Sunday, July 17, 2011

Greenwood Elements – A case in point.


On the 13th of July, I chanced upon three out of the four essential elements of mother nature.

Every day

  • We cook for ourselves (or warm ourselves, depending on where we live) on Fire
  • Wash ourselves in Water
  • Feel the Wind in our hair and bodies
  • Walk upon the Earth

I bet, little did the developers of Greenwood Elements know that they would offer all this to it’s future residents. The date was the 13th of July. 13th considered inauspicious by some and co-incidentally the same day as the dastardly act on Mumbai. I feel terrible. I was born on the 13th. November though !

Like most of us, with a prayer on my lips and resolve in my heart. I move on. May God give strength to those who lost loved ones in the 13th July Mumbai blasts. At moments such as this, phrases like ‘Spirit of Bombay’ and ‘resilience’ are thrown out. But the truth as is said, is stark. Do Mumbaikars or Indians in general have a choice ?

It may be unfair for me to  draw a parallel, but it is only true that investors in New Town have also not been left with too many choices. A dream conceived by think-thank from the erstwhile left government, but only half-baked and ill-prepared. The present government it seems, could care less about the future of residents or investors in New Town.

During her opposition days, our current CM, had then openly declared war on land acquisition of any kind in Rajarhat/New Town area. This was to be her bĂȘte noire. We all know very well though, that governing politics and opposition politics are two completely different ball games in Indian political circles.

Not to digress too far from the scope of this post, but such are the ways of politics. That affiliated members of TMC, have been seen wielding political weapons in certain pockets of New Town. Using it to secure contract of building materials in a rather monopolistic manner. One would like to ask our, CM, Ms. B to explain her stance on this ? But then again, the question is a mere rhetorical.  So she may choose, to not answer. Moving on.

Shrachi Greenwood Elements

The above picture, tells a story. The approach road was flooded, from about 100 meters. And a lone construction worker is working to pump the water out.  It is to be noted, that it hadn’t rained hard for at least a couple of days. Sorry to sound negative, but this is a tell tale sign of these high rises being plagued by lack of infrastructure in New Town.

For those who might wonder, did I back off seeing the water logging ? Well, the walk to the towers was certainly not for the feeble hearted, but we (me and a friend) did brave it. Thanks to a neatly lined bed of mud-filled cement bags, for about half the distance. See below.

The 'bridge' to Elements

On the other side of these bags, there was still a considerable stretch of sun-baked mud hills that we had to negotiate to reach the entrance.

Path to entrance

I am only reproducing some pictures here in this post, but you can see all the pictures on the facebook page for the blog.

Dark rain clouds

Once we had finally reached our destination, dark clouds had enveloped the New Town sky. But we did not know what was in store.

From the first look, Greenwood Elements impresses, there is no doubt about that. Construction from a layman’s perspective, looks good. We clicked some pictures while generally looking around.

Aerial shot of the pool 

The above shot was taken from the top floor. And yes the elevators were working. They were impressive too. They have used Schindler.

Schindler Elevators

The above picture is also testament to the fact that we indeed go all the way to the 12th floor. And the post is for real :)

It also proves that electricity has reached Elements. We also asked around and were told that both electricity and water connection has been provided for and the flats are being dutifully handed over to their rightful owners.

So far, so good.

Now here is the shocker and brace for it. We ran into a family who were coming out of an apartment. They looked hustled and not very happy. I approached them. Said hello to the gentleman, who did not seem to be having a particularly great day.

Once we got talking, he told me that they were there for their possession and  were not happy. He said he was disappointed and he did not believe that the slick brochures matched the end product. He was incidentally carrying the brochure in his right hand. On top of it, he held a sheet of paper, where he had made copious notes. On asking, he said those were the points he made a note of.

The conversation stretched further. He confessed both him and his wife were civil engineers and settled in Katy, TX (close to the Houston area). So I would say, he knew what he was talking about. Given the 15 months that I spent in a previous life at UTMED in Galveston, TX, we got something to keep talking.

He continued to add that there were a number of areas, that were not up to the mark. One area he pointed out was – the water logged verandah his apartment. His apartment has a decent size open to air verandah, which seemingly had improper drainage and/or sloping causing water to stand. See picture below. You can also see the air-conditioner is sitting on the verandah, at only a couple of inches above the ground. This may pose a electrical hazard in case water comes in contact with the a/c unit.

Water logged verandah 

He added another reason for his discontent and I quote ‘Going with Shrachi, I expected a certain quality product, being told the Todis were behind it. I could have gone with any mom & pop shop.’ Upon asking he disclosed, he had spent upwards of 50 lakhs on this. 

I further queried, if he had invested in this property as an investor or he hoped to live here some day. He quipped. “Seeing what I see, I remain a doubtful starter!”.

In my personal opinion, Shrachi is a brand indeed, but not one to reckon with. They are only mid-way-decent as far as their reputation goes. And one of their other projects Rosedale, NRI has been embroiled in controversy and is infact embattled in a legal drama with it’s flat owners, for severe delay.

However, let me add that despite Sudip Guha’s (the flat owner I spoke to) candid remarks Elements is not badly done at all, there may be design flaws, and things you don’t like. But believe me when I say that this seems a decently done up apartment complex. And I have seen them all. Just us a rejoinder, like Sudip confessed and once again I quote “My expectation was way up there, but may be I need to adjust to the ground-reality”.

Finally Sudip and I parted. Below is the shot of his unit.

Sudip Guha's apartment

To conclude, here is my two-cents or may be more.


  • Decent construction quality at par.
  • I am not sure, but I do not believe, there was much delay on this project. But I will let the investors correct me if I am wrong. When did this project start ?
  • Proximity to City Center 2 and the airport.
  • Only about 200 meters or so from the MAR (main arterial road).
  • Once they can fix the approach road and the water logging problem, fairly habitable almost immediately. If their claims about uninterrupted power supply and water supply is true.
  • Nice spacious layouts.
  • All apartments come fitted 2/3 split air conditioning units.  (I know such things are built into the cost). But I do not have a clue as to what rates these units were booked at. Any help from the readers on this will be appreciated.


  • City Center 2, the only life line. No other shops or daily needs stores. However CC 2 is very much within walking distance.
  • Approach road needs to have night lighting and some more settlements to provide a sense of security to the residents.
  • The only dwelling structure in the immediate vicinity. However Greenwood Sonata and City Center 2 and some other complexes are not far-way.

Finally for those who would care, it had started to rain before we could finish our recce and be on our way back. The same 100 meters was now a treacherous terrain. The hard-baked mud road had now converted to a mushy and slippery zone. Better sense did not prevail, and once the rain had slowed down a bit. We started to trudge along. Despite being careful, I had a slip and fall. Thankfully not fatal, albeit a bit embarrassing. The upside of it all was, now I did not look like an outsider. Being covered with mud and slush, waist down, I closely resembled the construction crew who were hard at work.

Once again, you can see all the pictures on the facebook page for the blog. Happy viewing !

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sankalpa IV delivered, Site II and Site III next in line.


The first delivery phase of project Sankalpa has started.  Site IV as we speak is being handed over. The flat owners were being given possession of their units, starting the third week of June.

Site IV was sold on a lottery basis at almost throw away prices back in 2007-2008. 99-100 flats were distributed on a lottery basis. The remaining 48-49 flats would be sold at current prevailing rates and I was told a newspaper advertisement would be published on it shortly.

Site IV has been delivered in a fully finished, habitable condition. I was informed by WBIDFC and N.K. Realtor folks that starting 1st of July, electricity would be given to the flat owners who would like to start living, via  a generator set. This is only a temporary solution. As I understand the metered electricity could only be provided once the flat owner applies for a meter in his/her name with NTESL – New Town Electric Supply Limited, the governing body for electricity distribution in New Town/Rajarhat area.

It is important to be noted that WBIDFC is honoring their contractual obligation of penalty for late delivery. As per the general terms and conditions mentioned in the contract, the amount is Rs. 4000 per month of delay, excluding the first three months of delay. The first three months of delay was to be considered a grace period.

Water connection and supply has also been set-up for flat owners, however at this point I am not sure whether the water is boring (underground) water or being supplied from water storage plants in Calcutta. I will seek more information on it and publish it shortly.

Please see the facebook page for this blog for updated pictures on Site II, Site III, Site IV and Site I.

Next in line for possession is Site II (across the Main Arterial Road). The handover date for which has been set-up in/around September this year. Realistically, it could take up to the end of this year before this is handed over.

And then second in line for posession is Site III (adjacent to Site IV) that would be towers 10,11,12,13 and 14.  The tentative date for handover for Site III is December of this year. However given the work remaining it is likely to spill over into first quarter of 2012.

Realistically, it could take up to February – March 2012, before Site III would be delivered.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

AA II from across seven seas !

First off, let me apologize to the readers of SaveNewTown for being out of action for nearly 2 months now. I have been tied down with a lot that has been going on my personal front. Hence have been AWOL.

Also I have been travelling, and out of the country on assignment since the first week of April. Today Saturday, 7th May; I decided to sit down and write a few words and update my readers.

As I sit down and write this piece in a far away cafe in a far away land of USA. I miss being in cacophony that is Calcutta, the wide open spaces of New Town. I have three more weeks to go before I return to base camp.

Now that the elections are behind us, we hope the HIDCO authorities can get down to the business of development and the much missed infrastructure in New Town, better known in some circles as Ghost Town. The election results would be out soon and we shall know which way the dice has rolled. Left or right, red or green – let us hope it settles the burning issue of land acquisition in the state.

Let us also hope who ever assumes power keeps everyone’s interests in mind and sets aside political partisanship and for once decides in public interest. Let better sense prevail, let justice be done, let responsible development happen. Let the landowners get their due and let us move on in life. Wishful thinking you say ? Hope is all I have people.

In the last few months, I had received many requests to tour AA II with specific focus towards individual plots and report on the goings on and the state of the union.

Before I sailed out west, I visited AA II, around the second week of March and that is what I am reporting on today. To some who have been up and about in the last few weeks, some information presented here may seem stale. So please skip this if you are already in the know.

All roads lead to AA II ? Malancha vs Landloser ? 

The projects that line up this stretch of AA II opposite Lake Nucifera are Hiland Woods, Sunrise Symphony, Peerless Anahita Bengal Shelter’s Teen Kanya, Bengal DCL’s Malancha and Sunny Fort to name some.

Lake Nucifera Lake Nucifera

This area is far from being habitable yet. No wonder, the builders are offering many a bait, starting from lower rates, semi furnished, air conditioned units with wooden floored bed rooms. All this and more to shore up the hard to convince consumer.

Having visited Hiland Woods earlier, I decided to give it a miss and stopped by Sunrise Symphony instead. As expected was greeted by a smooth talking salesman who saw nothing wrong in the lack of infrastructure in the area and reassured that as soon as these projects start handing over the units to their respective owners, infrastructure will follow suit. What came before I ask - chicken or the egg ?

Sing with me

Above is a leaf out of the sales brochure of Sunrise Symphony. Here in they claim, that you will be at one with nature. Who needs infrastructure if you have such postcard beauty on offer.

The sales representative @ Symphony also confirmed that Lake Nucifera is destined to be beautified and maintained by Bengal Ambuja folks, who apparently have the contract bid for it. No one seems to know what is the time frame for it. It seemed a secret a little too well kept.

Below are some pictures of the model flat at Sunrise Symphony, where I was told about 70% of flats have been sold. And I better hurry, if I want something half-decent. I decided to hold on to the buying decision, for the moment at least :)

Symphony disclaimer Dinner table

Just outside Sunrise Symphony and by the shore of Lake Nucifera stood an abandoned bright yellow truck, whose purpose was not clear, not to me at least. Apart from the fact, that it was owned by the state government.

Bright Yellow Truck

Bright Yellow Truck 

Hate to say that the next door, Peerless Anahita and  Bengal Shelter Teen Kanya cut a sorry figure. They seem to be in perennial state of construction. There seems to be hardly any thing different to report on these projects. My sympathies with people who have booked units in either of these.

Next in line was Bengal DCL’s Malancha. Now this project has been embroiled in controversy for some time now. It was launched with much fan fare back in 2007 I believe. With punch lines as - A home from Bengal DCL is like Beethoven giving music lessons to your daughter. Living in Malancha Condoville is like Albert Einstein tutoring physics to your son”. Many moons later, I am sure this line will wake up Beethoven in his grave and force Einstein to curdle in his slumber.

I have nothing against, how people look. Very early on in life I was told to “Never judge a book by it’s cover, or judge people by how they look”. But then again, there is always that exception to the rule. Case in point being the picture below. I am sorry to say that this group photo does not instill any confidence in me as a buyer, and far from the order of Beethoven or Einstein.

Bengal DCL Directors Bengal DCL – Board of directors

Nothing against any one personally, but Malancha too has gone south for the most part. It is in it’s fifth year of construction, grossly delayed now by nearly 2 years. And far from offering any compensation for the delay; on the contrary they have recently sent notices to the flat owners asking them for even more money above and beyond the original price. Also asking them to take possession of their apartments without basic utilities like electricity and water.  Their alibi – rising cost of building materials. Such are the ways of this world.

You can read more and subscribe to this facebook group for more details – Malancha, New Town, Rajarhat.

Notwithstanding the unscrupulous intentions of Bengal DCL, I still stopped by Bengal DCL and exercised my democratic right of shooting some pictures.

View from Malancha View from Malancha View from Malancha  View from Malancha

DCL LIGDCL MIG   DCL MIG playground DCL Tower

Below are some pictures of the Sunny Fort project. There wasn’t much time left on this day to get into the details of this project.

Sunny Fort Sunny Fort

This was the Action Area II story. I am afraid, I was not able to cover the individual plots on this visit. But there is always a next time and I promise upon my return to the homeland, I will deliver on doing a dedicated piece on individual plots across New Town.

On the way back, there were some more things that caught my fancy .

White trash

Above is a stark and grim reality of New Town, amidst all the glitz and glamour of HIG towers, corporate business parks, and fancy apartment complexes lie piles of garbage and trash littered all over.

There is is construction debris, house hold refuse, and all kinds of garbage. The sad part is, it does not seem to bother any one. There are no garbage pick up service in any part of New Town, to the best of my knowledge. And this is a world class township. May God bless New Town !

Finally, below are some pictures of Shrachi developed Synthesis Business Park.

Synthesis Business Park Synthesis Business Park Blessed by Mamata ?

Below are some candid shots of some unusual visitors, on their inspection route of SBP. Good omen, may be ?

Unusual visitors ? Unusual visitors ?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Uniworld City, Revisited

My previous post on Unitech was titled Any Given Sunday! It was about 11 weeks ago,  in the second week of December 2010.Things seem to have taken a turn for the better, since.

This time I was accompanied by a neighbor of nearly 6 years. I had not known for as long that we shared the interest in New Town. For the purpose of this post, I will refer to him as T. His initial.

We drove down on a languid Sunday morning, making some stops on the way. We finally reached Uniworld City around noon. T was to be my passport to enter the secured environs of this city of what will be 68 larger than life towers, including Unitech Air – a cluster of 40 storied towers.

New Town Skyline *You can see what looks like sewer spots along the side of the road

From a distance the skyline did not look like it had changed much at all. But a closer look did tell a slightly different story.

Following changes were noticed :

  • The sewerage work seems to have taken off after being stalled for over a year.
  • The approach road in front of Uniworld City is finally under construction.
  • There seems to be more and more families who have come to live in at Uniworld City.
  • And there are more who are in the process of moving in.
  • Even though I do not have the official number, but about 20 families would be a fair estimate. Some times I can be dumb, or may be these are just tell tale signs of aging. It occurred to me later that I could have checked with the security guards on duty, to have a more accurate number.  
  • We spotted moving trucks during our visit, that tells me people are continuing to move in.
  • Some basic stores (grocery, pharmacy and beauty salons) have already come up with in this settlement.
  • All, encouraging signs these.

The 'Lagaan' TeamThis almost looks like a shot from Lagaan, the movie !

Road Construction Road work in progress

Road Construction

Uniworld Stores Daily needs store and a pharmacy

Uniworld StoresPurple Blaze – the beauty salon 

Bright Yellow Truck People moving in, in bright yellow moving trucks !

Children Play Area Aerial shot of the children’s play area

Tennis Court Tennis Court * Sorry, for the bad quality of this picture, taken from inside the car

Towering Tower Towering Tower

We took a driving tour of the Unitech campus and captured it on video. Have a look.

Below are some more pictures that were taken of the unit we inspected and Uniworld City in general.

Elevator Lobby


Living Room Master Bed Room They have provided for wooden flooring in both the bedrooms of this two bed room apartment

Walk-in Closet Walk in closet area just outside the bathroom attached with the master BR

Views from the  10th Floor Views from the 10th floor 

Signage Entrance Entrance Arches


Following are some more pictures of the road that goes further down from Uniworld City. This road is to be at some point connecting to the E.M. By pass; near the Science City rotary or so I am told. Work seems to be going on at brisk pace.

Road ConstructionRoad Roller Down The Road This picture was taken about 3 km down the road from Uniworld City.

The buildings in the horizon are those of the Uniworld towers.  T confirmed that electricity, water (boring water), intercom service have all been provided to the flat owners, who have been handed over their units.

There was a lot more information that I would have liked to dig up and serve up here. We only had a couple of hours to spare this Sunday. So we had to leave them out for another day.

Hope you find this information useful. Should you have specific questions about Uniworld City or any other project in the vicinity. Please drop me an email at : and I shall do my best.

And yes, just to clarify my stand. This is just a voluntary service, I do not work for Unitech or any of it’s group companies and have no vested interest in providing this information. Information is provided as is without any guarantees either :)

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