NCDRC halts construction of new tower in Gurugram’s M3M project

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Existing homebuyers complain of deviation from project’s initial layout, poor quality construction

Existing homebuyers complain of deviation from project’s initial layout, poor quality construction

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) on Thursday ordered the developers of M3M Merlin at Sector 67 in Gurugram to immediately stop constructing an eleventh tower, saying it was not included in the initial layout plan.

The NCDRC said the developers of the project, M3M India Private Limited and Consolidate Realtors Private Limited, did not take consent of the residents of the already built 10 towers of the project before taking the approval of the Directorate of Town & Country Planning (DTCP), Haryana for changing the project layout and constructing a new tower.

Complaint by owners

Around 300 homeowners of M3M Merlin, represented by PSP Legal, stated that the site plan in the brochure mentioned only 10 standalone towers with all apartments facing central greens spanning 13.34 acres, replete with world-class amenities and offerings and use of best-in-class finishing materials in all apartments, among other things.

In 2020, the developers managed to get approval from the DTCP for the revised building plan for Tower 11 in the EWS Block of the project, the complainants said.

The initial site plan also included a low-rise Economically Weaker Section (EWS) building on one side. The homeowners said the developers later shifted the EWS housing area to another location and earmarked this land parcel for “future development”.

The commission ruled that the developers, having promised the prospective flat buyers in the brochure that the project will have only 10 towers and a low-rise EWS building on one side, cannot build an additional tower now to the detriment of the interest of the existing flat owners.

The commission said marking the area for ‘future development’ did not allow the construction of a new high-rise tower. “Going for a new tower is a clear deficiency of service in terms of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and Haryana Apartment Ownership Act, 1983,” the NCDRC ruled, while terming Tower 11 “illegal”.

Substandard construction

Advocate Aditya Parolia of PSP Legal, appearing for the homeowners, said the ‘M3M Merlin’ project was announced in 2011 and the possession of units began in 2017. Mr. Parolia said it was only after 5-6 months of taking possession that the defects in construction started coming to the knowledge of the home buyers.

Mr. Parolia said that due to substandard and poor quality materials used in the construction of apartments and buildings by the developers, the residents are facing several issues.

Taking note of the submission, the commission ordered the developers to appoint a statutory-approved architect and engineer within 15 days who will be required to submit a report within one month. The report should highlight the current status of the construction and the progress on rectification of any defects in the construction.

The home buyers also alleged that the amount collected from them towards External Development Charges (EDC) and Internal Developmental Charges (IDC) was more than what was demanded by DTCP. This allegation was, however, contested by the developers.

On this issue, the commission asked the developers to get the account of receipt and expenditure vetted by a chartered accountant within one month and return the excess fund, if any, to the complainants.

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