Residents of South City 1, developed by leading real estate developer Unitech, feel cheated.
From scarcity of potable water to the poor condition of roads in the locality, the list of problems here seems to be never-ending. “Unitech has cheated us on every possible count — sanitation, roads, potable water and electricity. We have no option but to stage protests,” said Ashok Bhardwaj, president of the residents’ welfare association (RWA).
According to residents, roads inside the colony look like dark patches between puddles of water every monsoon.
Moreover, residents claimed, supply of potable water had been diverted to new construction sites within the colony in lieu of a non-refundable payment of R50,000 by the developer. “How can one build a house with drinking water?” questioned Bhardwaj.
“We are managing with private vendors to supply potable water,” added AB Mata, former president of the RWA.
Vice-president Ram Niwas said, “We have not been allowed to install water meters. Unitech says they don’t have enough manpower to collect water bills from every household.”
Ajay Aggrawal, the general secretary of the RWA, claimed that against the actual water bill of R1.82 lakh, Unitech was collecting a sum of R5 lakh.
Adding to their woes, residents said, they have not even received completion certificates after more than 10 years.
“The moment they give us the document, they will have to relinquish control over the colony. To do that they need to put the prescribed infrastructure in place, which will cost crores,” said Bhardwaj.
On the other hand, a Unitech spokesperson rubbished all charges leveled by residents.
“We have been investing in roads and also received a letter of appreciation from some blocks,” said the spokesperson.
While residents say the developer built a club instead of a community centre to earn revenue by giving access to residents of other localities, the spokesperson argued that they had to provide a community centre or a club according to the contract.
“We have extended the club facility to residents of surrounding areas to bring down operational costs. As a result, we provide cheaper facilities to South City I residents,” said the company spokesperson.
The company representative also said that Unitech had never objected to installation of water metres. But he did accept that they had provided water to construction sites within South City 1.
“Unitech provides a temporary water connection during construction for two years depending upon the plot size. We charge around R50,000. Since the court has banned use of potable water for construction purposes, permitting use of only treated water, we provide water for construction to small plot owners on a temporary basis,” said the spokesperson.
On the issue of completion certificates, the spokesperson said that the developer is not responsible for it. “On several occasions, Unitech had offered the RWA to take over the maintenance which they have refused because of their incapability.”
Unitech also blamed the RWA for being a body with vested interests. “Residents are fed up of such RWA activities because of their vested interests and internal conflicts,” claimed Unitech.