Signature View Apartment Case: Residents continue to remain in deteriorating premises 9 months after an evacuation warning was issued.
In 2021-22, a study done at the request of the DDA by the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, discovered that the structure was “structurally unsafe,” and that the best alternative was to “vacate and dismantle” the complex.
Residents remain in the decaying Signature View Apartment in Mukherjee Nagar, north of Delhi, nine months after the lieutenant governor ordered its restoration and the evacuation of families from the housing complex.
Except for a few, most of the families are still living in these buildings, which began showing signs of shoddy construction almost from the day they moved in, and are refusing to leave until the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) guarantees evacuation, payment of rent for the accommodation they will be housed in, and reconstruction of flats and handover within three years.
According to DDA sources, the organization that built the buildings in question, a definitive agreement is expected to be sent to occupants by next week.
Delhi On January 24, Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena directed DDA to evacuate and rebuild the “structurally damaged” Signature View Apartments in Mukherjee Nagar, North Delhi. He also suggested that the Central Bureau of Investigation look into construction flaws at the housing complex.
The Signature View Apartment housing complex, which consists of 12 storeys and 336 units, still houses approximately 1,600 people.
Demand from residents
Signature View Apartment Residents’ Welfare Association secretary Gaurav Pandey claimed that the DDA is not assisting them in leaving the flats since the agency has not to commit to a definitive agreement on details about the reconstruction of units and the rent to be paid to evacuees.
“We have learned that the DDA has stipulated that rent will be paid to residents only after all 336 flats have been vacated.” This is an impractical condition because most families here are unable to afford both rent and EMIs for an extended period of time. That is why residents are concerned about leaving their apartments. “The DDA should pay the families’ rent within 10-15 days of their leaving the flat and handing it over to the authority,” Pandey told Moneycontrol.
He stated that if a family vacates the flat in October and it takes another six to seven months to completely vacate the premises, they would have to shoulder the additional burden of rent on top of the house loan EMIs.
Bhupinder Chaudhary, another resident of the society, blamed the delay on a lack of clarity regarding the date of payment of compensating rent. “On their own, only 70-80 families have left the housing complex.” However, not everyone can afford to pay the rent and EMI. How long will the families be able to live on their own while paying rent? This will result in a tumultuous environment. “The DDA should first rehab us and then rebuild our flats,” Chaudhary requested.
DDA made two proposals to residents in June 2023. One option was a direct buyback of the apartments, in which the housing authority would pay back the cost of capital, interest, and stamp duty paid at the time of registration.
The other alternative was to rebuild the flats, in which case the DDA would offer newly built flats in the same location with the same standards. Furthermore, the rent facilitation amount would be paid during the construction time.
Residents claim that the DDA has decided to pay Rs 50,000 per month in rent for HIG (high-income group) flats and Rs 38,000 for MIG (mid-income group) flats.
DDA constructed the Signature View Apartment Complex between 2007 and 2010, with deliveries beginning in 2012. According to the inhabitants, construction-related difficulties began to emerge in 2012-13.
In 2021-22, a study done at the request of the DDA by the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, concluded that the structure was “structurally unsafe” and that the best choice was to “vacate and dismantle” the complex.
Following concerns from tenants, the LG requested that DDA reconstruct the housing complex and “rehabilitate the residents in the interim” on January 24.