Supertech Livingston residents protest builder's unannounced hike in charges

By Abid Hussain Barlaskar
Photo: Texasnodepositelectricity.com
Posted: Aug 13, 2017

Residents of Supertech Livingtson, a residential society in Crossings Republik, Ghaziabad, conducted a protest against Supertech Ltd, the builder, for increasing the society's maintenance charges without their consent. The protest took place in front of the society today. 

Although the society has an Apartment Owners Association (AOA), the society is maintained by the builder. According to the residents, the builder without any prior discussion or a meeting with residents has increased the monthly maintenance charge from Rs 1.50 per sqft to Rs 2.00 per sqft. They were unhappy that the builder had clubbed maintenance and electricity charges. The charges are now collected via pre-paid electricity meters that automatically deduct the monthly charges at a fixed date every month since July 1.

In a memorandum submitted to the Ghaziabad District Magistrate Minsthy S, residents have opposed the builder's “unannounced” move and expressed apprehension living under the constant worry of their electricity connection getting disconnected due to the prepaid meters.

"The builder, just put up a notice on July 24 and increased the charges a few weeks later," said a resident of the society. "The builder also did not ask for our consent before clubbing the maintenance charges with prepaid electricity meters. This will directly increase the maintenance expenses by a huge amount."

However, according to an order issued by Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) in January 2016, use of prepaid meters for the deduction of any other charges except electricity charges is illegal and cannot be imposed.

Residents of the society also complained against improper maintenance services in the society and cited multiple issues such as lack of a completion certificate, waterlogging after rains, under-construction towers, inferior security along with malfunctioning lifts. "If the builder would have provided proper services, the charges would have been justified. We wouldn’t mind paying the increased maintenance charges, but the society maintenance is not up to the mark and the builder is trying to coerce more money," said Kuldeep Dubey, another resident.

However, representatives of the builder told City Spidey that residents were paying the previous maintenance charges of Rs 1.50/sqft since January 2015, which continued till July 1, 2017, thus running the maintenance of the society into losses. "They are irregular in paying the maintenance charges every month. Some of them pay the maintenance expenses in one go, after 3-4 months. We are running in loss for the past two years. How do they expect us to give them proper maintenance with such low charges and in today's time of inflation?" said Rajeev Singh, estate manage of the society appointed by the builder.

The residents claimed that if the practice of deducting maintenance charges from the prepaid meters regularises, none of the residents will be able to demand better maintenance services from the builder anymore. "This practice will give builder the upperhand of increasing the maintenance charges as and when they like and we will have to abide by it," said a resident.

"If they do not pay the charges every year, I cannot keep bearing the losses forever, because the monthly expenses of the society and the salaries of the employees do not wait and are paid every month. We stll have a lump sum amount of Rs 77 lakh in pending payments," added Singh.

When asked about the intruduction of prepaid meters, Singh said it was the standard procedure maintained in almost all the societies. “If it is illegal, the government departments should enforce it everywhere. Not only builders, RWAs also follow same practice,” he further said.

TAGS: Supertech Livingtson / Crossings Republik / Ghaziabad / Maintenance charges