So like they say - I have got good news and bad news. Which one do you want first ? Let us do good news first. So here it is. This morning's papers (Sep. 18 - Day after Vishwakarma Pujo; coincidence huh ? Also 2 days after the terrible accident where in the school bus turned turtle ), carry a story about Delhi's/Centre's seal of approval on New Town as a satellite township and has agreed to pay nearly 50 % of the costs of some key infrastructure projects.
Now while this is certainly good news, I doubt if it would change any ground reality. TMC Supremo - Ms. B has a notorious past of not heeding to any central directive and is known to be headstrong and her diffident chieftains have already sounded the war bugle by saying this - “The state government will have to return land to the people who were forced to part with it,” said Prabir Kar, Trinamul Congress president of Rajarhat block.
So now being done with the good news moving on to the bad news. I was at Sankalpa's office in Salt Lake City, day before yesterday, when the bombshell was dropped on me, and I was taken by surprise.
I have been visiting their office every few weeks just to check up on them and get their take on how the project is coming along and all thing sundries. During most of my visits I would walk in to the lair of the Chief Civil Engineer - one Mr. Goswami.
Mr. Goswami - has this some what laid back, pleasant demeanor about him. He always sports a smile, and seems to be in touch with the progress of the project. My inquiries to him would both be general in nature and specific to Site III towers and their proposed deadline. Thus far Mr. G has always assured me that if March 2011 was the due date for the deliverable, they might need the allowable grace period of 3 months. So March 2011 + 3 months = ETA of July 2011. In addition to Mr. G the folks from N.K. Realtors - the marketing agents of Sankalpa, have been singing the same tune.
Despite what WBIDFC representative Mr. G and N.K. Realtor guys said. Following their progress closely, man to man, heart to heart I knew July 2011 was a tough sell for Site III. I was mentally preparing myself for may be a move in around "Pujo 2011" time-frame.
So I met Mr. G the other day and he started off in the same vein, telling me only about 25% of the work remains to be done. He said he was very comfortable with the July 2011 deadline for Site III. He added, that they might be sending out pre-possession letters (some form of communication to the investors about a tentative date of possession blah blah blah ..) by the year end. Then he had a Eureka moment and quickly ran inside his office, while we were sitting in the lobby area. He came out with a stinker ! He had made a mistake, actually they are now looking at November 2011 and not July 2011 for Site III !
I did a quick math in my head and realized that this amounts to a delay of 8 months from the initial deadline of March 2011, and even a 5 month delay from the revised ETA of July 2011. While I understand delays happen, I am sure there might be at least some investors like me out there who do not have the stomach of bearing the financial burden of this delay. Living in a rented accommodation as I am, and paying through my nose makes me really long for the day when I can move into my own apartment and stop paying both a steep mortgage and a steeper rent !
I was quickly re-assured though that the November deadline is keeping into accounts all the variables and is really a maximum time limit. Also was assured that WBIDFC the developers will keep their promise of paying a penalty of Rs. 4000 per month, for each month of delay ! However this money will not be paid in cash at this time, it will be adjusted against outstanding dues one may have at the time of closing/possession.
Developers all across New Town and elsewhere too are notorious for flashing the Force majeure clause and hiding under it's protection. Thus evading having to pay penalty to hapless investors. I have been repeatedly reassure that WBIDFC is not just another developer, they are a government company and will be stand by their commitment. Well, time will tell !
Mr. G unlike during my previous meetings with him, looked somewhat hassled and flustered. I was told he was in-between either a meeting and/or some audit process. He quickly dropped the November bombshell and went back to his lair.
Now almost as if telepathically I receive an email from another investor at Sankalpa, Site II, which was to be delivered in August this year. Below is an excerpt from his email, verbatim :
I was told recently by the Sankalpa office personnel at Salt Lake that the delivery will be in March/April, 2011. The official delivery date was August this year and after the 3 months grace period, they will be paying us penalty (per month) which will be adjusted during closing.
I would like to conclude here by simply saying - जागो ग्राहक जागो , জাগো গ্রাহক জাগো or as they say in the American twang - Wake up and smell the coffee !
The age old adage could not be truer in this context - United we stand, divided we fall !