Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hiranandani upscale builders, Chennai

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Hiranandani Realtors, when they came to Chennai announcing their township on the prestigious OMR Road in Egattur, people in Chennai were thrilled and rushed to book themselves a flat or at least to enquire about it!  Some of them had seen the project of the builder in Powai, Mumbai and other places.

As usual, when the customer approaches,  the builder offers only those flats which will find the least preference amongst the buyers and the flats that you want seriously comes with a premium on one pretext or the other saying its East facing or corner one or facing sea or facing club house etc..

Somehow, you want to be a part of this "considered Prestigious" group and settle for one that suits your requirements or in other words the apartment is thrust ed upon you by the young, charming sales group of the builder!
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Everything is charged upfront by the builder saying that the facility that will be created will be like magic kingdom that will be world class!  You are robbed upfront for the club house, corpus fund, advance maintenance for 18 months at a pre determined high rate etc..  The construction agreement is so cunningly designed that you fail to read in between lines and forced to sign on dotted lines just in an enthusiasm to be part of this "prestigious living"?  you have no choice either!  You end up paying a neat Rs 25000/- towards advocate charges as well for signing on an agreement that is well prepared in favour of the builder, line by line binding us to forgo even the undivided share of property in the common area which normally belongs to the owner!  You are assured of copious ground water supply citing the lake in the back ground that keeps recharging the water table and reassured of ever lasting water supply.  The promise of fresh air is one thing that they are unable to cheat and thanks to mother nature!  Very cleverly, the builder erects boundaries concealing the crematorium that is hidden behind the structures to which the villagers around have an access and which can not be objected by the residents or the builder!  It is said that atleast there is one or two cremations everyday in this facility thats is adjoining the Hiranandani school and within the boundaries of living.
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The building is ready for possession after a delay of nearly 18 months and when you ask for compensation for the delay in handing over, the staff promptly points out reasons such as recession in Economy, strike in some steel or cement plant, floods, fire, change in political scenario and everything that happened in the country because of which the building process slowed down!  On the other hand, they rightfully charge overdue interest on delayed EMI payments made by you.  If you resist or object, the property is not handed over and having spent several lacs through your nose, you deem it fit to at least take possession of the flat despite certain loss of capital thinking the value will appreciate sooner than later!

The Economy slides into recession mode and a family dispute between the brother and the sister of Hiranandani becomes inevitable and the project becomes an orphan with promoters  trying to milch everything that is possible out of the available resources.  The best way to generate more income is to squeeze the residents to pay more and more for the amenities which falls within the ambit of maintenance!  Hiranandani says that the club house charges are mainly for building the club house and if you want to utilise then you have to pay monthly maintenance over and above the general maintenance charged!  The corpus fund is not for the benefit of residents but for maintaining peripheral roads that goes within the complex!  The swimming pool subscription is payable on yearly basis in advance.  The story is endless and the residents are forced to face a war like situation.
Some people with guts and will to fight the builder have joined and formed individual associations for each tower and trying to contain or minimise the maintenance charges for the benefit of residents.
The builder wanted a whooping Rs4.50 /sq ft towards maintenance where as the association have fixed a private agency for RS 3.50/sq ft.  On hearing that the residents have decided to form their own association, the builder indulged in cheap tricks such as switching off the lifts by sabotage that left the top floor occupants high and dry!  The gen sets and other motors to pump water are in bad condition and requires AMC to function.  There is absolutely no water supply and requirements are bought through water tankers every day.  These are some of the several hardships caused and created by the so called reputed group of Hiranandani Realtors!

The association is contemplating to file suit against the builder for all such violations and hardships caused to the residents and creating hurdles for a smooth transition for control.  So much so that even the common area that is supposed to be part of undivided share of land for the owners is not given and eaten away by the builder.  The owner is now entitled only for the undivided share of his plinth area of the flat which is legally not right.  The worst part is that the Hiranandani school management have dismissed some teachers just because they happened to be part of  association formed by the residents revolting against the builders who are trying to arm twist the residents to cough up more and more for every facility and maintenance.

This blog is created only with a view to educate innocent investors wanting to invest in High rise buildings and particularly in Hiranandani upscale who are constantly advertising for their new upcoming projects in the same vicinity.  I appeal to all those people not to fall prey to such allurements and be matured enough to tackle things and understand the same clearly before entering into such agreements with such so called reputed builders, be it Chennai or in any part of the country.

I appeal to the Urban development Ministry to form guidelines for such building and construction activities bearing in mind the middle class investor or buyer who dumps all his money and takes home loan just to have Good living but ends up shattered with such happenings that's real in this realty sector!


Friday, August 29, 2014

Mugging /way laying in the heart of Kualalumpur


I and my wife decided to take a short break and decided to go to Kualalumpur. Air Asia was giving cheap tickets to travel and we rightly thought of using the same. On 20th August, 2014 around 2.45 pm,  We checked ourselves in Sunway Putra Hotel, 100 Jalan Putra which is supposed to be the heart of the city and adjoining PWTC metro station which was convenient to travel economically and faster.

We decided to go for some sight seeing and shopping, after a cup of self made tea and took the Metro to "Sogo" which was just 2 stations away from Jalan Putra PWTC station. We spent some good time going around the shopping area and bought a few clothes from Sogo.  We returned the same way by taking a Metro train and got down at PWTC around 7.40 pm.

The Hotel is just next door as you get down the ramp of the Metro station.  The Mall is under renovation and re construction and as such only a small narrow passage of the hotel is open for public because of which there is hardly any traffic flow into the hotel or coming out of it. The place is isolated.

As I was walking towards the Hotel that had barricaded the entire area with enclosures and kept only a small narrow entrance to the Hotel steps, a car suddenly pulled up and a man who could be in his early 30s peeped out of the window in the front and called me with a paper in his hand.  I thought he was asking for some address, like people ask in India, and went near his car to tell him that I am a Tourist on visit, when he pushed himself back into the car and showed me an Identity card that had a caption "Police" and talked to me very rudely and with authority saying that he was a secret police and that he was looking for some drug peddlers and fake currency racket.  He further asked me if I was an Indian or a Pakistani to which I replied that I am an Indian tourist.  With rudeness and scant respect in his voice he asked me where I was staying?  I showed him the hotel right behind me(Sunway Putra) and told him that he could come with me to the hotel and verify.  He was so impolite and rude that he asked me to show my shopping bag which he smelled and returned back after scrutiny.  Next he asked me to show my purse and I promptly gave him my purse from the pocket without realising the fact that I was mesmerised by then and forced to follow his diktats.  My wife says that she even warned me not to give the purse to him but I did not pay heed to her warnings at all as I was under his control.  He scrutinised my purse and asked me if I was carrying any more cash and asked me to turn around and show my other pockets which I obeyed.  There were some more currency which was distributed in other pockets which I normally do when I go abroad just to escape pick-pockets.  The young looking man then asked my wife as to what was she carrying in her clutch and examined them too.  He gave back the purse and clutch after examining and smelling them like a sniffer dog for drugs and gave it back to me.  He said that he was doing all this for the sake of protection to tourists which, in turn, will protect them and sped past.  I was dazed and shell shocked and probably mesmerised by the man who showed some voodoo looking Identity card that had "Police" written on it.  He showed the card at least twice to me just to keep me under the cloud of mesmerising.  In the whole process, I lost all my money including 4x1000 Indian rupees.

The security guard of the hotel who was barely 30 ft away was not to be seen at all.  we complained to the Manager of the hotel situated on the 9th floor about the incident.  He immediately brought his General Manager and a couple of security men of the hotel and sympathised with us for the loss.  The GM who was also a Tamil offered to send his Manager along with the hotel car to the police if we wanted to lodge a complaint but also admonished us saying that it may take up to 5 hours at the station to finish the formalities and that we could be summoned by the police for further investigation in the following days too, meaning our so called holiday would be ruined.  He further said that Malaysian Police would always come in the Police car and never in Private vehicles. I told him to display an exhibit in the Hotel Lobby for the benefit of Tourists suggesting dos and dont's.

As a matter of consolation, the Hotel staff changed our room by upgrading it to an expensive suite without charges and also sent fruit bowl with compliments from the hotel just to wean us away from the trauma and shock resulting out of this incident.

What intrigues me is the fact that when the hotel is under renovation and when there is no public activity, why should the hotel sell their rooms to innocent tourists?  Even if they sell, should they not inform the tourists that the hotel is under renovation and also warn about possible way laying or mugging by disgruntled elements.  The hotel staff also were of the opinion that such incidents were on the increase in Kualalumpur and possibly planned and executed by some anti social disgruntled elements.  We were totally dis- illusion ed and shattered to learn about these developments and vowed never to go to Malaysia ever. Malaysian government must ensure adequate Protection to incoming tourists and keep them educated about such impostors and way laying by anti social elements lest they loose out on tourism which is already on the decline due to twin  disasters that occurred for MH airlines in the recent past.

All those Indian tourists who wish to go to Kualalumpur are hereby warned that such an incident could happen to them too and be  advised never to part groups and stay together and never pay heed to anyone asking for any help or direction lest you would be robbed and made poorer.  I am still trying to recover from this incident and nightmare and it will be quite some time for it to come to normalcy.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Chennai Airport- Taxi service_ Aviation Express!

I and my wife returned from a short trip abroad landed at the Chennai International Airport early in the morning @2.30 hrs.  After a wait of nearly an hour our baggage arrived and we went to the Aviation Express counter situated right outside the arrival hall and paid a flat sum of RS 700/- to go to our house in Besant Nagar, a distance of say about 15 kms.

The Aviation Express staff took us to ta waiting Taxi bearing no 4307(Tavera) and woke up the driver who was fast asleep inside the car!  The driver looked at us with kind of disgust for waking him up at such early hours and opened the boot without even moving an inch! We began our tiring journey back home.  We realised that the Taxi driver had not switched on the A/c due to which we felt suffocated and requested the driver to switch on the A/c.  With reluctance he turned the A/c knob into position no 1 which meant low e flow of cold air which was insufficient for us as the weather was very humid.  When we requested the driver to increase the A/c power, he snubbed at us saying the A/c is already on!!  We told him that it was insufficient for us and again requested him to increase the power and the knob position.  He obliged doing that but in turn, pulled his windows down and started to put his neck out and made some unusual breathing sounds which was little scary and suspicious.  I asked him as to what was he up to?  He replied that he was in deep sleep and that we woke him up!  He was trying to take deep breathe and ward off sleep by sticking his neck out of the window and get fresh air!  We were  quite astonished with his behaviour and kept our cool.
We reached home around 4.10 am and the driver was unfriendly even to take out our luggage and put them down.

After we removed all our luggage, the driver stood there staring at us and demanded that we tip him for having disturbed his sleep in the wee hours!  I explained to him the situation and if only he had behaved well and helped us, he would have been richer by our tips.  He snared at us and banged his door and with a screech, he started his car and vanished from the scene!

This is the behaviour of most of the Taxi and Auto drivers in Chennai and they have no respect for the jobs that they do or the customers who engage them. Its really frightening and sad that Chennai that is known for its hospitality and friendliness has come to see this day.  How can one feel happy with this kind of attitude and behaviour from the transport drivers who do not understand their responsibility and respect for the job that they are doing?  The entire happiness that you would have derived from out of the trip would be nullified and negated with this kind of welcome that you get in the city.

Through this blog I wish to alert the appropriate authorities and the owners of the Taxi services all over the State to take a note of this seriously as otherwise they would not be able to stand in competition that is inevitable!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bengaluru to Chennai- a journey by Brindavan Express

I and my wife booked ourselves for travel to Chennai on the 6th December by Brindavan Express A/c Chair car and accordingly, we boarded the train at Krishnaraja puram that was close to where I stayed.  I had travelled by this train years back and expected the same picture of the train and the journey.  I was little disappointed to see a different picture of the once beautiful train that was considered a pride to travel?
Brindavan Exp
The interiors of the train had diminished in its glory with passage of time and presented an old dirty look.  The window curtains wore a beggary look and adding to the woes the noise that the catering staff made inside the compartment was something unbearable.  The loud calls of Dosa/samosa and chai that rented the air reminded me of the early morning time in Sabarimala when people stood in line to have the holy glimpse of the almighty Lord Ayyappa ranting and chanting the sacred "swamiye Saranam Ayyappa"!  The only difference was the chant at the hills of sabarimala was blissful whereas the rants made by the not decently dressed catering staff was like hell!!  Each time a staff passed by, his tray or his sides brushed with the passenger sitting on the aisle and often woke up  the passenger and prevented him/her from going to slumber!!  This was unabated as eatables, one after the other, were coming in with a loud announcement that echoed within the compartment throughout the journey!  The railway staff had their role to play and probably enjoyed some free perks for helping the caterers.  The A/c effect was so strong and severe in the first 2 hours of journey that I pulled my jacket from the back-pack and wore it to feel comfortable and I could see many passengers shivering in cold.  Now, this helped the railway catering to increase their sale of coffee/tea and hot vadas and samosas in the first couple of hours of journey!  Is there any written rule that the attendant has to follow and  maintain an uniform temperature within the compartment- god knows??

The Bangarpet station witnessed several railway staff forging themselves into the A/c compartment and keeping their bags and suitcases amidst the regular passengers while opting out to stand outside the air conditioned compartment in between the entrance and the toilets!  The Railway staff were seen smoking in the corridors on either sides and the smell of cigarette and smoke often pierced the nose of those sitting inside the compartment whenever someone opened the door to use the toilet.  The place just outside the toilets were being used by Beggars and other handicapped who travelled without tickets and the T T E who is supposed to check such unauthorised entries of people was oblivious to this happening!  While some staff got down at Kuppam, some continued their journey to jolarpettai and vaniyambadi.  The staff sat on the seats that were empty and often joined by other staff members for a chit-chat, standing on the way in groups and blocking the way for the passengers.  There was absolutely no check on this misuse of privilege and causing inconvenience to the other genuine passengers.  I wonder if the railway staff are allowed to use A/c coach for their daily routine travel even if they are on official duties?

The roughly 6 hours journey was a nightmare and the experience would make me shudder even to think of travel by this train which once carried a label of respect!

Even the stations en route had stories to tell about the abuse of its walls with graffiti painted by various trade unions of the railways for their election campaign.  It presented a horrible look everywhere when you see SRMU/RMS/ and other names in bold, eye soaring sizes staring at you whenever your train entered a Station during the travel.  Its time that the Railway unions contain themselves and resort to clean voting and canvassing procedures without damaging the otherwise presentable looks of Railway property walls!

The entrance and sale of eatables by vendors must be restricted for a pleasant journey and one must be allowed to close his eyes for a while and allowed to rest in peaceful atmosphere without any noises or disturbances from the Railway catering and also the Staff of the Railways?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Gravity


The Pre-Diwali interest to keep ourselves amused and entertained took us to the Phoenix Mall in Bangalore where Gravity was being screened.  Unlike Chennai where getting tickets on the spot is almost impossible, Bangalore is dependable and watching a movie as per your desire is possible!  The 3D glasses were distributed as you entered the hall to give you more realistic view of the movie and the shoot.



The movie starts with the breath taking view of the outer space where Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are repairing certain parts of the American Space Station and talking in lighter vein until the ground station warns them of a high speed debris travelling at great speed out of a Russian Satellite that met with disaster.



Before any realisation, the debris strike the space ship and wreaks havoc creating moments of anxiety and nudging everyone to the edge of the seat!  The space situations are extremely realistic and well taken to understand the practical difficulties that these astronauts face every time they are up in the sky!  One realises that Bus depots on earth, space also has several depots of Space Stations sent up by various super powers!



The 3D effects are so realistic that you duck sometimes facing the high velocity objects out of the debris flying past your sides creating spine chilling effects!


The rest of the movie shows the lone woman Ryan Stone fighting a lone battle for surviving in the outer space and trying to reach Mother earth.  The outer space journey from one space station to the other is made very interesting and portrays the grit and determination of the character to fight against all odds following survival instincts. The film has been taken nicely and the space captured and described effectively to the film-goers.
One wonders as to how the fuel tank in the Amercian Space shuttle is empty when the astronauts are trying to escape?  Despite some small drawbacks, the film is sure to be a popular hit amongst the masses who are inquisitive to know about the outer space and its atmosphere.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

stray dogs menace

Members of Environment Monitoring and Action initiating were witness to an attack on a purple swamphen. Photo: Special Arrangement
Birds in the Pallikaranai marshland are facing a new form of threat — stray dogs.
Naturalists say a pack of about 10 stray dogs frequently enter the marshland and devour the birds found among the reeds.  Environment specialists are aghast to understand this behaviour of stray dogs to wade through water and hunt in groups!   If this continues, very soon Palnikaranai marsh land will no longer attract migratory birds and the nature will stand destroyed.
A few months back, stray dogs in groups had hunted a Deer and made a feast right in the back yard of the Governor's bungalow in Guindy!  There are news about the stray dogs attacking the Peacock, our National Bird right within the Governor's campus and elsewhere in the state.  These dogs turn into hunters  and once taste the meat of Deers and peacocks, will eventually start attacking humans in the coming days? There was a news item recently about a boy playing cricket with his friends  going to pick the ball from the waste dump yard in Perungudi, being attacked by dog looking animals which eventually turned out to be the dreaded Jackals!  Luckily, hearing the loud cries of the boy, his friends came to his rescue with the cricket bats and other accessories and rescued the boy from being butchered by the Jackals! The civic authorities should act now and adopt a program by which they eradicate all the stray animals loitering on the streets and enforce a strict law of enrolling the pets and collect a fee so as to fund the program by itself.  
similarly, the much prestigious Old Mahabalipuram Road to connect the IT hub was inaugurated with such fanfare a few years back only to see all kinds of cattle freely roaming on the road and even blocking the roads right in the centre despite the government collecting a toll tax for using the express way!!
Elliots Beach                                      
The Besant Nagar beach better known as Elliot's Beach is no better when you talk about these stray dogs and beggars making your life miserable!  The stray dogs numbering a few hundreds all over the beach keep Cris-crossing the beach walkers and berth themselves on the granite platform meant for seating the beach goers and specially the elders!  There is no guarantee that you will find a neat and clean place to sit as suddenly you will find a stray, infected dog sitting next to you?  I have personally had the experience of sitting on the platform, facing east and doing breathing exercise while closing my eyes... and when i open my eyes after deep inhaling and breathing for about 10 minutes, I find a Beggar right in front of my face, imposing that sends shivers across my body as I did not intend to see the beggar but the rising Sun!! The entire process of healing your body with meditation and breathing gets off the road with such incidents happening on a daily basis!
I visited Dubai recently and stayed there for about 10 days with my son and daughter-in-law.  I was awestruck to note the development the state had made in the last 20 years!  The Emirates claim that there was only one tall rise building in the year 1991 and stands at 999 buildings as of date!!  This is what you term as development.  The roads that have been built right across the desert is worth all praises.  The power produced through Thermal process is amazing and the drinking water supplied is by desalination plants.  The milk is being imported from Saudi and for that matter all the food stuff and other materials are imported from countries all over the globe!  Dubai is only a trading centre and not  an oil producing state to have advanced and developed in such a fast manner!  Amongst the best of best things, you really can not find any stray dog or even a camel for that matter!  The time of my visit coincided with Eid.  I did not see any butchery or goats hanging out of trucks or from the back of a 2 wheeler!  No signs of any killing or blood could be seen and everything was at peace and absolute tranquil.  
Our country must have a uniform system for allowing pets and other cattle which must be monitored strictly and carry out mercy killing of stray animals in order to save humanity which is at peril looking at the way the dogs are evolving into flesh/meat eaters?
The civic authority should de-recognise any body that supports these stray animals and stop their activities terming it as anti-human.  Let us wake up and not allow these pet animals from becoming meat eaters and eventually man-eaters!!??

Saturday, October 12, 2013

International airport @ Chennai

The moods were happy for me and my wife in the sense that we were about to take an International flight to Dubai to be with my son Pushkar and daughter-in-law Taruna!  My older son Capt Neeraj gave us a staff ticket to travel and thrill was all the more as the departure was from the new International terminal that was recently inaugurated at Chennai.

As scheduled, We took a cab at 5.00 in the morning and were at the airport at 5.30am.  The check in took hardly anytime and we were through the immigration and taken to the departure hall at level 2 of the international airport.  The huge, sprawling size and area of the terminal made us look at everything in awe and astonishment!  We were seated in the new row of chairs that looked neat and clean except for the dustbins kept at regular intervals which did not have proper lids and attracted small flying insects in plenty defeating the basic word of cleanliness that counts for gradation of the airport to match international standards.

Soon, a representative of the Indigo airlines came and told us that the flight will depart from gate no 14 and held out her hand like a traffic police showing the directions to reach there.  We followed  the crowd booked by the same airlines and after a brief walk through the new corridor, We were asked to take the lift to reach the 1st floor level and again walked for sometime only to realise that we were walking through the old terminal and the environment was very familiar and nothing new?  The security area had been removed as the screening was done at the new terminal itself.  The same seating arrangements and the same procedure of entry through the old Aero-bridge left an element of doubt about the way the airport authority boast of having made this new International Airport.  The new International airport must necessarily be new for the passengers and they must not be deceived by showcasing the new one and making them experience the old?  It is like the old saying"old wine in a new bottle"!!

The Airport authority should not charge the new levies and taxes meant for the new terminal if the passengers are to be routed through the old terminal at the airport.  The passengers were at inconvenience and discomfort to have entered through the newly constructed building/terminal only to end up walking and walking to reach the old terminal and take a flight from there by paying more taxes and levies!!

This can happen only in India where the Government does not really care for the citizens and do whatever they feel like without any obstruction.