Vimal Oberoi was 76 when she booked a flat at Unitech Fresco in Gurgaon’s Sector 50. She trusted the brand name and was confident about an early handover as 15 of the 17 towers in the condominium had been built. She is 83 now but is yet to get her flat — the 2BHK unit in Tower 15 that she had booked in 2010.
“Every penny I had I invested in that flat. I had planned to rent out the apartment and use the money to get through my old age. Now, I have nothing left with me and am living off my sons,” says Vimal, who was based in Delhi but has now moved to Gurgaon. She has two sons. The elder son, with whom she lives, is based in Gurgaon. The younger son is in Bangalore. Vimal’s husband has passed away.
Vimal had booked the flat with the money she got from selling her family property in Delhi’s Patel Nagar (East), where she also ran a beauty parlour. But instead of the security she had hoped for, she says she has not only lost her financial freedom but also the only expected source of income at this stage of her life.
Vimal says she paid the last instalment in October 2015 — around Rs 7.5 lakh — and got a written guarantee that her flat will be handed over in the next 45 days. But like many other projects in NCR, Fresco too went into a spiral of delays as the real estate market in the region slumped sharply, delaying deliveries and, at the same time, drying up new bookings. For real estate companies, the returns failed to keep pace with eager investments made in the earlier years when the property market galloped.
The slump continues, pulled down further by the demonetisation exercise last year. Vimal recently visited the project but says the flat did not even have its electrical wiring in place. “A Unitech employee at the site told her if she wants the house completed, she should pay another Rs 7 lakh and he will get it done,” said Mohit, her elder son.
The 83-year-old says she doesn’t know what to do. “Now I can’t sleep at night thinking of what will happen to all my savings,” she says. Worried about his mother’s health, Mohit took her to the Unitech office recently and was advised by senior finance officials to write an email to the owners. “There has been no response on that mail yet. We were also told that we could file a case but it would be just another drop in the ocean, with so many cases already pending,” Mohit says. Fresco was launched in 2007. The complex has 1,020 flats. Unitech has given possession of flats in towers 1-8.
Asked for a response, a Unitech spokesperson told TOI Vimal’s apartment would be delivered soon. “Our team has been working towards completion of Mrs Oberoi’s apartment. In about a couple of months at most we would be handing over the keys of the same to her,” sad the spokesperson.