The National Consumer Disputes Redresssal Commission (NCDRC) has come down heavily on the Army Welfare Housing Organisation (AWHO)’s project in Sector 27, Panchkula, while providing relief to 5 army personnel who are allottees in the project.
A total of 483 houses are coming up as part of the project.
The army personnel submitted that without assigning any reasons the price of the flat continued to be increased, there was delay in the project by five years and they ended up paying almost 61% cost escalation as compared to the tentative cost advertised due to inordinate delay, mismanagement and negligence of the AWHO.
The judgment said, “The AWHO did not give any substantial proof to prove the escalation of cost, the non-production of audit documents, financial statements, project accounts, contract deed with the construction company. Their plea that they were on ‘no profit, no loss’ basis, and, therefore, they cannot be held liable to pay compensation for the delayed period is not worthy of credence.”
On the argument of AWHO that delay occurred as the design had to be changed after two years, the commission commented, “It is not explained why there was a change of design. That is a unilateral decision taken by the AWHO. The allottees were not taken in confidence. …The AWHO took two years in approving the design. Day-to-day delay was never explained. This Commission has to reckon with reality. The AWHO has been economical with truth. When the fate of so many persons was involved, all the army personnel had spent their hard-earned whole-life money, therefore, the AWHO should not have acted like a fish, but they needed a bicycle to expedite the matter. The said wastage of two years’ time is dictatorial, arbitrary, unjust and smacks of arrogance. It must be borne in mind that the allottees left no stone unturned in protecting our lives at the risk of their own”.
The commission dismissed the argument of the AWHO that there was ban on mining in Haryana which delayed the project. It said, “Ban on the mining was imposed in March, 2010. Had the AWHO constructed the flats, till 2008 or at the most, by March, 2010, no problem would have cropped up. Counsel for the AWHO contended that due to ban on mining, they could not get sand, bricks and other construction materials. Have the flats been constructed till March, 2010, this argument would have paled into insignificance”.
The commission has concluded that AWHO lost the opportunity of 20 % rebate on land cost on account of delay from HUDA. It granted interest at 15% per annum for the allottees for a period of one-and-a-half years on the amount deposited by them.
FIRE FIGHTING AT NIGHT
The officers complained that AWHO authorities are completing fire fighting arrangements during the night time to avoid action by the HUDA authorities.
They had earlier complained to the Haryana chief minister through ‘CM Window’ over alleged fraudulent fire clearance to the project. The inquiry in the case is being conducted under ACP Jagtaar Singh. Many officers did not shift for want of fire safety arrangements.