Eight years on, Moulivakkam 'ghost tower' still haunts buyers in Chennai

The razing of Supertech twin towers in Noida recently brought back the pain and agony to buyers of the Moulivakkam twin towers.

Published: 06th September 2022 03:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th September 2022 03:08 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  Living on a glimmer of hope for the last eight years after filing a case at the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in New Delhi, all the owners of Moulivakkam Twin towers have been doing is just to wait for the case to be resolved so they could at least get some compensation which they have been denied.

"Court cases take a long time but we were surprised that even consumer cases taking so long. For the last six years, only adjournments have happened with no proper hearing," says Ratna Mishra, president of Moulivakkam Trust Heights Association.

Facing a financial crunch, the flat owners association, which could not afford to file a plea in the Supreme Court in 2014, approached the NCDRC. A total of 55 buyers, who form the Moulivakkam Flat Owners Association, filed a case in 2014.

The razing of Supertech twin towers in Noida recently brought back the pain and agony to buyers of the twin towers. The first twin tower of Moulivakkam collapsed on June 28, 2014 and after nearly two-and-a-half years, the other structure was brought down by the government as it was considered unsafe in November 2016.

Ratna says the home buyers at Supertech are better placed than those at Moulivakkam. Supertech, which had collected nearly `180 crore from homebuyers, has been directed by the Supreme Court to refund the homebuyers' deposit with an interest of 12%. But in the case of Moulivakkam, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

The Raghupathy Commission, which was formed under the Commission of Inquiry Act 1952 to look into the collapse of the building in Moulivakkam, in its recommendation has suggested that the government may form a committee so that the loss resulted to the individuals who booked the flats may be assessed and the government may fix compensation. But the then government rejected the recommendation.

"Chief Minister MK Stalin, who was then in the opposition, approached the Supreme Court and stressed the need to compensate the buyers. Now with the DMK government at the helm, we hope to be compensated. We have sent several letters to the State in this regard," says Anirudh Pratipathi, one of the buyers.

"It is claimed that demolition of Supertech twin towers will send a strong message to builders that such incidents do not recur. How about those who have already suffered. We are unable to move on from our past," says Ratna Mishra.

The buyers are caught between the devil and the deep sea. On one side, the buyers have lost their savings, and on the other, they have a liability to banks towards the loan taken. After failing to pay their EMIs, the flat owners of the 'ghost buildings' were haunted by the Debt Recovery Tribunal. Some have settled, and for others, the battle continues.

Ramamoorthy, a former government official, says the flat owners want the land to be sold so they can at least get some compensation. Currently, the land is in the possession of the developer. Association of Professional Town Planners president KM Sadanand says the government should compensate the buyers by either acquiring the land to build Tamil Nadu Housing Board flats and providing the buyers a flat each as compensation, or providing them money.


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