Thursday, August 07, 2008

DDA flats: Delhi's Disaster Analysis

5,010 flats of one to three bedrooms spread across Delhi whose plinth area range from 39.39 Sq meters (393 sq feet approximately) to 158.00 Sq meters (1,580 sq feet) with a price band ranging from Rs 7.20 – 77.80 lakhs plus extra for freehold property registration, and of course additional other expenses that will be incurred before taking possession of the flat.

Besides, out of these 5,010 flats:
17.5% (877) flats are reserved for Schedule caste
7.5% (376) flats are reserved for Scheduled tribes
1% (50) for war widows
1% (50) for physically handicapped persons
1% (50) for ex-servicemen.
10%(501) of these flats 5010 in number will go to DDA officials which is never publicised

Total: 1,904 flats reserved for different categories. The rest, 3,106 flats available for others.
There is no mention of single women, divorced/separated women, or women who are living in Hostels or as paying guests/on rented premises, who desperately require accommodation of their own, living in a dreadful, dangerous, and aggressive city like Delhi.

Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) magnanimous offer will be gulped up by thousands of Real Estate Agents, booking in different names and selling it to desperate-for-housing public at a huge premium. DDA knows that. But if you are lucky, even 1% you will land a flat, which will be in shoddy state, and if you want to occupy the flat, then you will have to spend an additional 5 – 10 lakhs on the flat, before it is livable in. After all DDA has warned buyers that it is in As-Is-where-is-Basis. So be ready to face the perennial problems that will surface after possession until you have breathed your last.

Yet, thousands will flock to buy these flats on grounds that it is the best possible offer, in comparison to private builders whose constructions may be better (or at least there is a show of it), but are beyond the capacity of the common man. Please note, as of today, the common man is not to be mixed up with the middle class of yesteryears, who are now burgeoning into the opulent category.

Therefore, even if you get lucky, and you have scraped the last pai from your Bank Account to have a roof above your head, be prepared to live with people from the above categories who will be your neighbours. And you had better shut up, because for every little reason, you will be reminded that you are from the Braminical caste, or the elite classes, who have been looking down and oppressing them for centuries. You may then, raise a polite hand and whisper gently, “When is it that I oppressed you?” and pat will come the answer, “Your forefathers did! And for that you have to pay”!

The story is the same everywhere. There is a surge of the then downtrodden in every sphere of our lives. Say education, say, work, or even in the day to day life of a common man, who eyes are inundated by likes of Mayawati, whose status has begun to dot every square inch of Lucknow, I am told to. In Institutes considered prestigious in the country, like Indian Institute of Advance Studies in Shimla, the Dalits are pushing for dominant position, just by virtue of their caste.

But the purpose of this post is not about crying foul about the then downtrodden masses. I have a serious question, grimmer than the highest metaphysical query – should I, join the aspiring millions who will be handing over their application to DDA latest by 16th September 2008 in the hope of being doled out a roof over one’s head?

I used to have two flats, but now I only have one in Kolkata. I bought this three years ago, from my brother at a rather competitive rate. I work in Delhi, but have no desire to make this city my home after my working life. I am dreadfully distrustful of medical professionals here and know for sure that in the event of any major sickness, I will go to Kolkata where my family is and where my youngest brother’s wife is a doctor. And albeit Kolkata’s medical facilities and professionals may well reverberate what we see in Delhi, but I believe that I will not become a guinea pig in the hands of the doctors, as my sister-in-law is a doctor! Besides, despite having my own flat there, my brother has reserved a flat for me, right under his, in case I want to stay close to them in future.

This brings me to the next point – what about my partnership then? It continues, even if we are in two different places, as it is now. In fact, the separation has accelerated me onto the area I love most in my life – the spiritual path.

So, in the context of the above, should I join the hundreds of DDA flat aspirants? Or shall I fall back on another job I know so well – join the unscrupulous businessmen, and apply nevertheless. And if I get lucky, I know, I will be rich!

Which then is the better of the two devils that plague me at the moment, one, the extreme danger of being clubbed with Brahmins and get spat upon with vile attitude of being oppressor, or the never ending greed for more money?

Of course I forgot to say, in so far as the mind is concerned, it is Never enough, whether it is for more money or more curses from the surroundings.

The seeker of suffering the curses as well as the suffering that comes from wealth management, and fear psychosis that follows from either state, begins and ends with me. There cannot be anyone else to suffer the consequences. Including the loss of interest on the Rs 1,50,000 deposit money I have to pay, and which if I don’t get lucky will have to wait for six months to return from DDA. And if I lose it in the post, then I have had it!

It will be like looking for a needle in a haystack! Or in the 5,000 flats, even one of which did not come to me, due to the misfortune of my not being born to the then downtrodden, but now elite class.

Besides, all these flats are basically defaulters flats, I will have to hire my own Lawyer to check that the papers DDA is doling out is authentic and this is not a double sale and if I know Delhi right, I can't be sure about either, neither DDA nor the Lawyers! They are all hand-in-glove.

Therefore, if I must, it will be only at my own risk!

Rs 7 lakh to Rs 77 lakh, DDA’s housing scheme from Aug 6
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