Investors give thumbs down to Mohali Hills

All is not well with the Mohali Hills,touted as India’s first integrated township. In less than two years of its launch,anxious and panicked investors are seeking their money back...

Written by Nitin Jain | Mohali | Published:February 19, 2009 1:50 am

All is not well with the Mohali Hills,touted as India’s first integrated township. In less than two years of its launch,anxious and panicked investors are seeking their money back,while close to 40 employees up to the rank of assistant vice-president have lost their jobs in the last couple of months.

Emaar MGF,a leading real estate developer,had come up with the mega project spread over 5,000 acres in Sectors 85 to 106 with a capital outlay of Rs 16,000 crore.

Offering residential plots,town homes,luxurious villas along with shopping malls,landscaped gardens and recreational centres,Mohali Hills was launched with the laying of its foundation by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on June 1,2007.

As the developer claimed to equip the township with world-class infrastructure and facilities in education and healthcare,a large number of people lined up to invest with the company.

The company tied up with the Leighton India Construction Private Limited to start work on the project. The construction activity,however,came to a standstill soon after.

With the news spreading that the construction company was no longer engaged with Emaar MGF,the investors started fearing about the fate of the township,where they had not noticed any development for a long time.

Around 3,000 investors started seeking their money back and applied for cancellation of their bookings.

Sandeep Mahajan was among the many investors who made repeated rounds of the project site,but had to wait for hours to meet the officials concerned.

“Since the company officials failed to give any satisfactory reply and there was no progress on the project,I applied for a refund of my Rs 25.08 lakh in November,” he said.

After much dilly-dallying,the company recently offered him Rs 8 lakh after deducting over Rs 17 lakh.

“I have met several others who are seeking cancellation of their bookings and a refund of the amount paid but all are being harassed,” he rued.

With the investors backing out,the company also retrenched nearly 40 staffers without serving them any notice. While the ousted employees were given an advance salary for three months,their annual performance linked pay was not released.

Amandeep Singh,who was one of the oldest employees in the company’s land department,is upset over the manner in which the retrenchment was made. “No seniority or performance was taken into consideration as they suddenly asked us not to come on duty from the next day,” recalled Amandeep. Gurdev Singh,a kanungo with the company’s revenue department,was another one to lose his job.

Work is on,says firm

An Emaar MGF spokesperson said from New Delhi: “We are in constant touch with our customers regarding their investments in our project. All employees who have left the organisation were duly compensated. Leighton India Construction Private Limited is a joint venture between Emaar MGF and Leighton Asia (Southern) and the preferred partner for projects in India. As businesses evolve,there is realignment of strategies and focus areas in the way we function and therefore Leighton is no longer working with us at Mohali Hills. We have hired the services of a couple of other construction firms who are carrying out work at the site.”

-ENS

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