Taking into consideration the rate at which Bangalore is expanding and the space constraints that came with the expansion, in 2012, the BDA announced that ‘vertical’ was the way to go. With this announcement, the BDA forayed into the construction of low cost housing, announcing that 6180 flats would be made available for purchase by the public.
Private real estate sector and some people were sceptical about the quality of low cost housing by BDA. Citizen Matters wrote about this in detail.
3000 flats allotted
Of the proposed flats, applications were invited for 3000 flats across 17 sites in March 2013. The lottery was held for the allotment recently, and many readers were seen expressing anguish over them not being allotted the flat despite seniority, while a bunch of people were seen communicating about exchanging the flats with those in convenient locations. (Check comment section in this article)
After the allotment, Citizen Matters checked with BDA Commissioner, T Sham Bhatt as to when the flats would be ready. He said: “3000 flats will be ready by March 2014. The remaining will be ready by June 2014, for which we will invite applications around March 2014. We are currently looking to complete those flats that have been allotted, by March. Construction is underway at the rate of around 100 flats per day. Going by this, we will be able complete the flats as promised.”
While the BDA and the ruling government seem hopeful and want to be able to keep their promise of getting the BDA apartments ready in time, the ground reality seems to be a little different. We posed the same question to BDA Engineer Officer, Gowdaiah. He said that only some of 3000 flats would be ready by March 2014. The rest, where the construction was underway, were likely to be ready only by August-September 2014.
‘Preferences not considered’
While many folks who have been allotted flats are happy that they have made the cut, there seems to be an equal number who are disappointed with the flats they have been allotted for a number of reasons.
Not having a choice with respect to the floor the flat is located on
Some people were assigned flats in a location which did not feature in their list of preferences while applying for the flat
The allotted flats are in a part of Bangalore that is rather alien to them (some allottees say that the distance from the new flat to their workplace is more than 50 km)
Gowdaiah stated that the second allotment of flats was made on a first-come-first –serve basis and the third allotment through the lottery system. As much as possible, the BDA had tried to assign flats to folks as per their preference. Only when flats of a particular category or type were exhausted, did the BDA allot flats that did not feature in an applicant’s list of preferences.
While this seems like a rational explanation, many people who have been allotted flats do want to exchange the flat. Allottees were given almost 10 days, from when the list was published, to make an application for exchange.
Is exchange of flats possible?
The BDA has stated that in case folks would like to exchange their flats, a mutual exchange was possible, so long as the flats belonged to the same category. Both parties would need to make a joint application with the allotment papers. Gowdaiah says that folks were given 10 days from the date of allotment to make a written statement if they had any reservations. The last date for this was 6 January 2014. In case that an extension was to be made on this date, he added that it could be a challenge as it would impact the dates for the subsequent processes. Gowdaiah added that this list was being compiled and the BDA would try their best to re-allot flats to folks as per their preference.
Sham Bhatt however said that they would consider an exchange if people made an application even now. Citizen Matters also checked with him if there was currently a forum on the BDA website, where allottees could post their requirements and therefore identify other people who wanted to exchange. He stated that this was not available as of now and that there was certainly merit in creating a discussion forum on the BDA website for this purpose. In case Citizen Matters hears further on this matter, we will post the details regarding the same.
For those folks who are unhappy with the flat that they have been allotted, they can do one of two things: Surrender the flat and get a refund, or re-apply for the next allotment. In case they choose to go with the second option, seniority and number of attempts at applying would be considered during the allotment.
Application date goofed up?
The list of allottees that was published threw up several discrepancies with respect to the application date. For around 80 allotments, the application date was post 15 July 2013, even though the last date for application was 30 June 2013 (extended to 15 July 2013). In 21 cases, the application date was in 2014, 4 of them with dates in March 2014. Sham Bhatt stated that the BDA had not taken in any applications post the last date and it was in all likelihood a typing mistake. Gowdaiah added that considering the BDA was making the list public, there was no way they would feature erroneous data such as this and it had to be a mistake. Both assured that they would in any case look into the matter.
BDA to retain 20 flats
Sham Bhatt, when asked why there was a difference in the number of allottees and the number of flats in the case of 2BHK apartments, said that the BDA had retained ownership of around 20 2BHK flats (in Doddabanalli and Valagerahalli) for two reasons:
1) In case there was a mistake in the allocation, for instance if an individual was not allotted a flat, in spite of the his/her seniority, these flats would be allotted to them to rectify the error.
2) Some of the flats have been reserved for BDA and government employees and will be given to them on a rental basis.
However, with respect to number of allottees being more than the number of flats, he said there was no case of that, as the BDA invited only limited applications.
Non-allottees to be considered in the next round
Those applicants who have applied during second notification, and not been allotted flats, Sham Bhatt says, would be considered for the next allotment. Those who applied during the third notification would need to reapply when applications are called for next. They would be considered as per the seniority at the time of allotment of flats.
Gowdaiah did add that for those folks who applied, but were not allotted flats, there was no assurance that they would get a flat during the next allotment, but they would certainly be given first preference.
Transfer of ownership and payment
Sham Bhatt said that the allotment letters would be dispatched in the coming week, and folks should expect to receive ownership of their flats by April 2014. With respect to payment for these flats, he added that the full payment would need to be made within six months or 180 days from when the allotment letter had been sent. An initial payment of 25% of the total value of the flat, would need to be made in 60 days.
When checked about whether allottees would be able to sell the flats once they took ownership, he said that as of yet no provisions had been made regarding the same. However, in the case of the flats given out under the EWS category, the BDA might consider adding a clause, considering that these were given out on subsidised rates.
Anand Babu, a team lead with Toyota Kirloskar motors, had applied for a 2BHK flat in Valegerahalli, but was allotted a flat in Gunjur. He says the distance to his work place from the Gunjur flat would be around 40 km and he was therefore looking to exchange it. As to why he went in for a BDA flat as opposed to one by a private builder, he cited affordability and the fact that he was assured of a legal flat, considering the government was issuing it.
Deepak (name changed), an employee with an automotive company, was issued a flat in Doddabanalli, though his first preference was Valegerahalli. The distance to his workplace from here is around 60 km and he too is looking for an exchange. With respect to paying the balance amount for the bank, Deepak added that LIC Housing has stated that a loan could be made available so long as people were able to pay at least 25% of the total value of the flat by themselves.
Naresh Jamadagni had applied for a 2BHK flat, but did not get an allotment. On the discussion forum on Citizen Matters, he stated that individuals would need to confirm with the BDA if their application would be considered for the next allotment or if their file was forwarded to the refund section.
Allottees happy with quality of the flats
While people initially had reservations about the quality of the flats, considering that they were being sold for almost half of what a private builder would quote, people seem to be at ease with it.
Gurudutt, an engineer at IBM, applied for a 3BHK flat at Holagarehalli on June 2013. He was allotted one at Doddabanahalli. He said he was absolutely fine with it, considering the flat was at a better location.
In terms of the quality of the flats, Gurudutt had this to say: “The BDA flats are apt for middle class citizens. A 3BHK flat constructed by a private builder will costs about 80 Lakhs. We have got the BDA flat for half the cost. Therefore quality of material used too will be in line with how much we have paid. I have been visiting the construction since the beginning, and the quality seems to be good. We are getting what we have paid for.”
Deepak stated that he had looked at the model flat in Valegerahalli and they had used branded bathroom fittings, so he expects the finish quality of the flats to be good.
Gowdaiah stated that they have used good quality materials for construction and the that their quality monitoring process was the best in Bangalore. He added that there has been no compromise on the quality of materials used, considering that the entire scheme is bound to be scrutinised with a keen eye by all. He also added that there was a two-year defect liability attached to the flats. Therefore if any problems arose with the quality of the flats, it was up to the builder to rectify it and they would be held liable for a period of two years.