In 2009, Belapur resident Chandra K Ravi booked a flat in Tata’s Shubh Grih, a budget housing project at Boisar, after the developer promised delivery in December 2011. Four months past the due date, Chandra discovered the project had been delayed for an uncertain period.
“I planned to shift from my current rented house to my own and get my childrenadmitted into a new school. But everything has gone haywire despite paying all my instalments on time,” said Chandra.
In 2008, when Kailash Patil booked a flat in Lodha’s Casa Universe project at Thane, the developer committed himself to a 2011 deadline. Today, the building is only half-done, and according to Patil, it will take at least two more years. “Because of the developer’s fault, I am having to pay both the EMI and rent,” Patil told DNA.
Chandra feels developers should be held responsible for such hold-ups. “If a buyer delaysthe instalment payment, developers are quick to charge 18-22% interest on the delayed payment. They too should be held responsible and asked to pay usrent for the delay they cause,” he said.
Confirming that many projects were late by six months to over three years, managing director Pankaj Kapoor of Liases Foras, a real-estate research firm, said 65% of the 4,091 projects launched over the last three years have been deferred. Kapoor revealed that instead of spending the initial booking amount on the building’s construction, most builders use it to buy chunks of land.
“As construction work progresses, the builder sells the remaining flats at a higher cost and again routes the money to different projects,” he added.
“While the glut in the real-estate market results in fewer sales, the tightening of lending rules by banks makes the requisite amount unavailable. So housing projects are slowed in a deliberate move by builders,” alleged Kapoor, adding that only after the market recovers enough to boost sales will the construction activity pick up.
When contacted, Anand Gupta, treasurer of Builder Association of India, admitted to the delay of projects by certain builders, but blamed it on a sluggish market.
“Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is equally responsible as his government did not approve proposals on time, thus causing delay in delivery.” Gupta added, “If the government compensates us, we will compensate buyers.”