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Runwal Greens: Luxury builders or unethical extortionists?

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Photo: www.rbrealty.in

Mumbai: Customers of Runwal Greens, Mulund, have started an online petition highlighting their grievances against the builder Runwal brothers. The customers have alleged the builders of extorting money and delaying final handover of the flats.

Dr. KS Vasu Rao, a Paediatric Orthopaedician working in Oman, and one of the clients of Runwal Greens, has shared with NewsGram, details of the matter.

The luxurious Runwal Greens project was launched in 2010, consisting of 8 towers with more than 200 flats each. Many buyers had booked the under- construction flats and were promised possession by the end of 2013.

Also Read: How Real Estate Regulatory Bill can help ailing Real Estate sector

A one sided agreement favoring the builder was forced upon the buyers with changed possession date of 2015 (varies from agreement to agreement). Buyers had already paid 97% of the flat cost as per the demands made by the builder by 2014. Instead of giving the possession in mid 2015, a fresh demand for extra charges against fungible FSI (Floor Space Index) was made, along with the demand payment of the remaining 3% at the behest of permission to carry out fit-out works.

Customers are alleging that the builder is:

1) Demanding extra money against FSI when there was no change made to the structure or to the flat plan. Moreover the flat cost was calculated on the super built up area and not the carpet area. The customers were even charged for the car parking area, which is against the law.

2) Delaying the handing over of the flats for customer possession and citing the delays to be due to MCGM delays.

3) Asking the buyers to payoff the final 3% amount which is due on receipt of OC even before the application for the OC is made by the builder.

4) Demanding for the club charges to be paid, though luxurious amenities promised are nowhere to be seen.

Many customers have now taken to social media to express their anguish and are urging the state government to take action against the builders. Here are some of the tweets of the angry customers:

NewsGram view: Unscrupulous and unethical builders have become a menace in Indian urban centers. In extreme cases, they even build apartments on illegal lands, without proper permissions, using improper building materials, and extort exorbitant money from the common people in the name of providing luxury apartments. The state governments must implement a mechanism by which people’s grievances are immediately addressed and strict actions are taken against unethical builders. Rule of law must prevail.

Also Read: How Real Estate Regulatory Bill can help ailing Real Estate sector

  • Tushar Hande

    What do you think Runwal is? Options: 1) Fraud 2) Extortionist 3) Goon 4) Thief 5) All of the above?
    My answer is option 5. What is your answer?

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Premium Real Estate No longer Ruled By Location

Location no longer a key factor in choosing real estate

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Real estate in the face of pandemic doesn't get ruled by location. Pixabay

BY ADITI ROY

The perception of ‘premium’ means in real estate has moved from snob value to define family wellness and health.

As one deals with the global COVID-19 pandemic, developers and buyers are focusing on features in residences which enhance hygiene, wellness and sustainable living which need to be inherent in the design and makeup of housing projects.

“Wellness amenities such as yoga studios, meditation rooms, spas, gymnasiums, tennis courts and jogging tracks became the new rage among urban homebuyers. Such features eventually transcended luxury home projects and came to be expected in mid-range homes, as well. Wellness amenities now deliver a far more convincing ‘premium’ punch than architectural eye-candy. Branded developers were quick to sense the shift and began integrating such features into their projects,”says Prashant Thakur, Director & Head – Research, ANAROCK Property Consultants.

“The world we live in has suddenly been sharply redefined. In times of unprecedented job insecurity, rent is a burdening expense, property ownership is a vastly more attractive investment rationale than reposing faith in volatile financial markets, and the home is a focal point of an entirely new work ethos,” Thakur adds.

“Premium” beyond branding

The current lot of homebuyers are willing to pay extra for premium products and features. For most Indians’ homes are the single-largest lifetime investment they make so it makes sense to secure the best options available within one’s means. While branded builders deliver premium via superior properties and locations, the concept of premium in the backdrop of the severest healthcare crisis is wellness, says a survey by ANAROCK.

Real estate
Real estate doesn’t revolve around location anymore. Pixabay

Wellness as a Project Design Imperative

Real estate that encompasses wellness elements in a building’s design, materials and amenities is a major global trend. Wellness features in a residential (and also commercial) building enhance its desirability as it improves the overall environment and well-being. Among the most popular wellness amenities are gyms, yoga/meditation rooms, roof gardens and enhanced natural lighting and ventilation. As we edge more into the luxury domain, buyers also seek projects with art studios, hobby rooms and Zen gardens where they can unplug and rejuvenate.

The practice to get buildings certified for wellness is being followed by several international developers. This trend, which is being seen in residential, commercial and even avant-garde retail spaces, involves the building receiving a wellness certification based on its design and operational strategies. Similar to the LEED certification program by the U. S. Green Buildings Council, where a building’s ‘green’ features are evaluated and rated, wellness ratings assess the wellness features of a real estate development – how much they contribute to the health and wellbeing of occupiers.

Green Commercial Real Estate

While the residential real estate is gradually catching up to it, this trend is currently more visible in contemporary commercial spaces. Globally, owner-occupied commercial establishments are driving demand for green features and practices. Some of these features include active stairways, biophilia, enhanced air quality, natural sunlight, vertical gardens etc. Such amenities are seen as a way to attract and retain young employees who are highly focused on working in healthier environments.

Even Indian developers are savvy to the trend of tenants placing a high premium on wellness. An increasing number of Indian employees now look for workplaces which help them retain a certain level of fitness and wellness. India Inc is already replete with Grade A office spaces that feature gymnasiums, breakout areas, jogging strips and meditation corners. Coworking spaces, which millennial workers and start-ups favour, have been among the earlier adopters of this trend.

Real estate
Real estate customers and developers focused more on sustainable living. Pixabay

The ‘Premium’ Is High

There is a significant cost attached to incorporating wellness amenities into a building’s architecture, so properties in such buildings cost more than those without any features. The upkeep of such features also adds to the overall maintenance expenditure of the building. However, these features translate into benefits such as improved employee efficiency, performance and retention in office buildings, and a higher happiness and satisfaction quotient in housing projects.

Given that such amenities are in increasing demand, developers now look at including such features in their buildings’ design, over and above providing innovative health-centric amenities. Buildings in India which have wellness baked into their DNA are still a relative rarity, but even a lower saturation of wellness features can be a USP. Definitely, interest in such features in housing projects has never been higher than in COVID-19 era, which has brought the need for complete self-sufficiency in residential real estate front and centre.

Unfortunately, because of the high costs involved, we are unlikely to see this trend percolating down into affordable housing very soon. Such amenities come for a premium, and developers need to keep affordable housing… well, affordable. Nevertheless, some of the latest affordable projects being developed in the less expensive peripheral areas of our major cities do have a degree of basic wellness features.

Also Read: COVID-19 Poses Serious Complications, Even Death Risk for Children: Research

These projects are preferred because many buyers are willing to compromise on the conveniences of central locations – but not on the health of their families. Homebuyers with such an orientation can look for internationally recognised wellness ratings such as WELL Building Standard and Fitwel rating, which measure and certify wellness features positively impacting human health and wellbeing. (IANS)

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How is the Coronavirus Crisis Affecting the Construction Industry?

Construction, by and large, is a huge part of the world’s economy

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Coronavirus
The world is still in the early days of the global pandemic and with many countries instituting lockdowns recently, it would be unwise to try and predict the future. Pixabay

Ever since the World Health Organization declared Coronavirus a global pandemic, countries have been scrambling for their next steps.

Countries across Europe have effectively shut down, the United States has closed its borders, and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently ordered a 21-day countrywide shutdown.

The world economy has become a big focus as many businesses either shut their doors voluntarily or are closed as they do not classify as a “non-essential” service. 

Some sectors, like hotels, airlines, and other travel-related industries have taken a beating. Numerous airlines such as American Airlines, Lufthansa, Delta, and British Airways are requesting government assistance in order to survive the overnight loss of flights and passengers.

Other industries, such as online entertainment, grocery stores, and eCommerce are thriving. 

Then, there are industries that seem to be stuck in the middle. Construction is one of those industries as different countries seem to have different responses to what to do with construction.

So what is in store for the construction industry?

Workers Fear for Their Safety

With nearly all countries preaching the importance of social distancing, construction is one such industry that is unable to put social distancing practices into play. With so much collaboration on the construction site, both in close contact and through the exchange of tools, it’s easy to see why construction workers might feel a bit frightened.

It’s not just the fact that workers might be in close proximity to one another at the worksite, but they are also in close proximity with hundreds if not thousands of strangers during their commute. 

coronavirus
It’s not just the fact that workers might be in close proximity to one another at the worksite, but they are also in close proximity with hundreds if not thousands of strangers during their commute.

Many countries have already classified construction workers as non-essential, but others have been a bit vague. The UK, for example, has said that if work can continue in the open air, then it should be allowed.

Projects Delayed

Many countries receive their construction materials from other countries through trade. India is one such country as the second-largest country in the world receives much of its materials from China. 

The main goods received are iron, steel, electronic equipment, plastic goods, and more. When those shipments stopped to do the virus spreading, many firms had but no choice to delay projects. 

This is a phenomenon that is also worldwide, as the United States reports that around 30% of construction projects have been put on hold with contractors saying that almost 20% of the delays were due to equipment issues or lack of products.

Projects that are continuing are making use of all tools available, getting creative with how materials are moved and consistently working towards a quick solution.

A Huge Part of the Economy

Construction, by and large, is a huge part of the world’s economy. In India, construction is responsible for roughly 15% of the working class and over 5% of the country’s GDP. 

In fact, the construction market is expected to be worth $1 trillion within the next five years, according to a report from KPMG in 2016. 

With such a large part of the economy coming to a semi-halt, how is that going to affect the nation’s economy overall?

Construction
Construction, by and large, is a huge part of the world’s economy. In India, construction is responsible for roughly 15% of the working class and over 5% of the country’s GDP.

As of now, it means that a lot of people are losing their jobs. With over 30 million people employed in the construction industry, that’s a lot of the working class that’s being told to stay at home.

The majority of India’s construction workforce are contractors, meaning they do not have the same protections and rights as employees would. Many are expecting to lose their jobs over the next few weeks.

The government is expected to unveil a multi-billion dollar stimulus package in the next coming days which will help, but many will still continue to feel the effects of the lockdown and lack of work.

A Boom in the Future?

What happens when this is all over and people start returning to work?

Unfortunately, no one knows the correct answer to that question. The world is still in the early days of the global pandemic and with many countries instituting lockdowns recently, it would be unwise to try and predict the future.

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Projects would likely start to trickle back in slowly as measures are taken to make sure there isn’t a second wave of the virus. The fight for jobs will be fierce as the market is likely to be flooded with millions looking to work again.

Eventually, though, people will start spending money again which should help the economy start to recover.

[Disclaimer: The pictures used in the article are supplied by the author, NewsGram has no intention of infringing copyrights.]

 

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As India’s Economy Becomes Weaker, Finding Job Becomes Harder

As India’s Economy Sputters, Finding Work or Employment Becomes Harder

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India economy
The slowdown in the construction sector, the second biggest employment provider after agriculture, is the most visible sign of India’s sputtering economy. Pixabay

By Anjana Pasricha

Tens of thousands of migrants from India’s countryside poured into the city of Gurugram as gleaming chrome and glass office buildings, high-rise apartments and upmarket shopping malls transformed the sleepy farming village on New Delhi’s outskirts into a booming business district over the last 15 years.

Huge construction projects and busy factories made it easy to find steady work in the city whose rapid growth coincided with a decade-long economic boom that lifted 270 million people out of poverty between 2006 and 2016.

Among them was 27-year old Javed Khan, who arrived more than a decade ago. As he searched for work, his first stop was a city intersection where day laborers gather to wait for contractors to pick them up. “When I first came here, I earned a decent wage,” he said. “Work went very well.”

But these days, he grows despondent as the wait at the same intersection becomes longer and longer. Khan said work has been hard to come by in the last year. “One-thousand of us collect here daily. Only 30 or 40 get picked up. The rest of us slowly go home.”

India economy
Vehicles drive past the commercial towers in Gurugram on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. VOA

The swelling numbers of those searching for work is not surprising. Not many new buildings are going up as economic growth plummets to its lowest rate in a decade — from 8% four years ago to a projected 5% in the fiscal year that ends in March.

The slowdown in the construction sector, the second biggest employment provider after agriculture, is the most visible sign of India’s sputtering economy. It is a huge blow for millions of people who depend on daily wage job in cities to support themselves and their families back in villages. Rural areas depend heavily on remittances from migrant construction laborers.

Adarsh Kumar, 21, arrived in Gurugram three years ago. He said for two years he earned enough to send money to his parents, but now he can barely pay for his own room and board. “You work for 10 days and you sit idle for 20 days managing on that money.”

Low-income workers are not the only ones who have been badly hit in India’s struggling construction sector.

At the height of the economic boom, tens of thousands of homebuyers invested in housing projects in Noida, another fast-growing neighborhood in New Delhi’s vicinity. Now, partially constructed buildings dot the skyline as a credit crunch cripples developers and stalls hundreds of projects.

It is a huge blow for middle-class families. Some have seen their savings erode while others are stuck paying mortgages for unfinished homes.

Alpana Majumdar invested nearly $50,000 in an apartment in Noida that was to be completed five years ago, and for which she is still waiting to take possession of. “We were thinking if we get that house, we can give it on rent and I can earn some money from there,” she said.

With less money in their pockets, an aspirational middle class is buying fewer goods like cars and refrigerators — a hard blow to a country whose economy is largely powered by the money spent by its burgeoning middle class.

Auto showrooms are facing their slowest demand in 20 years while small shops cope with dropping sales as daily wage workers struggle to eke out a living.

The other big employment provider, factories and exporting units located in Gurugram’s industrial hub, are not faring much better. Exports have declined for six months in a row.

Kumar was among those who drew a blank in his search for work in export factories. “There are no vacancies anywhere. Even companies are not hiring.”

Economist N.R. Bhanumurthy at New Delhi’s National Institute of Finance and Policy said the slowdown is now in a “full-blown phase.”

India economy
Construction workers face a lot of problem due to the weakening of Indian economy. VOA

There is a decline in the demand from the external sector, from the household sector and from the private sector,” Bhanumurthy said. “Given this kind of slowdown across the sectors of the economy, that is why we are seeing a very sharp slowdown in the overall growth.”

The government has announced a series of measures to boost exports and manufacturing, as well as revive the housing sector, including a fund of nearly $1.5 billion to complete unfinished housing projects. It has cut taxes for the middle class in a bid to spur consumer spending.

While such steps may lead to a nascent recovery, economists do not expect a significant rebound.

They said it will be difficult for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet his goal of propelling India into a $5 trillion economy by 2025 or providing jobs for the millions entering a work force in a country where two-thirds of the population is under 35.

Both targets would require India to grow at more than 8% a year, and there are no signs of such a dramatic pickup on the horizon.

“When this $5 trillion target was fixed we were not sure it was based on any analysis,” said Bhanumurthy. “It maybe (was) a wishful kind of target.”

It has been a steep fall for India, which, until a year ago, was the world’s fastest growing major economy with a plunging poverty rate.

Also Read- More than 50% Young Women are Distressed About Their Sex Lives

Those searching for work in Gurugram said times are the hardest in recent memory. “I have to pay $70 for a room, then I have to buy rations daily. If I don’t earn, how will I afford anything?” a woman named Reshma asked as she waited at the city intersection. Her eyes remained fixed on the road as she hoped that a builder who needed an extra pair of hands would stop. (VOA)