Ashok Khadse (46), a resident of Belleza Blue housing society in Keshavnagar, Mundhwa, is unsure about his future. He doesn’t have any children or relatives. He has already spent a huge amount on his wife’s sickness, who has been unwell and undergoing treatment.
“The flat was for Rs 25 lakh. I had paid Rs 5 lakh as advance and spent another 3.5 lakh on interiors. The rest was to be paid in instalments. We have no money for a new flat and don’t know what we’re going to do after this,” says Khadse, who works with a private company.
He says he was expecting the case to get resolved as promised by the builder.
“All the buildings in this area are technically illegal and most people here are old and retired and attached to their houses. We’ve only been here for a year and can’t imagine what it’ll be like for people who have been here for longer, like four-five years,” says his wife.
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What Khadse is going through is something which is the story of 54 flat owners of Beleza Blue, who have received notices from the district administration to vacate their apartments by June 18.
On May 27, the Bombay High Court had ordered the administration to demolish the three illegal floors in the seven-storey building.
What’s surprising is that many of the flat owners paid the advance amount without doing the legal paper work, Khadse being one of them.
A resident (name withheld on request), who has paid 20 per cent of the price of his 2BHK flat of Rs 32 lakh without any documentation, says, “Even if we get the compensation, we will not be able to buy a new flat, given the escalated prices in the real estate market.”
A woman in her 30s said she and her husband bought the flat in 2010 and has already paid the full price of Rs 20 lakh. The couple booked the flat before it was constructed. “Somewhere around 2012, the first case was filed at the local Panchayat. My husband, I, my son and my mother-in-law live together. Last week, we got the notice to vacate the flat by June 18. We were hoping something would happen but now everything is shattered,” she says. “When I bought the flat, I paid 20 lakh. Now, its value would be about Rs 45 lakh. But I’ll still get Rs 20 lakh plus an interest of 9 per cent annually, which together would not be more than Rs 22 lakh. I cannot even buy a 500 sq ft 1BHK flat with this sum.”
With the monsoon set to resume, even those staying on rent are doubtful how soon they will be able to find an alternate flat to stay. Harish Sonkamble (24), who works at Tech Mahindra in Yerwada, started staying on rent at Belleza Blue about one-and-a-half years ago. “I liked the flat so much that I didn’t think twice before booking it. Initially, it wasn’t clear whether the building will be demolished. Last week, I came to know that the building will be demolished. I cannot express how I’m feeling. This house is something I was really looking for, especially for my sister’s wedding. It’s like when you dream of something and now you’re just not getting it. I could not sleep all night just thinking of how I’m going to find another flat now,” he says.
Both Sonkamble and Khadse feel the builder targeted people who were not only financially-weak but also unaware of the legal process.
“The developer promised the prospective buyers that the case would be resolved quickly. The owners of flats were told they will be compensated. The money is supposedly being held by the High Court and will be provided once claimed. However, the process of claiming the compensation is still unclear. The notice wasn’t given in a proper manner. Many of us didn’t see it till we started hearing things from neighbours,” said one of the residents.
related report on page 3