Nagpur: “Sometimes we wonder – did our love and loyalty to Nagpur, our birth city, lead us into this mess? If we had invested the same money in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai or Pune properties, it would have appreciated ten times by now! A 1000% !!( 3 bedroom flats were available in Thane for Rs. 35 lakhs, the money we invested in a 2 bedroom flat in First city. Now that same Thane flat is going for Rs. 3 crores while our lakhs seem to be stuck endlessly)”
Sad words to come from ordinary middle class Nagpurians who committed the cardinal sin of believing in Politicians tall promises and decided to invest their life’s savings in First City, MIHAN. Many of them were NRIs settled abroad, they could have easily invested anywhere in the state – but they chose Nagpur because their old parents lived here and they would be very happy to see them live their last days in the sylvan surroundings and luxury of First City. Now many of those parents are no more…
“Instead of providing them with luxury and peace in their old age, we made them run from pillar to post, chase MADC officials, talk to local politicians – somehow learn what was happening to the project and our investments. This tension and suspense could have brought about their untimely end instead. My father died of a sudden heart attack, at the age of just 68! My mother passed away soon after – who do I need the flat for anymore?” Rues one flat owner. (Hopeful owner, we should add.)
NT spoke to a number of the First City Flat owners’ Welfare Association members, including the President Sanjay Masurkar and Ass. Secretary Vijay Orkay. They all made the following points emphatically –
They booked flats in First City because it was completely an MADC project – in short, a Government project and no one anticipates those going wrong. They may be overpriced, some delays might occur, but governments always deliver, right? This is what gullible Indians still believe.
The agreement they signed while putting down their first installment was a tripartite one between MADC, Reatox and the buyer.
A well known bank like Vijaya Bank had financed the builder and other banks like State Bank of India and HDFC had given their OK to the project and proffered loans. For most Indians, SBI is almost like RBI! If this, the largest bank of India, is supporting the project, it WILL materialize.
In fact if you go through the loan agreement signed with banks, even SBI was giving a percentage of the loan as commission to the Builder! ( Which was naturally also going from the Buyer’s pockets).
Construction work on the project DID begin in real earnest and they could see latest technology and good quality raw material was being used. Two towers also came up in the stipulated time… “I invested about 70 lakhs, for two flats, impressed with the speed of work and appearance of the towers. The club House was already ready and was being used as an office.” Says one Buyer based in USA.
The face of MADC then was Mr. Chahande, we trusted him implicitly, opined many.
Then what went wrong suddenly?
This is the crux of the problem – the reason why the Association has also finally gone to the High Court with its appeal last week.
When things started falling apart, and work stopped, no one communicated anything to the Buyers. They – MADC- withdrew the project from Reatox, Reatox went to first High Court and then Supreme Court; but yet, the future owners, whose investment was being endangered by all these actions, were told nothing.
“Even the courts, did not think to make us party to the proceedings though we were directly affected by their decisions.”
At this stage, by 2013, buyers began to panic. They then began writing to the C.M. of the state – first Prithviraj Chauhan and then Devendra Fadnavis for the last two years.
“We had to approach the CM because MADC kept changing its person in charge. There was no permanent person we could talk to after Chahande.
Even now the M.D. of MADC sits in Mumbai! Why? “
Then in the first week of February, many newspapers flashed the ‘news’ that the CM, Fadnavis and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had ‘persuaded’ the Vijaya Bank to not auction the First City land and properties to recover their loans which had now climbed to 291 crores. There was going to be a settlement, we heard.
How could such a settlement happen without taking into account the buyers’ fate and how they were going to be compensated for the inordinate delays?
Even about this happening, no one from the C.M.’s office or Gadkari’s or MADC think it necessary to keep us in the loop.
This is when we decided to knock on the High Court’s doors ourselves…
The case has been admitted and Vijaya bank legally prevented from auctioning the land. MADC has been given 15 days to file a reply.
It is a sad day when law abiding citizens have to knock on the doors of the court, because their government and government officers refuse to communicate anything to them, after having signed a Contract!
Sadder, still when Vidarbhites start repenting having invested in their city, rather that Western Maharashtra!
MIHAN is a bubble… it will burst, nothing is going to happen to change Nagpur. It is a doomed city; said one buyer in utter frustration.
Can you blame him, really?
…Sunita Mudaliar – Associate Editor