of residential buildings. A deputy manager, billing in ATS, Raju had booked a seventh floor apartment in AVJ Heights in sector Zeta 1 of Greater Noida. While he was supposed to get the possession of his house this October, now he will have to wait till next February to get the keys of his dream home.

Raju said that when he contacted the management of AVJ Heights, he was told that the developer was unable to complete the residential tower because farmers were creating trouble. ‘I have invested my life’s savings in buying this house. I thought I will not have to pay the rent anymore as I will be moving to my own house. But the dreams have been crushed for at least next six months,’ Raju said. But Raju can still heave a sigh of relief as AVJ Heights has agreed to pay 50 per cent of the EMI as penalty. Nevertheless, not everyone is as fortunate as Raju. Unlike him, Rao is not getting any penalty by Amrapali Developers. There is a clause which says that in case of delay in possession, developers should pay the penalty to the buyers.

However, Anil Sharma said that his company is not liable to pay any penalty because it has not changed the value of the property according to renewed rates. ‘We cannot pay the penalty because we have not asked our buyers to give even a single penny extra even after the rates of the properties have jumped manifold,’ adds Sharma. According to Indian law, a developer must deliver the residential property within 30 months or three years including six months grace period to the buyer after he signs an agreement and begins the payment. But the reports and records suggest that at any point of time 80-90 per cent projects are delayed by 2-3 years.

Amit Kumar, an analyst at PropBasket said that there are several reasons for the delayed construction of buildings and further postponement in handing over possession. He said, ‘In Noida Extension, first it was because of the farmers who were acting as hindrance in the construction. They demand compensation on fresh rates for their land which gives birth to tussle between them and Noida Authority, delaying the project.’ Another real estate consultant on the condition of anonymity to save his business relationships from damage said that the delay occurs due to limited cash flow. He explained that a developer comes up with a new project when he faces low sales of his previous project. He uses the money from new the project to complete the old project and this delays all projects as part of a chain reaction.

Buyers waiting for their homes are the worst affected as they end up paying interest on home loans as well as house rent where as investors get a reason to smile as the prices of their property appreciate. This practice has been a matter of concern even for the government. To save the innocent buyers from getting cheated by the developers, the UP government in August this year had introduced a Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013 in Rajya Sabha. The bill is being seen as an attempt by the government to deter builders from advertising residential projects without getting government clearances beforehand. The real estate agents can be sentenced for up to three years in jail if found guilty.

The government is hopeful that it will get the bill passed in the upcoming winter session of Parliament that begins on 5 December and will last till 20 December. We can only hope that the bill gets cleared and the poor buyers can fight against the predatory practices of these real estate agents in the near future.
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