Builders and buyers are silent on all quarters about the irregularities
Fountain Square, A mega residential-cum-commercial luxury project on Relief Road, Oshiwara, Jogeshwari (W) is stuck after being served a show-cause notice by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for constructing two unauthorised basements. However, neither the buyers nor the builders are ready to answer questions pertaining to the building.
Moneylife has documents accessed under Right to Information (RTI) which show that Fountain Square, with Shri Shubh Builders and Sonata Realty—which is part of Ionic Group at its helm, was served a show-cause and stop work notice by MMRDA on 4 October 2011 after a site visit by officers on 19 September 2011. The letter to Sonata Realty by MMRDA says, “It was found that you have started construction of two level basements of the said building without obtaining permission from MMRDA. Therefore, you are instructed to show cause in writing within seven days… you are instructed to immediately stop the work and restore the land to its condition, existing before the said development took place, failing which necessary actions will be initiated.”
The commencement certificate for the project, dated 27 August 2009, says, “MMRDA has approved the proposal up to plinth (level) only in respect to the proposed building with total permissible built up area of 10,427 sq metres on plot bearing CTS no 1C/3A (pt), S.No.41/1A(pt) of village Oshiwara allotted to Sonata Realty Pvt Ltd.” Area free of FSI components is 35,335 sq mts. Entry against ‘total permissible basement area’ is ‘NA’.
Spaceage Consultants was appointed as the architect of the project. An MMRDA document on issuing of commencement certificate, dated 25 August 2009, says that the building proposal is for ground floor+14 upper floors, and the height of the building was to be 63.45 mts. However, MMRDA granted that in future, that height can go up to 70 mts; and that the architects and the realtors are to give in writing that the height will not go beyond the limit.
However, initial brochures show a building that has almost 40 storeys. Surprisingly, a recent brochure of the same project, which is available online on Ionic Group’s website, says that the project is of 30 storeys. See http://ionic.in/fl/Fountain_bro_small.pdf
On 9 May 2011 Spaceage Consultants approached the MMRDA for getting all necessary clearances for incorporating a ‘welfare centre’ in the design. After scrutinising their application, MMRDA issued a ‘deficiency letter’, listing 68 points. The 15 June, 2011 letter said that according to the lease deed, the building could have only residential and shopping use.
However, it also showed that the builders/realtors have not submitted many necessary documents, including NOCs from the fire department, civil aviation department, tree authority, electrical supply authority, high-rise committee and have also not got clearances for sewage, storm-water drain and environment impact assessment.
The letter also shows that the documents submitted neither indicates plinth level, presence of overhead tanks, facilities for the physically handicapped, undertakings against misuse, etc. Various aspects of the building like the marginal open spaces, driveway widths, distance from recreational grounds, etc, do not conform to development control regulations.
No answers could be obtained either from the builders, or the architects. Emails and phone calls to Ionic Group, Shubh Builders, Spaceage Consultants and Sonata Realty asking details like the present status of the project, scheduled date of completion, status of bookings, etc, went unanswered.
Even the buyers/investors are silent about the matter. “We cannot risk complaining as the builders may harass us. Moreover, we have only paid a nominal amount via cheque. The rest was in cash. The builders can then just give us the small cheque amount and tell us to forget the unaccounted amount we have paid,” said a buyer. The buyers, who have booked at levels beyond the 30th floor, are also unwilling to talk.
On the internet, there are many forums and discussion threads where users have expressed their anxiety about their investment. However, most of these pages cannot be accessed now. The construction hasn’t progressed much on ground either.
Rumours are afloat that the builders have submitted fresh plans to the civic authorities after the show-cause notice, but it could not be confirmed. “We have issued a show-cause notice, and the matter will be looked into,” said an MMRDA official.
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