Alaknanda towers crumbling, Ghaziabad development body asks residents to vacate – ET RealEstate

GHAZIABAD: Expressing concern over the deplorable condition of a highrise complex in Vaishali, the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) has recently asked the resident’s body of the apartment complex to immediately vacate the building till the time retrofitting of the entire structure is not done.

In a letter to the resident welfare body of Alaknanda towers dated March 6, GDA chief engineer VN Singh stated that Rs 3.5 crore was required to get the repairs done and as the authority owns some of the flats there, it is ready to pay a proportion. The letter further stated that in case of any untoward incident, the RWA will be held entirely responsible.

Notably, the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation (GMC) had declared the Alaknanda Towers, which has 10 floors and 79 flats, uninhabitable in August 2018. It had said that the apartment complex is not only unsafe for its residents but also for the people living nearby. Following which, a safety audit of the tower was carried out by the engineering department of Jamia Millia Islamia university in 2019. The report had stated that the building was structurally strong and it required retro fitting and maintenance.

However, the residents’ body of complex is miffed with the GDA letter. They said that the retrofitting work should be done by the authority itself as “maintenance of the building was not handed over to the RWA yet”, a claim refuted by the GDA, according to which it was done in 2011 itself in the presence of the then RWA officials.

Amit Kumar, treasurer of the RWA, said, “The building is gradually crumbling and the GDA will be fully responsible for any loss of life. We have challenged the GDA stance in the Allahabad high court as well as registered a complaint with the state grievance redressal portal. If the maintenance was handed over to the RWA, how come the authority installed a fire-fighting system in the building? It has also recently advertised about unsold flats in the apartment. GDA has about 23 flats in the tower.”

The RWA also challenged GDA’s claim on maintenance, “Through RTI we have got the so-called handing over letter, which does not have an official stamp. It was not even done on the GDA letterhead. Our RWA was formed only in 2015,” they added.

Meanwhile, a senior GDA official said that the RWA has two options. “Either they pay for the retrofitting or go into an agreement with a developer to build a new tower with increased FRA. This way, the builder will get extra flats to sell and the owners will get new flats free of cost,” the official said.

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Over 100 buildings in Ghaziabad marked unsafe, 500 residents at risk – ET RealEstate

GHAZIABAD: The city has seen nearly a four-fold rise in ‘unsafe’ buildings in the past two years — from 26 in 2018 to 102 this year, as per the latest survey conducted by the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation s(GMC). However, residents are yet to vacate many of these buildings. An estimated 500 people are currently staying at these unsafe places, officials said.

The Ghaziabad municipality is, in fact, divided into five zones — City, Kavi Nagar, Vijay Nagar, Mohan Nagar and Vasundhara. The city zone has the maximum number of unsafe buildings at 38, followed by Mohan Nagar at 31, the survey has revealed.

One such unsafe building is Alaknanda Tower in Vaishali, which was constructed in 1989 by the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA). “We are living in a state of constant fear. The basement is flooded with water due to monsoon showers and plasters are peeling off almost daily,” said Amit Kumar, a resident.

Close to Alaknanda Tower is Kaveri Tower, the condition of which is also dangerous. “The plasters of this multi-storied building are peeling off, its basement remains waterlogged throughout the year and the foundation has become weak. Immediate intervention is needed as several lives are at stake,” said Kamlesh Sharma, a resident.
Over 100 buildings in Ghaziabad marked unsafe, 500 residents at riskTulsi Niketan in Sahibabad has also figured in the GMC’s unsafe list, where in October 2018, five members of a family had a narrow escape when the ceiling of their third-floor flat collapsed. The society was developed by GDA three decades ago but lack of maintenance led to the dilapidated condition of the buildings there. “The buildings in Tulsi Niketan are unsafe for living, but we have no option but to stay on. Authorities concerned have so far not made any serious attempts to restore them,” said Amod Singh, a resident. Authorities, on the other hand, blame residents.

“In the case of Alaknanda Tower, it is the responsibility of the RWA to look after its maintenance. Last year, we got the safety audit of the building done by Jamia Millia Islamia, which suggested retro-fitting of the building. But that needs to be done by the RWA only,” said an official from GDA.

“In the case of Tulsi Niketan, we had offered to build new flats, but the proposal was rejected by residents and the RWA, and in both the cases, it would be wrong to say that we did not attempt to sort out the issues,” he added.

GMC chief engineer Moinuddin said, “Despite serving notices, many have refused to vacate the buildings. This is a Catch-22 situation for us because we do not want to use force to get the buildings vacated, but then who would be responsible in case of any accident.”

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Builders in Ghaziabad yet to hand over 50 societies’ upkeep to RWAs – ET RealEstate

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GHAZIABAD: There are at least 50 housing societies in Ghaziabad where the builders have not yet handed over the maintenance to the RWAs even after mandatory 66% occupancy.

While residents allege there is a deliberate attempt on the part of builders not to hand over upkeep to the RWAs as they do not want to forego maintenance charges, builders on their part say that they are awaiting completion certificates from the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA).

“The handover of societies has always been an issue between RWAs and developers and as per one estimate, there are over 50 societies in Crossings Republik, Indirapuram, Raj Nagar Extension, Vaishali and Kaushambi, where the problem persists,” said Alok Kumar of Fed AOA, an RWA umbrella body.

“There are many reasons behind the reluctance on the part of developers to hand over the reins of a society, easy money being one which developers charge from residents in the name of maintenance fees, electricity bills and on many other heads. Sadly, the GDA has been a mute spectator to the ongoing crisis,” he added.

As per the clauses of UP Apartment Act 2010, if a society has an occupancy of 66% or more and it has completed two years from the day of first possession, then the developer will have to facilitate handover of the society to the RWA.

“There is also one clause in the UP Apartment Act, according to which possession cannot be given until a developer gets a completion certificate from GDA. But many developers start giving possession after applying for completion certificates. And they often use this excuse to delay handing over upkeep to the RWA,” said Kumar.

When contacted, a GDA official said on the issue that the development authority has already set up a cell to address issues arising out of disputes between developers and residents or RWAs. “We have allotted a specific day in a month for addressing these issues, but due to the pandemic the meetings are not taking place. Anyway, the state government has come up with new guidelines governing maintenance charges.”

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