Protesters outside Kolkata West International City on Tuesday. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Around 250 people who have invested in Kolkata West International City (KWIC) held a protest at the project site on Tuesday against the delay in handing them their properties.
The KWIC, off the Kona Expressway in Howrah, was once marketed as a township of international standards and is being developed by Prasoon Mukherjee’s Universal Success Enterprise.
“The developers have missed at least four deadlines since 2008 and are yet to tell us when we would be given our properties. They have taken almost the entire amount but not even half the work in Phase I is complete,” said Abhay Upadhyay, the president of the KWIC Buyers’ Welfare Association.
“We are demanding that Prasoon Mukherjee meet us and give us a deadline for the completion of the project.... Of the 900-odd investors in Phase I, barely 100 have been handed their properties,” Upadhyay added.
An official of the promoting company, who refused to be identified, said Mukherjee would meet the investors on October 7.
Donning white caps with the words “KWIC victim” written over them, the protesters had first gathered in front of the gate of the project and later marched through the unfinished township.
The project was unveiled in 2006 by then chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. It was to be developed by Kolkata West International City Private Limited, a consortium comprising Universal Success Enterprise and the Indonesia-based Salim and Ciputra groups.
The CMDA had acquired a 390-acre plot off the Kona Expressway and handed it over to the consortium the same year. The first phase of the project, spread across 82 acres, was to comprise 900 row houses and villas, to be handed over to the investors by 2008. The properties were priced between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 80 lakh.
“Each of us paid the promoters 80-100 per cent of the price... but were shocked to learn that Phase I was not even half-complete even a few months before the deadline. The Ciputra and Salim groups left the consortium around then,” said Dinesh Agarwal, an investor and an executive member of the association.
The members also alleged that the 508 properties that have been granted completion certificates were far from complete. “In most cases the dwelling units are not even 80 per cent complete. The walls are damp and have developed cracks. Sub-standard furnishings have been used,” said Kavita Ramani, an investor.
The investors claim that Mukherjee refused to meet them in the four years they have been locked in a battle with the developers.
“His representatives give various excuses, such as rain and puja,” said Upadhyay. “In June 2011, we had staged a dharna in front of the Chowringhee Court office of the company. The office has been closed since.”