Fail to get possession from builder on time
Panchkula, July 15
Local eye specialist Ashok Gupta rues the day when he booked a flat in the upcoming Ess Vee Apartments in Sector 20 here in 2006. Gupta was promised the possession of a three-bedroom flat, measuring 1600 sq ft, in November 2009 by Samar Estates Private Limited. Gupta was confident that since the Haryana Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD), which has a reputation of being a stickler of rules, had granted the licence to the builder, his investment was safe.
Inspired by this confidence, Gupta paid Rs 36 lakh as 90 per cent of the cost of the flat. The remaining Rs 4 lakh (10 per cent of the cost) was to be paid by him at the time of the delivery of the possession.
The deadline has passed since long and Gupta does not know when his wait for the flat would be over because only two blocks of the proposed 24 have been constructed so far. About 320 other persons are also sailing in the same boat as Gupta, but they do not want to be identified for fear of losing their hard-earned money.
Gupta made a complaint to the Director, TCPD, on May 31, 2010, against the builder. The department sought the comments of the builder, which were sent to Gupta and the matter rested there. Not satisfied, Gupta made another complaint to the Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary, TCPD, SS Dhillon, in early 2011. Dhillon asked Additional Director, Urban Estates, Vivek Atray to look into Gupta’s complaint.
After hearing both parties, Atray concluded in May 2011 that “there is clearly an appreciable amount of delay in the execution of the project…the undersigned visited the site and found that there was hardly any construction activity on, and even by the builder’s (respondent) own submission, only the brick work of Phase I is ready as of now.”
Atray also recommended that the TCPD should penalise the builder…because the licence was granted by the department and “it is incumbent upon them (the department) that they ensure execution of the project as per the laid down terms and conditions.”
The officer also concluded that the builder’s claim that Gupta had defaulted in making the payment “do not appear valid when the project itself has been delayed”.
Almost after five months of submission of Atray’s report, the TCPD issued a notice to the builder asking him to explain why action should not be taken against him for violating various conditions of the licence and the rules. It is not known why the department did not wake up when the builder had been violating its rules for the past several years.
Interestingly, in his reply the builder accused the department of being biased against him and not taking any action against several companies, which, he said, were “similarly situated” as Samar Estates.
Meanwhile, Gupta moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court praying for directions to the Haryana Government to take action (against the builder) as mandated under the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Act, 1975, and order an inquiry by the CBI or any other independent agency into the issue of licences to unscrupulous builders and failure of officials in not taking action against the violators.
Vinod Bagai, MD of Samar Estate, said his company had complied with all rules and regulations of the TCPD and had paid all fees to it. The project, he said, had been delayed because of recession and labour shortage caused by MNREGA. The applicants had also defaulted in making timely payments, he said.