15 years on, their dream homes still a pipe dream

Updated: Dec 03, 2019, 07:18 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

138 home buyers in a Mulund tower move RERA as their final hope; some have even moved out of Mumbai due to the financial loss

The three towers of the World Homes project
The three towers of the World Homes project

Not just pollution, bad roads, and traffic snarls, but incomplete housing projects too are driving families away from the city. One such group of 138 residents, denied houses booked in the Amethyst Tower of World Homes project in Mulund, have joined hands to take on the developer, Nirmal Lifestyle Limited.

V Chandrashekhar Aiyer, 66, a retired management consultant, who spent his life working in Mumbai, had dreamt of owning his dream house in Mulund West, where he wanted to spend his retired life. He invested in the under-construction project but 15 years since his dream house exists only on a piece of paper.

With no sign of the project being completed and the interest on the bank loan hounding him, Aiyer was forced to shift to his ancestral house in Bengaluru. He continues to shuttle between the two metropolises.

"I made a booking with Nirmal Lifestyle Limited in 2005 and was allotted flat no. 1410, measuring 1070 sqft in the 30-storey Amethyst Tower, one of the three in the World Homes project on LBS road. I was to get the possession in 2008," Aiyer told mid-day.

Another retired buyer, V L Ganesh, 61, booked a 2BHK flat measuring 1,080 sqft for Rs 35 lakh. "Back then, I was 45 with a well-paying job. The building project has been completely delayed for the past 14 years," Ganesh said. "We homebuyers have been interacting with the builder for the past 10 years. They give promises but no results. We have paid around 87 per cent of the agreed cost," said Ganesh.

Plans scuttled

"I belong to the middle class. I had planned ahead for this. I am still paying interest on the bank loan. The developer took people's money and promised world-class amenities. But all they did was rout it to other projects. All their projects are in limbo," said Aiyer.

Homebuyers who booked flats in the Amethyst towerHomebuyers who booked flats in the Amethyst tower

Aiyer claimed that Nirmal Lifestyle has a history of not completing projects and is deliberately delaying the work.

According to Ganesh, the building is yet to get three slabs, lifts, lift room and water tank. "There are three towers on a common podium. The other two towers were launched eight years after ours, but the progress in those two has been relatively good, though possession is not given. I booked the flat as a provision for my children but all my plans have been shattered by Nirmal Lifestyle," Ganesh said.

Flat-buyers recently formed the Amethyst Cooperative Housing Society Ltd (proposed) with the T Ward Deputy Registrar's office. They society has to complete all formalities in two months to get registered officially. The developer initially agreed to give required information and signed certain documents, but at the last moment, he backed out, claimed Aiyer.

"We also requested Nirmal Lifestyle to furnish details of dues owed to BMC and other authorities, which they have not shared so far, despite having assured us of it before the MahaRERA chairman Gautam Chatterjee during a hearing on November 5. They were to submit the details within 20 days. Efforts to get information under RTI also did not yield results," said Aiyer.

Double whammy

Homebuyers who took housing loans have to pay EMIs and house rents due to the delay. "This is a double whammy for such families. Such builders should be brought to book," said Ganesh.

As the developer is citing lack of funds for the delay, homebuyers will approach the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) to take action under Section 7(3) (ensuring completion of project instead of revoking registration) of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act. "We will pay the balance cost of the flats and seek completion of construction supervised by MahaRERA. We hope the authorities come down heavily on these builders," Ganesh said. 

V C Aiyer and V L GaneshV C Aiyer and V L Ganesh

Rajesh Gopinath, who was working in Dubai, wanted to move to India and invested in the project. He stayed in Navi Mumbai on rent as this project languished. A few months ago, he moved to Delhi for work. Another homebuyer, Raji, who is settled in Singapore, wanted to move to India. However, all she and her family have ended up doing is shuttling between here and Singapore.

Efforts made to contact Advocate Tushar Kadam, representing Nirmal Lifestyle Ltd and the company's Director, Rajeev Jain, did not yield any results.

Lawyer speak

Advocate Godfrey Pimenta, who is representing over 138 flat-buyers from Amethyst tower, said, "It is unfortunate that the builder, even after giving assurances before the MahaRERA chairman gave only half the documents the flat-buyers needed. We will move another application this week before the MahaRERA to expedite the hearing and supervise the project's completion through a Resolution Panel."

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