Inordinate delay in the construction of a housing project for the central government employees has left 572 employees, both serving and retired, in the lurch.
The project at Paruthipet near Avadi is being executed by the Central Government Employees’ Welfare Housing Organisation (CGEWHO), functioning under the Union ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation. It was proposed in 2005 and was expected to be over in 2007. But even four years after the scheduled deadline, there is no sign of the beneficiaries getting their houses in the near future.
According to the allottees, though the project was supposed to start in 2005, it actually began only in April 2007. Still, it was expected to be completed by September 2009. But it is getting inordinately delayed owing to the poor execution by the CGEWHO.
"Most of the allottees are retired employees, who have invested all their life-time earnings in this project. We blindly booked apartments since it was a central agency’s project. We were told that within 30 months of the launch, the works will be completed. The promoter has also collected escalation charges from us citing various reasons. It is a pity that all of us still continue to stay in rented apartments," said an allottee.
CGEWHO, in its letter to the allottees last month, said the delay was due to inevitable reasons like rain and flooding and the houses would be ready by May 2011. But going by the pace at which construction progresses, not many are convinced that it will be ready in the next two months.
"On earlier occasions also, they gave us different deadlines for completion. But we feel the project would take at least one more year for completion. There is no justification for the delay. When other private builders are capable of completing similar projects in 24 months, why should CGEWHO take 72 months?" wondered Aravind Ramachandran, an allottee.
Many beneficiaries feel the central agency is delaying the project with the hope that some allottees will pull out. "The CGEWHO has given us the option of pulling out. It says the money will be returned. But this is a ploy to sell the apartments at a higher price and take a huge cut," charged an allottee.
One of the allottees has also moved the consumer court in Tiruvallur.
A senior CGEWHO official in charge of the project said, "The project got delayed because of problems in getting legal clearance for the land. We are working towards meeting the May, 2011 deadline. We are confident of completing it."