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 bête 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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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 !

14 comments:

  1. A Great Analysis NKOB!!As far as I know they started selling it on 2400 base price which became 2700 arnd Jan-June 2010 and currently @3200..

    Other readers can correct me if I am wrong!

    ReplyDelete
  2. To All other fellow owners of Greenwood Elements,please join our Google Group to become united and raise our concerns and issues as a group!!

    http://groups.google.com/group/Greenwoodelements

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sudip Guha who you interviewed is my cousin brother.He had a whole lot of complaints about his flat(it ran into some three pages),most of them justified.I am based in Kolkata and still waiting for possession for my plot in Action Area III/1 which was supposed to be handed over by HIDCO in end 2009!!I had requested that you do a piece on individual plot owners in Action area III.Have you given any thought to my request?Both NRIs and non-NRIs are absolutely disgusted with HIDCO!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nabarun - Thanks for responding to this post. I am almost certain, no matter which builder you go to, and which project you review. They are all likely to have problems and complaints. HIDCO has clearly failed to live up to it's tall claims of making New Town, a model township. Especially with respect to Action Area II and III. I did give thought on doing a piece on Action Area III, individual plots. However really, I am not quite sure where to begin on it. Since you are based in Kolkata. I would suggest we meet up and do a joint piece. Lately a lot of dust has been kicked around New Town, with the new government and its representatives. But speaking plainly, I don't see much change in the general ineptitude of HIDCO.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi NKOTB, What about the dlf new town heights? I request you do a full featured blog on that project. I am particularly interested on your prediction of the time of possession. The buildings are there, but it's far from being handed over. Instead the greedy DLF introduced 2 more towers within the same area, hence in turn reduced the green space.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anirban,

    I have noted your request and will visit DLF New Town Heights soon. What you say about DLF putting in two more towers, sounds scarily similar to another developer by the name of Bengal DCL. I have a friend who is invested in it and is ruing it. There should really be a grievance redressal forum for investors and apartment owners alike, so that these developers cannot get away with whatever they want. I am not sure if you heard about this, but DLF was in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. Read this article, if you haven't already - http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/article2362645.ece

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dear All, those of u who ve invested in this project of Srachi congrats....today i am trying to buy a flat and its costing 34 L :-)

    I guess in the earlier stages of roll out there will be drawbacks but u should go with a reputed builder then will get good returns....

    northwards@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
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