The under-construction site of DB Ozon Complex, located near Dahisar Check Naka, has become a cause of depression for over 3,600 families. Having paid 80 per cent of the total cost for their dream homes, the buyers are still waiting to get possession for more than four years. Booking for the project had started on the eve of Gudi Padwa in 2008 with a proposed completion in December 2012. However, the buyers alleged that since December 2012, the project completion dates have been postponed 12 months every year, with no official confirmation on the final date. Those who have invested heavily in the property are also paying rent for their current accommodation and EMIs for their future homes. Around 200 people who have been meeting at the site to find a solution said that the project, with no ongoing construction work and absence of direct communication with the organisation, has burnt a hole in their pockets.
The flat buyers at the site of DB Ozon. Pic/RomitaChakraborty
Spread across a 14-acre property, with 25 buildings of 15-20 storeys, DB Ozon garnered popularity within no time due to its connectivity to Thane and Mumbai districts and affordability. Being available at Rs 2,300/sq ft, all the 3,600 flats of the builder were sold out within a few years. While the buyers were asked to pay 10 per cent of the total amount on booking and 3 per cent each on the completion of each slab (floor), with total 19 slabs, people have paid off 80 per cent of the amount, since the buildings stand ready with all the floors and terrace being built.
Jignesha Panchal, a Kandivali resident and marketing executive who booked the flat in November 2008 and got the agreement made in November 2011, said that every individual who is trying to get in touch with the authorities to enquire about the possession date is receiving mixed answers about the same. "I have paid 80 per cent out of Rs 18,24,030 for my 415 sq feet flat. However, there is no sign of project completion and my money is stuck. Secondly, the agreement deed mentions that if we try to sell the flat, the amount will be calculated on the booking rate with 9 per cent depreciation per annum. At that rate, even if I sell it, I'll get nothing," said Panchal.
Others are complaining that the amount they have to pay as EMI with the current rate of interest and rent that they are playing at their current residence is burning a hole in their pockets. "For almost all of us, this is our first home. We thought that the project will be completed soon and we will be able to move in, but after five years, there are a handful workers on site with no projected deadline to complete the work," said Amit Salaskar, an electrical engineer from Bhayander who booked a flat in 2010.
The buyers said they are being asked to pay the breakup amount of their flats on time, and a delay on their part attracts heavy interest. Pritesh Gokhle, a software engineer from Borivali said, "We pay 21 per cent interest on the installment if we fail to make the payment on time. Plus, there is a Rs 1,000 charge if the cheque bounces. But we can't expect the same timeliness and discipline from them."
People were also charged for a certain development and infrastructure charge, which costs anywhere from Rs 20,000-1.50 lakh for people who booked a flat before April 2013; however, this was raised to Rs 8-15 lakhs for those who booked them afterwards with a rate of Rs 1,000/sq ft. The amount will have to be paid by the flat owners on the day of possession.
Flat buyers also complained that the only communication that takes place once in a while is through mail that carries no official signature and only the builder's name. Despite repeated attempts, Vipul Bansal, CEO, DB Realty, was unavailable for comment.