The Campa Cola complex controversy has highlighted how the builders in nexus with the politicians and the bureaucrats violate building by-laws and the gullible flat owners are made to suffer for no fault of theirs. And the problem is just not confined to Mumbai, but is rampant.

In fact, there are several such apartments in Gurgaon as well which do not have the mandatory “Occupancy Certificate” (OC) and violate floor area ratio (FAR) norms and the flat owners are living under the constant threat of meeting the same fate as the Campa Cola complex residents.

The most glaring example is The Residency apartments in Ardee City in Gurgaon where more than 200 families are staying in six residential towers without the mandatory OC. “As per the information accessed through RTI, the builder in the approval plan has shown an area of over 11 acres, but landlocked the apartment owners in an area of 3.5 acre and built a boundary wall around it leaving the remaining area outside complex. We have been pursuing the case, but to no avail,” said Navin Kaushik, one of the residents of The Residency and a residents’ welfare association member.

Similar is the story of over 120 families in BPTP Freedom Park Life in Sector 57. Of the nine towers in the residential complex, two do not have OC.

“The flat owners were given possession letters in 2009 and are staying there since, but without OC. When these people took possession of their flats they did not even know what OC means. Now they are running from pillar to post to get the OC, but all they get is hollow promises. They are too scared to move the court or approach media fearing that it might boomerang. No OC, therefore, no insurance. So these people have no protection against any damage to their flats,” said Monica Regan of Federation of Apartment Owners’ Association.

Also, certain towers in Uniworld Spa and Unitech Close North and South do not have the OC affecting several hundred families. “The Campa Cola controversy is a wake-up call for all those residing in group housing complexes. Every new flat owner must now ensure that his building has an OC before moving in and the existing flat owners should also find out whether their buildings have OC or not. Usually, a flat owner is content to get the registration of his flat done, but it is not enough. The OC evidences the completion of the building as per the approved plans and compliance of local laws is mandatory,” said Mr. Kaushik.

He added that the government was also to be blamed for the situation. “How come they allow conveyance deeds, charge property tax and allow electricity and water connections without the OC? The builders committing gross violations should be blacklisted and cases should be registered against them. In fact the court directed the competent authority for such an action in our case, but nothing has been done,” lamented Mr. Kaushik.

Yet not having the OC or FAR violation are not the only issues. There are all kinds of illegal things being done in Gurgaon like sale of super area, sale of parking, registration of super area, granting of OC to an incomplete complex. The case in point is DLF’s New Town Height residential complexes in Sector 86, 90 and 91. “The story of New Town Height is the opposite. The Department of Town and Country Planning (DTCP) seems to have given OC to a partially constructed complex which the DLF is unable to deliver even after eight months of receipt of OC. The state of the apartments even today shows how the OC has been given to apartments which are nowhere near completion putting the health and lives of the residents at risk,” said Nitin Grover, president New Town Heights Home Town Owners’ Association.

“Every new flat owner must now ensure that his building has an OC before moving in”