DDA to e-auction 152 CWG units
Has taxpayer money used for the purchase of furniture for the Commonwealth Games project gone down the drain?
It was a prestigious national project, but when the Commonwealth Games Village was being readied for the games 2010, comfort-loving dogs – and not athletes – were found to be using some of the beds. And now beds – with cupboards and tables too – are at the centre of a controversy as residents, some of whom have paid huge sums to own apartments in the national project built in collaboration with Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and developer Emaar MGF, complain that furniture worth crores from the project has been simply dumped near their apartments.
“We’re now talking about smart cities and we can’t even get a smart village ready. Five years have gone by and the complex is still a work in progress. We’ve all spent on an average ₹ 2 crore and this is what we get,” many of them fume, pointing out to the huge dumping ground with furniture piled up in lots, some under sheds and others covered by tarpaulins and others left out in the open.
This is not only a breeding ground for mosquitoes but also a fire hazard. The tarpaulin sheets are extremely ugly and unappealing near the high-end apartments. “It makes the place look like a resettlement colony,” residents say.
Why the furniture has been chucked out of the village remains a mystery. If one were to assume that it cost around ₹ 2 lakh to refurbish an apartment during the Games, the entire lot of furniture for 1,168 apartments, would have then cost around ₹ 23 crore, all of it taxpayers’ money.
“All the money has gone down the drain. This is nothing but public loot. DDA could have at least asked the residents if they wanted to buy it instead of wasting money on removing and dumping it. Otherwise it should have been auctioned,” residents say.
According to Somit Makar, general secretary of the Village, DDA had removed all the furniture meant for the games lying in the apartments till date. “This is being kept in the adjacent plot and we have been told that it will be auctioned soon. The place where the furniture has been stocked will be converted into a park and we have already written to the government about this issue,” he says.
When contacted, a senior DDA official admitted it was their furniture, but denied that it cost crores. “India Tourism Development Corporation bought the furniture for the CWG Village for which it was paid ₹ 18 crore by DDA. While 50% of the furniture was given by DDA to the Sports Authority of India for its hostels across
Three years after its first auction for some of the Commonwealth Games Village apartments to “test the waters”, Delhi Development Authority is planning to hold an e-auction for its remaining 152 units.
“Right now we have 152 apartments with us. These will be e- auctioned next month. The base price for these is ₹ 3,15,320 per sq m,” says Balvinder Kumar, vice chairman, DDA.
Out of a total of 1,168 units in the Village, Emaar, the developer, sold 457 apartments. The remaining 711 were in DDA’s kitty. DDA disposed of 74 units through a tender in 2012. There were two reasons for holding the auction then – one to test the market and see “if we can attract a good response, which we did. The second was to get rid of part of our inven- tory,” says a senior official of the authority.
DDA also reserved 45 flats for its own officials. Completion certificates of 62 flats have not been received because of the FAR ( floor area ratio) issue (excess FAR had been used to build some apartments in the project). The matter has been referred to the ministry and is still pending.
The per-square-foot cost to DDA for CWG flats in 2009 was around ₹ 11,000, and the Authority sold it for ₹ 22,000 in 2012. The current value of the flats is between ₹ 18,000 per sq ft and ₹ 23,000 per sq ft depending on the location.
DDA handed over 378 flats at the Games Complex to the urban development ministry towards the cost of land provided by the ministry for the CWG Village. This leaves 152 apartments in DDA’s custody.