They had felt they were fortune’s favoured children when, from among lakhs of applicants, their names had been picked out in a draw of lots for the Delhi Development Authority’s Housing Scheme 2014. Sadly enough, the elation of some allottees has turned to disappointment. The reason? They have been allotted matchbox size flats that cannot even accommodate a kingsize bed properly.
Barely two months after the draw, this writer met up with many “disappointed” allottees queuing up at the DDA offices to surrender their apartments.
Buyers of 33 sqm apartments in Dwaraka will get to share a common 'corridor' with neighbours. HT photo
"I was shocked when I discovered the size of my apartment in Narela. It was smaller than even the store room I have in my rented flat in Rohini. Since it was impossible to fit my bed or any of my furniture in that pigeonhole, I decided to return the flat to DDA," an allottee said. When this writer visited two of the areas where the DDA apartments were located – Dwarka and Rohini – she found that the apartments barely covered 33 sq m (about 355 sq ft).
A miniature toilet, a bath (just big enough for a person standing straight and still) and a kitchen – all in a row – led to a tiny bedroom with a small balcony.
The kitchen, bath and toilet, are so small that a person cannot move around comfortably. HT photo
More than 1,500 successful DDA scheme applicants have surrendered their apartments in Rohini, Sector 34, Narela and Dwarka, Sector 23-B. Almost 90% of the apartments offered in the scheme were single bedroom units of 30 sq m to 40 sq m, priced between Rs 15 lakh to Rs 19 lakh.
“We launched 25,000 flats in the 2014 scheme and 1,500 flats is not a very big number. Many flats are surrendered by allottees during every scheme,” said Balwinder Kumar, vice chairman Delhi Development Authority.
The sizes of most of the units in Dwarka and Rohini are between 30 sq m to 40 sq m. HT Photo
“Most of the applicants had filled up forms without seeing the apartments. Also, since the booking amount was Rs 1 lakh, we received a large number of applications. Obviously, the areas will take some time to develop fully. Most important, since the clause preventing buyers from selling their units for five years has been imposed in the 2014 scheme, many people have opted to surrender the apartments unless they need it for themselves,” Kumar adds.
“We intend launching 40,000 houses in 2016 and have decided to do away with the EWS format. Instead, we will be constructing 1BHK units. The 2014 scheme had EWS houses of sizes 25 sq m to 40 sq m. Out of the 40,000 units to be launched in 2016, 26,600 will be in the LIG category. We are planning to also increase the size of these units to 64.4 sq m, almost double the size of the 2014 scheme units,” says Kumar.
Brokers in the area say that while filling the form for the 2014 scheme, the prospective buyer had to give three preferences. If his first preference was Mukherjee Nagar, the other two were likely to have been Rohini and Narela. So, while the person may have checked out the area on the top of his priority list, he would have randomly picked out the second two preferences without actually seeing the sites.
The clause which allows allottees to sell flats after five years has been imposed by DDA for the first time to keep speculators away. “The buyers will have to hold the property for at least five years, which means that the house does not provide for immediate liquidity nor any decent rental income,” says a broker active in Rohini.