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5-11 September 2014

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319, Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014

Vol. 4 No. 3  Pages 24  ` 10

Judgement Days for Builder-State Wazirabad

Ambience Lagoon { Abhishek Behl / FG }

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ustice – especially against ‘powerful interests’ may seem to be perpetually delayed in India, but the good news is that it is starting to be delivered fairly constantly, and consistently, across the courts (specially the high and the supreme). The ‘all-powerful’ builders in Gurgaon, who seem to be able to manage or co-opt every organ of the State (allegedly using their money power and influence with the politicians) and are almost a law unto themselves, are starting to feel the heat. In the latest instance, a double bench of the Supreme Court has directed a Gurgaon-based developer to refund 70 per cent of the maintenance fees (collected over a decade plus) to the apartment owners, as the Company had failed to provide adequate facilities, which were promised when the project was launched – as also failed to maintain some (provided) facilities adequately. The Supreme Court bench of Justices V Gopala Gowda and Adarsh Kumar Goel have upheld a ruling of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), which had asked the builders of Ambience Lagoon Apartments to refund 70 per cent of the maintenance fees - along with 9 per cent interest – that had been collected from the buyers. “Three hundred and forty five apartment owners will benefit from the Supreme Court order,” says Dr SC Talwar, a resident of the Ambience Lagoon Apartments, who filed this case in 2004 and has almost single-handedly fought the legal battle with the builder. Talwar says that when they had moved into the complex, the quality of lifts was very poor, and there were several instances when people faced trouble due to these faults. Another important reason for filing the case was that the developer had promised four lifts for every ten flats in a block, but had delivered only two lifts. The specifications of the lifts and safety mechanisms were not of a high standard, and despite the residents paying charges regularly the maintenance was poor. The issue was also raised with the RWA, but no one was ready to take up the matter. Talwar then decided to reach out individually to flat owners, and get them to sign a complaint addressed to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. "I particularly went to flat owners of C, E, F, and H blocks, because they faced more problems. So poor was the condition of the lifts that in one instance a lift in Block A stopped between the floors and its door

n what could be termed a major embarrassment for the Congress government in Haryana, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has set aside its decision of allotting about 350 acres of land to real estate major DLF in Wazirabad village in Gurgaon. The High Court decision is also being seen a setback for the Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who recently had claimed that if it is proven that even an inch of land has been illegally given to a coloniser, he will quit politics. While the complicity of his government is not proven in this case, the High Court decision has given timely ammunition to the opposition (just before elections), and his critics say that the Chief Minister should take personal responsibility. The Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed the transfer of this land, which was acquired basically for public welfare but was given to DLF for developing a residential society, commercial facilities, sports and a golf course. A division bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Amol Rattan Singh held that the allotment of the land to DLF, on February 9, 2010, was not fair, just and reasonable. While the High Court upheld the land acquisition, it has now asked the government to conduct a fresh auction, inviting international bids too. DLF would be allowed to also participate. The landowners and panchayats had filed six petitions in the Punjab and High Court, challenging the acquisition of land and its transfer to DLF. INLD leader Abhay Chautala has demanded that a criminal case be registered, and an investigation conducted, on how land meant for public welfare was given to a private builder for developing residential and commercial projects. The Party is also pointing to the close relations between the Chief Minister and the developer, which had donated a huge sum for the construction of a college in memory of the CM’s grandfather. Chautala further alleges that the Congress government, under Sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, had issued notices for acquiring fourteen hundred acres of land, but only acquired seventy acres, and the rest was released, in collusion with the builders. INLD has included the above-mentioned violations in its chargesheet that was recently submitted to the Haryana Governor. The Chief Minister has threatened to file a defamation case against this chargesheet. The proposal to develop a leisure project in Wazirabad village was initiated during the government of Om Prakash Chautala, and HSIIDC was appointed as the government agency to develop the land after acquiring it. However, the arrival of the Congress government changed the scene, and it was decided to allot this land to a private developer, for commercial and residential

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Administration dressing-up redressal

he Grievance Redressal Process started by the Gurgaon Administration to resolve the problems being faced by thousands of apartment and plot owners and residents, has started to give results – though mixed. The RWAs, which are representing the residents of the City in the Grievance Committee meetings chaired by the Deputy Commissioner, say that their problems are at least being heard by the gov-

ernment, and some of these are also getting resolved, as the officials have forced the errant builders to address the basic issues in their colonies. It is however being alleged that only a few symptoms are being resolved, and the District administration needs much more support from the State government in order to cure the underlying disease. In what is being termed as a major victory for the residents, the District

Administration, through the Senior Town Planner, has issued a notice to DLF, one of the largest builders in Gurgaon, to remove encroachments in DLF Phases I to IV; this has been a bone of contention between the residents and the maintenance agency. Further, a survey of roads and other infrastructure, which was reported to have been carried out (by Town & Country Planning) earlier, and which showed that

things were almost perfect in the colonies, would have to be carried out once again - taking the RWA representatives into confidence. RS Rathee, President of the Gurgaon Citizens Council (GCC), who also represents the Qutab Enclave Residents Welfare Association (QERWA), says that there are a number of development and infrastructure works that have remained pending in the colonies. "The Senior Town Planner (STP), in a pos-

itive step, has directed for a meeting on September 10, to discuss the pending works, as well as community sites that are being used by the company (DLF) for its own benefit," says Rathee. Brijmohan Mehta, President, DLF Phase 4 RWA, says that problems exist in all the four phases, and it will take a lot of time and effort to resolve them. The RWA most importantly wants the Contd on p 6-7 

Friday gurgaon 5 11 sept, 2014  

..be the change you want to see

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