Roana Maria Costa, TNN
MUMBAI: Several people who trusted a builder with their life savings have been left in the cold four years after their "dream home'' was scheduled to be ready.
Construction work stopped in 2003, but still, the buyers continued to look for ways to get their house built. However on Sunday, as 125 of them were holding a meeting, the builder's henchmen allegedly barged in and disrupted the discussion. Following that, the buyers lodged a complaint with the Powai police against the builder.
Advocate Sachin Matre, representing Sailee Developers, owned by Mangesh Sawant from Borivil, said the buyers tried to forcefully take over the land on Sunday. "On Sunday morning, 20-25 members of the association came to the site and tried to take over the plot,'' he said. According to him, the builder did not get any henchmen. "These buyers had got goons.''
Mhatre added, "The construction could not continue following a dispute over the ownership of the land. There was one more claimant of the property and the matter has been pending in the high court. The court has ordered a status quo. If the buyers want to develop it they should go to the court and not harrass us.''
According to an officer from the Powai police station, they had to take steps as security measures. "We rounded up a few men following a complaint from the buyers' association. However, no case has been registered.'' The police have also asked the buyers to inform them before holding the next meeting.
Sawant had collected money from buyers in 2001, offering them flats and commercial spaces in his project at Powai. The building, Prathemesh Galaxy, was supposed to house 350 flats and 97 shops. The 25-storey building was also supposed to have three wings. However, the project was abandoned mid-way.
V Appukuttan, one of the buyers, said, "Most of the buyers were residents of Powai. We were supposed to get occupation in 2004. Many senior citizens even had to take loans. We booked the flat as prices were not too high at that time. A two BHK appartment came for Rs 15 lakh to Rs 17 lakh.''
By the end of 2003, construction work came to a halt, one of the buyers said. After that, they formed an association, Prathemesh Galaxy Members Welfare Association and Appukuttan was made the joint secretary. However, not all the buyers were willing to keep their money at stake – 35 of them cancelled their deals and collected the deposit back from the builder. "In 2007, when the association wrote to the builder, he said he had entered into a partnership with Chandiwala Enterprises and had even put up signboards of the effect at the site.'' Appukuttan said.
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