Buying a house is always supposed to be a happy occasion. But for the thousands of homebuyers who invested in housing projects of Unitech, it has been far from happy.
Col (Retd) J B Mongia a retired army officer, invested all his savings to book a flat in Unitech's Sunbreeze housing project in Sector 69, Gurgaon. His dream was to live a quite, peaceful life in his own house after having served in the Indian Army throughout his life. He booked his flat in 2009 with a promise from Unitech to deliver by 2012. Five years later, the project is far from complete.
"I put in all my life's savings and now where do I go what do I do. For senior citizens like me we are in a very difficult situation financially, mentally and physically. Some people have children and they move in with them. But not everyone has that option. And for how long can you live like that. The government has to intervene and take concrete steps," said a dejected Col (Retd) Mongia.
The story is no different for Pradeep Agarwal, a 47 year old techie. He booked his apartment in Unitech's South Park project also in Gurgaon. His dream was that by the time he hits 50 he will be well settled in his own home. But now that dream is all shattered. When we visited the project site what we saw is just 3-4 absolutely incomplete structures and a piece of dug up land. The project bears a long abandoned look. The project was to be ready by 2014.
Once India’s second largest developer, after DLF Ltd, Gurgaon-based Unitech is now battling customer complaints and litigation. Homebuyers have filed several cases against Unitech in the consumer court of NCDRC, High Courts and the Supreme Court seeking compensation for the inordinate delay in project delivery.
There are about 14,000 buyer complaints, about 40 cases pending in the Delhi High Court and over 900 cases in State Commissions and the NCDRC.
Managing Directors, Ajay Chandra and Sanjay Chandra has been in and out of jail on charges of money laundering, cheating hoembuyers and delays in project delivery.
Some of the Unitech projects which are delayed by 4-6 years include Vistas, Residences, Sunbreeze, South Park in Gurgaon, Unihomes and Grande in Noida and Uniworld in Chennai.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear one of the cases on May 5 where Unitech is expected to present a conclusive plan where it will give details of new completion timelines etc.
With state governments doing very little to help the homebuyers, the distressed homebuyers are pinning their hope on the Courts for some resolution of their problems.