I am a resident of Ardee City in Sector-62, Gurugram. It is a society where 2,600 families are living under Ardee jurisdiction. There are two segments – high rise and builder floors. For five years, the builders have been charging a maintenance fee from each family. The fee that is now Rs 2,200 to 2,400 per flat, which used to be around Rs 360 -400 in 2012-13.
There was a court case going on against the builder company because there was no proper infrastructure — the roads are broken, there is no proper drainage system, no proper cleaning and no security. In such a big society, they have only 40 security guards. But for an efficient security system in an area like this, there should be ideally at least 100-120 security guards.
In 2013, the then RWA president took note of our grievances and wanted to work towards it. So, it was decided that the maintenance fee will be increased to Rs 2,000 for making better roads, good security and other facilities available. Back then, they just did some patchwork to appease the residents. After that, we continued to pay the enhanced fee but there were no matching services provided.
There is Ardee Maintenance Pvt Ltd and Ardee Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. The electricity bill used to come from Ardee Infrastructure, which has been changed to Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) because the rates were inflated and they did not have enough infrastructure to cover 2,600 families. There also used to be frequent power cuts during summers. We fought a lot because of these issues and reached out to politicians and bureaucrats. And a decision was taken, as a result of which, a couple of months ago, DHBVN took over.
Eventually, people stopped paying the maintenance fee. Thus, during the beginning of this month, in order to get back at us, the builder company cut off all the water supply in our area. We had water tanks and MCD water supply. They not only broke the pipeline joints to disconnect the water supply, they even stopped the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) water, which is illegal. For about a week, there was no water supply in the area. We were completely relying on tankers. All this was done just to harass us.
They (the builder company) acted like goons during that time. They had a bouncer or someone — who came and said ‘I am stopping the water. Do whatever you can do.’ The residents who tried to approach this person were manhandled. We complained about it to the Deputy Commissioner of Gurgaon. The MCD and police were also involved.
Finally, knowing what they did was illegal, the people from Ardee maintenance got scared and opened the knobs to re-start the water supply. But before that, when we were complaining that there is no water supply, they said, ‘The motors are not working, and since we are not receiving any maintenance fee, how do you expect us to repair it?’ Then we requested for the MCD lines to be opened. All this was intentional. I believe there was no problem with the motors.
The RWAs are taking all the measures. But in our area, the RWA has not yet been made the governing body. Everything, including all the maintenance work, is still under Ardee. Our main concern is that even after they promised proper facilities and increased the maintenance fee — there has been no proper maintenance. Collectively, we pay around 52 lakh to 3 crore every year. But even with such a huge amount also they failed to lay roads, build a proper drainage and security system.
After this incident, I feel they can do more such things to harass us, if action is not taken. Even when we were paying the maintenance fee, they did not give even 10% of the services they promised. Water is a basic necessity! How can they stop the water supply? They thought this is how they will make us pay our maintenance fee again. We are now demanding that the water bill be separated from the maintenance.
Somyo Roy is a resident of Ardee City, Sector-62, Gurugram
— As told to Shruti Das