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Friday, June 17, 2016

My biggest mistake - I didn't construct a gunthewari house

Buying an illegal Gunthewari plot & constructing an illegal house on your own is safer than booking a flat in a builder's legal under construction housing project!

Today, I would have been living in my own home if I hadn't refused to join my two friends.

Three of us were going to buy one guntha plot and construct 3 homes on our own. Each one of us was going to contribute 5 lakhs for the plot and 5 lakhs for the construction. In only 6 months & 10 lakhs rupees we would have become homeowners & would have lived happily ever after.

But I made a mistake. Worst mistake of my life. I didn't join them.

"I don't want to raise my family in an illegal housing," I told my friends and started searching legal housing project.

And you know what? I found Sainath Palace at Wagholi. A 4 story stand alone building of 16 flats - with a lift!

When I visited the site, construction was in full swing. Out of the 4 floors - 2 were already constructed.

"I will give you possession in just 6 months," the builder, Mr. Amey Prakash Lokhande, promised me.

So, I booked a 1 Room Kitchen Flat for Rs. 9 Lakh & 12 thousand rupees.

This happened in September 2013.

But, as yet, I haven't received possession of my flat. For the last 3 years - from September 2013 to June 2016 - I am waiting for possession. And I don't know when I will get my flat.

Of course, after I registered my flat agreement in December 2013, the builder completed RCC, brickwork, plaster and collected around 90 % of the property price - Rs. 8.70 Lakhs - and stopped construction of the project.

"Why are you not completing the construction?," many times I have asked the builder.
"I don't have money. I will complete it only when I will get the money," this is the standard reply of the builder.

"How can you say that you don't have money to complete the project....I have paid.....other flat buyers have also paid," I asked him once.
"Yes, you have...but I told you.....I don't have enough money for completing the project....I am trying my best to arrange the money & complete the project....don't worry....be patient......you will get your flat," the builder convinced me in his soft & sweet tone. As if I am some crying kid.

Of course, in the last 3 years very rarely I managed to meet the builder. It's difficult to catch him. He doesn't have an office. He does not take my phone calls.

I visit the project often. Spend some time in my flat. I can't do anything but wait. And talk to myself.

The government has sanctioned the plan - given permission to the builder to construct the project. The bank has approved the project & disbursed the home loan to the builder. But both - the government & the bank - are least bothered about me.

At least, the government should have some concern for me. I am a law abiding citizen. I haven't gone for an illegal construction.

I have booked a flat in the legal housing project. As per the law of land - I have registered my flat agreement and paid stamp duty, registration charges, VAT & service tax to the government. After the possession, all my life, I am going to pay property tax to the government.

Isn't it duty of the government to take the side of the tax payers?
Isn't it duty of the government to protect it's citizens from the builders?

Who told you that the government is for the people?
The government is certainly not for the law abiding citizens like you.
The government is for the people who buy & live in illegal properties.

If you had joined your friends & had constructed illegal gunthewari house - you would have earned some respect of the government. You would have become the valuable voter and the important power source for the government. Then the government would have rewarded you by giving legal status to your illegal gunthewari house. But you missed that opportunity by booking a flat in the legal housing project.

In this legal world, you don't matter. In this legal world, for the government important source of power is the builder. So the government is on the builder's side. Not yours.

I keep on talking - mostly, blaming myself. What else can I do? I feel helpless.

True, if I hadn't refused to join my friends - today, I would have been living in my own home - but I would have lost respect for myself.

I am young. I am not much educated. I don't earn much. But I am honest. I have self respect. I know for sure that my future is bright.

Booking a flat in a legal project was not a mistake. Yes, considering my income it was a risk - a big risk - but not a mistake. My builder is stupid. I am suffering because the builder made some terrible mistakes. Otherwise, my plan was perfect.

In 2013, my salary was 13,000. I was recently married. I was paying 5,000 rent for the single room.

"Instead of paying 5,000 rent why shouldn't we try to get a home loan and pay 5,000 as an EMI to the bank?," I asked my wife.

"I hate to live in a rented room. Owning a home is also my dream. If you manage to get a home loan - I will give you my gold jewellery - sell it for the down payment," my wife agreed and we decided to buy a flat.

A bank agreed to give me a home loan. Of course, at a very high interest rate. 11.25%.

My 50,000 savings and 1 lakh of my wife's gold were not enough for the down payment. So, I manage to get 50,000 personal loan. Of course, at a very high interest rate. 15%.

So, what? In just 6 months I was going to get possession of my flat. Instead of paying 5,000 rent - I was going to pay some 7,000 EMI. To own a home, every month, I have to spend only 2,000 rupees more. By the way, after the salary rise, paying 2,000 per month would be quite easy for me. Certainly, booking a 1 Room Kitchen Flat at Sainath Palace was a good decision.

But when the builder stalled the construction - my dream turned into nightmare. My risk became a big financial blunder.

I got the raise. I started getting 20,000 per month. But that was not enough. The landlord increased the rent - 6,000 per month. Plus, I had to pay nearly 6,000 rupees interest on personal & home loans. Minimum 3,000 - 4,000 were required for food. Had to spare some 1,000 rupees for the medical & other expenses for my newborn baby. 1,000 more for the petrol & mobile recharge. For my mother at hometown I had to send a thousand or two every month. Somehow, I am managing to survive from paycheck to paycheck.

Since last 3 years, I am not only managing to live with empty pockets but also with an empty heart.

Why doesn't my builder understand my pain? How can someone be so cruel? Vikas wonders.

(This is an approximate summary of his Marathi video interview.)

By the way - what say you? Who made the mistake? Vikas or Amey Prakash Lokhande - the builder?

Related Stories:

2) In 2016 - where to book a flat in Pune real estate market? (Part 2)

1) In 2016 - where to book a flat in Pune real estate market? (Part 1)

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  1. Heart touching story. This how builders breaks comman man's dream.

  2. Another case of builder diverting money & now saying he doesn't have money.
    Had CONgress got the RERA bill earlier, the provision of escrow account would have been there & today these type of buyers would have been able to take out money from that account & use it to complete construction.

    The Govt should also make it easy for people to buy land & construct on their own. It is unholy nexus of Govt-builders which makes things difficult for common man. If building on own is made easier, the dependency on builders will reduce which will help buyers as it will help to keep not just prices in check but also the quality will be far superior than offered by these crook builders.

    This buyer can look at recent judgement handed over by consumer court -
    Possession of flats delayed: Real estate company told to refund, compensate


    However, there are also super-idiot buyers for whom new scheme should be launched by CREDAI - Buy a flat, enjoy 6 months vacation in Yerwada mental hospital for free !

    Pune: Mundhwa housing society flats set to be razed, residents (idiots) in shock -

    What’s surprising is that many of the flat owners paid the advance amount without doing the legal paper work.
    Many of us didn’t see it till we started hearing things from neighbours, said one of the residents.


    Builders are going bankrupt despite taking all measures to avoid bankruptcy. So, buyers should buy ready for possession flat with all approvals or stay on rent & avoid under-construction projects.

    India’s top builders are selling assets and refinancing loans in bid to cut down debt, but without much success :