I am starting this blog to chronicle our struggles in getting possession of flats booked by the buyers of Ramprastha in Ramprastha City, Sector 37D, Gurgaon.
The flats were booked in 2008 in Edge Towers and in 2009 in two projects called Atrium and View. The buyers were promised delivery in August 2012. Progress was initially satisfactory and the structure came up fast along with demands for payment. Over 90% of the flat cost was collected by the company by end of 2011 or by early 2012 on the basis of structure coming up.
But after collecting the second last instalment, suddenly there was a slowdown in construction. Buyers were following the photographs posted on the Ramprastha web site. One year after the August 2012 completion date had come and gone, there was no change in the pictures being posted. Individual emails and phone calls went unanswered. By June 2013, the buyers were desperate and the yahoo group where the buyers were keeping in touch with other buyers started buzzing with indignation. So on 27th July 2013, a group of around 60 buyers decided to collect together and talk to the management.
The management of Ramprastha met the buyers and admitted that they had defaulted and caused delays. The proceedings were minuted and a few of us were called again on 31st July where a new deadline for possession was committed i.e March 2014 for Atrium and View and May 2014 for 6 towers of Edge towers (HIJKLM). Again the proceedings were minuted. Many other commitments of showing progress in the website were also told to us. But one month later when no progress reports were forthcoming on the website or emails as promised, another meeting was done between around 30 buyers and the Ramprastha management. We asked them if the construction crews had been increased. They said yes. Again the committed deadlines were re-iterated and we were told that they will put progress report systematically on web site. Everything was minuted.
But the progress reports were never put up on the web site apart from photos showing no visible change and we never got a call back or reply despite sending many emails.
Two and a half months went by. Those who lived near the construction site said there was little activity. Even the basement car park was not yet concreted. There seemed to be only 3 tiling teams for the whole of Atrium, tiling at the rate of one flat per day. But the tiling teams were never complete - someone or other was always on leave for Dusshera, Diwali, Chhat Puja, sickness or village visits and the rest seemed to sleep more than work. By November 9, 2013, 3 months and 10 days of the 8 months committed by Ramprastha had gone by. Only four and a half months remained. In the meantime, we all formed an association and got it registered.
On 9th November (yesterday) a group of 47 buyers collected together and asked Ramprastha management - why no progress? We were told that Ramprastha stands by its earlier committed dates of March 2014 for Atrium and View and May 2014 for Edge towers.
This time we said, please give it it writing.
Earlier also, every time a meeting was held, they would give verbal assurance. We would minute it. But they would refuse to sign the minutes, even though Ramprastha officials went over its contents and even changed some of the statements. We as buyers find it intriguing - does it mean a verbal assurance made by management of Ramprastha has no value? Does it mean that they can break their word just because they havent signed it? A senior management person was present in two of these meetings and also gave a verbal assurance on same deadline. We understand he is the CEO of Ramprastha. He is very popular with television channels and comes frequently on real estate programs on CNBC, NDTV Profit etc. So does such a senior persons verbal assurance also not have any value? If he goes over minutes of a meeting, changes some things but doesnt sign it, does it mean he can break his word?
We asked them - if you default in meeting the deadlines you have committed, which are already over one and a half years of delay, please give us increased compensation. They kept saying - there is a BBA and we will go as per BBA. Ramprastha refused to acknowledge the association, although they had got to know about it somehow (we had never told them before, they must have got to know from other sources).
Then one of the buyers wrote a letter in his individual capacity. In that he told Ramprastha about the buyers problems:
1. We were paying rent and EMI together. Most were paying rent of 17000 to 27000 per month in Gurgaon, Delhi and Faridabad for 3BHK. Many were paying EMI of 30,000 to 50,000 per month. Combined EMI plus rent amounted to around 50000 to 75000 for many buyers. After one and a half years of delay, are we to still pay this much every month? Where is our flat?
2. Tax benefits of interest require completion certificate. Only last three years interest can be claimed in 5 instalments. But most of us paid money in 2010 and 2011. How can we claim the tax benefits with further delay?
3. Many were commuting from Delhi and Faridabad or far away in Gurgaon. Some traveled 60 Km per day by car. That is 250-300 Rs per day or 7500 to 10,000 Rs per month
Is this financial hardship what we had invited on ourselves when we booked with Ramprastha? We will pay 80,000 Rs per month and get to live in a rented flat and move every 11 months and drive 60 Km to work wasting time and effort?
We have over 4 and a half years experience of how Ramprastha has conducted itself. Earlier also, when the August 2012 deadline had not been crossed we were given many such verbal assurances that possession will be given before August 2012. There were at least 5 meetings before August 2012. Every time they would make promises. But in the end, the promises were broken.
Yesterday we waited from 11 AM till 3.00 PM trying to get an answer. All we got from them was that they have received an individuals letter and they will look into the concerns raised. They refused to even give a date and time for the revert. We went out hungry and angry and totally dissatisfied.
We held up a few banners expressing our anguish after we had exited the premises of Ramprastha. Many of the passers by on the road came and gave us curious looks. We were wary of breaking any laws - we were not sure what the laws were in regard to collecting together and holding banners. We walked away from Ramprastha because many of their employees came out and looked at us. We were worried that they will make some accusation against us and moved in front of some other companies office. Some of the really angry people who were suffering the most tried to shoot a cell phone video. Still feeling worried, we moved to the nearby car park where we collected together, displayed banners, shot some videos and brain stormed about what to do.
Suddenly, Ramprastha officials came to the car park and started shooting pictures of us. So we turned around and shot pictures of them shooting pictures of us !!!
When they realised what we were doing, they turned and moved away.
The purpose of this blog is positive - we want that the senior management of Ramprastha should listen to our financial and other problems and in their turn be positive - to realise that they are at fault for this delay and that they should complete the flats by the committed delayed deadline or compensate us in case of lapse.
If they are able to complete by 2014 March, then fine. We will happily take possession and abide by their BBA.
But if they default on their delayed deadline also - then surely it is just that they should give us increased compensation. Rent for 1500 3BHK in Gurgaon is 17000 Rs. Not the 7500 which they will give at 5 Rs per square feet. 10 Rs psf is a just rate. We are not being greedy, only asking for justice.
They have taken over 50 Lakhs of money from us. They have charged atrocious penalties if we default on our payments. But on their side, their penalty amount is a pittance. In the market, they borrow money at 20% interest. 5 Rs per square feet amounts to about 2% interest - they are enjoying the use of our money for this pittance while we pay 80000 per month for Rent + EMI + Tax loss + Petrol costs.
It is our hope that senior people of Ramprastha like Shri. Balwant Singh who have built up this company for the last 50 years will take note of this appeal and help us. We chose Ramprastha because of its long history and because it is highly respected. Their name and the values of this company are known to be exceptionally high and because of its name the company has a brand value and trust. I am sure the company will make efforts to rectify the lapses and restore our trust in the company which was initially very high when we decided to become its customers.
We took the following pictures after we exited from Ramprastha premises on the side of the public road outside
We moved to another spot away from Ramprastha offices (because their officials came and stared at us) where we shot this video - as you can see, those who are retired and living in rented accomodation are especially affected and especially angry.
We then came to the car park. Ramprastha officials followed us there and took our pictures. We took their pictures of them taking our pictures as you can see. I have removed the face to mask identity - except the chap with the camera who is hiding his face with his camera to mask his identity anyway !!!!
Let us hope things turn out for the best and we get possession in March 2014 after all.
Below you can read the article which came out in Hindu regarding our initial meeting with Ramprastha officials on 27th of July 2013. I have copied the web news article together to recreate this template. You can click on the link in the links section to see the original version. It is our hope that the print media will continue to support our cause.
Update 25th November 2013:
Below is the Tribune article which appeared on 23rd November on our protest meeting held on the 9th of November 2013. The link is available above on the links section. Note: The management has responded by reiterating its March 2014 delivery commitment.
Notice how the excuses raised by the CEO Mr. Nikhil Jain are not really applicable - sand problem was in NOIDA and not in Haryana, and happened in August 2013 - clearly irrelevant to the area and builder and the August 2012 deadline which is one year before the sand issue.
Ground water was in any case not allowed to be used for construction purposes and the court only asked the govt. agencies to implement properly the already existing laws against use of ground water for construction. So if Ramprastha had been using ground water for construction, it would have been anyway illegal. Also the order for implementing the ground water usage restrictions came in July 2012, whereas the original commitment for delivery was in August 2012. So clearly, the excuses dont hold water - delivery in August 2012 was due and excuses occurring after or just prior to that date of delivery are irrelevant and immaterial. The builder was already in breach of his contractual responsibilities by the time these supposed problems cropped up.
A few days ago the Hindu newspaper covered the plight of a number of people who have booked flats in Sector 37D, including Ramprastha City, and said
"Similarly, hundreds of families owning flats in various projects at Sector 37D Ramprastha City are up in arms against the developer for failing to hand them over the possession in time and even refusing to given any written assurances on possible date of completion.
“We spoke to the chief executive officer, but he refused to give any written assurance. We then wrote to the chairman of the group, but there is no response. We have paid almost 80-90 per cent of the total cost and are now being forced to run from pillar to post for possession. We are now left with no option but to protest and take legal recourse,” said Pradip Rahi, vice-president RP City Welfare Association.
When contacted, Ramprastha Group CEO Nikhil Jain said the delay was caused due to unavoidable circumstances."
The article is reproduced below.
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