Customers thronged the venue of a real estate conclave where developers, consultants, two cabinet ministers and government officials were discussing the housing shortage and others.
About 25 buyers with banners tried to meet the ministers.
The developer in question was Unitech, which, according to the protesters, did not deliver residential units in Unihomes (Sector-117, Noida), and Unitech Golf Country Club, much past the scheduled delivery. According to the protesters, there is no sign of possession anytime soon.
Protesters chased Prakash Javadekar, minister for environment, forests and climate change, and information & broadcasting, to his car on his way out. He asked them to write a letter.
The protesters failed to catch up with the minister of urban development, Venkaiah Naidu.
A buyer said Unitech had not given them any timeline on when their homes would be delivered.
The project, Unihomes, which offers affordable houses, was launched in 2009, while Unitech Golf Country Club was first launched in 2007 and then relaunched with certain modifications in 2009. The agreement talks of a delivery period of three years.
The buyers had to leave soon after, once the matter came to the notice of National Real Estate Development Council (the organiser of the event and a body under the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation) officials.
When contacted, a Unitech spokesperson said: “We are in regular touch with our customers and keep updating them on the project’s progress. There have been some delays due to certain regulatory issues being faced by most of the developers in Noida and are beyond the developer’s control. This may be causing anxiety to some customers, but we can assure them that they are well protected with the penalty clause under which penalty will be paid to the home buyers for any delay, as per their allotment letter.”
Of late, homebuyers’ protests have become common in the realty sector thanks to social networking sites and increased awareness among consumers. The lack of a regulator in the sector has added to the problems.
Among others, DLF and Supertech have been at the receiving end as buyers of one of their projects protested against the way the construction was being done, flouting the rules.
Recently, the Supreme Court asked DLF to deposit Rs 630 crore, pending the outcome of a final order. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) had imposed a penalty of Rs 630 crore on DLF on a petition by buyers of one of its projects in Gurgaon, alleging unfair trade practices. Following this, DLF moved the apex court against the CCI order.
The Allahabad High Court had also recently ordered demolition of two towers in Supertech’s Emerald Court in Noida on a petition by buyers alleging violation of building norms. Supertech has challenged the order in the Supreme Court.
These are not the only cases against developers. There are many such cases pending before the courts and CCI, which will come up for hearing in the coming months. Rising activism of aggrieved buyers across various platforms, including online, against the developers are mainly on issues related to delay in delivery, quality of construction, irregularities in project implementation, and departure from promised amenities.