The slab collapse incident in Balewadi, which had left nine construction workers dead, is still affecting many lives. Hundreds of home buyers in various projects of the developer concerned, the Pride Purple group, have been left in the lurch following a stop-work notice from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for all the group’s projects.
Though the flat buyers, many of whom have paid the entire amount, have held several meetings PMC authorities and sent reminders to them, the civic body officials are yet to conduct a “structural audit” of these buildings to decide their fate.
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Now, a group of 50 buyers from Park Grandeur project in Baner have come together to fight the battle and move the High Court with a PIL if the PMC doesn’t take any decision in this regard. Hundreds of buyers have been affected by the PMC’s stay.
Flat buyers say though the projects of the Pride Purple group are located in the limits of both PMC and PCMC, the latter took note of the accident and swiftly conducted the inspection and gave a go-ahead for the construction after the were satisfied.
The PMC, however, continues to defer the structural audit of the projects, thereby keeping the fate of the projects uncertain, the buyers allege.
“It’s been over two months since the incident at the Park Xpress. We appreciate that PMC’s stop-work order was for the welfare and safety of flat owners. However, buyers of flats in various projects of Pride Purple group are under tremendous stress as most of us have availed of housing loans to buy these flats and the delay is causing us financial hardship and mental agony every day,” said Ulhas Damle, a resident of Baner Road who has bought a three-bedroom flat in Park Grandeur, a project that was scheduled to complete in December 2015 but the deadline was extended to June 2016. The stop-work order by the PMC has only added to the uncertainty.
Three projects of the same group which are under construction in PCMC limits – namely Pride Ivory, Pride Torquoise (both in Wakad) and Pride World City (Charholi Budruk) – were inspected by the PCMC’s building department officials after the Balewadi collapse and the work resumed soon later.
An engineer with PCMC’s building department said, “A week after the collapse in Balewadi, we inspected the sites and found no problem with the structure. Hence, there was no point in stopping the work unnecessarily. The work there is on now”.
Buyers in Park Grandeur project have sought to know what’s stopping the PMC from carrying out the audit. “We have been running around for over a month to get an audience with the PMC commissioner who have refused so far. If the projects of the same builder in PCMC limits can be inspected and given a go-ahead, why can’t the PMC be swift in carrying out the required procedure and decide the future course? Most of us have to pay the rent of the existing accommodation as well as the EMI of the new flats, possession of which is now being dragged indefinitely,” said Ramesh Ganesan, another buyer. According to him, despite submitting two memoranda to the office of Additional Municipal Commissioner and over half-a-dozen requests for an appointment, there has been no action or reply.
When contacted, PMC Commissioner Kunal Kumar said he was aware of the plight of the home buyers in the Pride Purple projects due to the stay but couldn’t meet the delegation of buyers due to his busy schedule. “We are going to convene a meeting regarding this and will soon arrive at a decision which will not be unjust to anyone,” said Kumar.
Meanwhile, the main accused in the slab collapse incident are still on the run. Senior inspector Dayanand Dhome, in-charge of the Chatuhshrungi police station, said, “A search for them is on. We appeal to people to come forward if they have any information about them. The identity of the informant will be protected.”