Infrastructure company Marg ProperTies, wholly owned and subsidiary of MARG Ltd is in the news for the wrong reasons. Around 4000 customers who had invested in their properties are yet to receive apartments promised to them as part of their Swarnabhoomi, Brindavan and Savithanjali projects in Chennai and Kancheepuram districts.
According to many who bought houses in these properties, all the three apartment complexes were supposed to have been handed over in 2013. Buyers say that the company sold properties even before they had environmental clearances and were also demanding more money from them claiming construction prices had gone up. Various FIRs have been filed by individual buyers and associations, but the police are yet to take action.
While buyers are running from pillar to post, Marg ProperTies said that the projects were getting delayed due to road blocks ‘beyond their control’ including new regulations, approvals, non availability and increase in price of raw materials and unforeseen economic slowdown.
The News Minute spoke to buyers at length and sought Marg’s response on the allegations.
Savithanjali Project – fund crunch and slowdown in sales stalling project?
The Savinthanjali Luxury Homes are supposed to compromise 722 apartments in 7.11 acres of land at Kelambakkam Village on OMR Road in Chennai.
The builders –they say- promised to hand over the apartments to them in 2013. Delay after delay followed and finally they were told that the stalled work will restart in July 2016. Nothing happened.
Replying to TNM’s questions, Marg claimed they have completed 60% of construction in Phase 1 project and ‘substantial progress’ has been made in Phase 2. The company said that they were at the verge of signing a joint development agreement with another infrastructure company called M/s.XS Real Properties Private Limited. Marg also said that most of the customers were happy with the new proposal, and only a few with vested interests were creating trouble.
“We filed a complaint -along with documentary proof- with the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Chennai Crime Branch, the Chief Minister’s Complaint Cell and the Commissioner’s Office, but we are yet to hear from them,” says Ravishankar -an investor- while speaking to The News Minute.
Ravishankar invested in an apartment costing Rs. 42 lakhs and has already paid an amount of Rs. 35 lakhs, by availing a home loan from Axis Bank. He blames the bank too for not verifying the construction/sale agreement before transferring the said amount to the builders.
According to him, only 30% of the project is complete, with only the exteriors in place. The entire project costs Rs. 315 crores out of which Rs.113 crores have already been paid by the buyers. Marg in their response says that Rs 200 crores more was receivable on future sales, and the money would be invested for the completion of the project.
“Does this mean they don’t have funds to complete the project? Who will buy the rest of the apartments now?” asked a customer who did not want to be identified.
Brindavan Project stuck without environmental clearance?
The Brindavan Project in Sriperumbudur in Kancheepuram district on the other hand, has not even started. It was supposed to have been completed by 2013. The company website boasts of 1848 apartments (with 2 & 3 BHK) spread over 16.5 acres.
“I invested in this project back in 2010 and have already paid about Rs. 10 lakhs for the apartment. No environmental clearance has been obtained the company has taken loans. If I had known then, I would never have invested in this project,” shares advocate Hari.
Just like Hari, almost 600 people have bought apartments and paid 50-60% of the sale cost.
Chairman of Marg Group, GRK Reddy says that no clearance was required when the project started as it involved less than Rs. 2 lakhs per sq feet.
Strangely, the company says that though an application was submitted with the Environmental and Forest Department was submitted in September, 2011, and the work on the base construction was stopped due to lack of clarity. The company adds that in April 2015, the District Environmental Engineer asked them to stop all work. More than a year later, the company has been unable to get clearance, leaving buyers in desperation.
Swarnabhoomi Project in ‘slow progress’
The Marg website claims that “7200 homes have been launched and 7700 are in the pipeline” under this project that is coming up on ECR road near Siruseri. Customers however say that only 450 homes have been handed over to them.
According to information available on the website, there are five projects under the Swarnabhoomi Project- Four Seasons (4000 apartments), Aayush (1300 apartments), Navratna (450 apartments), Maha Utsav (581 apartments) and Utsav (720 apartments).
“Only the Navratna project has been completed till date, while only the foundation has been laid for Aayush. ,Construction has not even begun for Four Seasons. At Maha Utsav, you are greeted by the sight of pillars,” fumes Rajesh, an investor in the Maha Utsav and Ayush projects.
He paid Rs 3.5 lakhs for the Maha Utsav project and Rs. 2 lakhs for Ayush. “I paid the money in 2010. Around 3000 people have invested money in the Swarnabhoomi project, but only 450 have got their apartments,” he adds.
Even after filing a police complaint at the Thoraipakkam police station in July 2015 -he says- the police have not taken any action against the builders. A protest too was organized in Chennai by enraged customers and a case was also filed in the Consumer Court last year. “There are no judges appointed to the Consumer Court and our case has not come up for hearing till now,” Rajesh sounds frustrated.
Rajesh alleged that he was being threatened by the Marg Group for repeatedly asking them to return the money he had paid for the apartments.
Though GRK Reddy says that the apartments under all these projects would be handed over in 18 to 24 months, the home buyers are less than convinced.
Edited by Chintha Mary Anil and Dhanya Rajendran