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Mumbai BJP leader’s ‘jumla’ with flat buyers in Trump Jr.’s name!

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Mumbai, Feb 21 : Hundreds of high-net-worth flat buyers in Mumbai have accused a realty major — founded by Mumbai Bharatiya Janata Party President Mangal Prabhat Lodha — of taking them ‘for a ride after they booked posh homes at his prestigious project ‘The Park in Lower Parel, which also houses the ultra-exclusive Trump Tower.

Several complaints — copies accessed by IANS — have been filed with the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA), alleging various discrepancies and delays in the project, ostensibly in connivance with officials of the Shiv Sena-controlled Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM).

Despite repeated attempts by IANS, Lodha Group’s top officials including CEO-cum-Managing Director Abhishek Lodha and the official spokesperson, did not respond for comments.

Interestingly, the matter has emerged barely three days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to roll out the red carpet for US President Donald Trump on his visit to India from Monday.

The complainants have accused Lodha Developers — also known as “Macrotech Developers Ltd” — of luring the gullible buyers in the name of the world-renowned ‘Trump’ brand, with an unbelievable offer of a ‘private jet aircraft service’, but later ‘cheated’ them though they have paid up 95 percent of the amounts.

The agitated buyers said they were promised delivery/possession of their flats in the project in Dec. 2017, but now the builder is not giving them a completed property, as committed.

“We have sunk in crores of rupees of our hard-earned monies, but have not got possession of our flats yet. The builder has obtained a ‘Part Occupation Certificate’ by making fraudulent claims to the MCGM, and on the basis of that, he is now forcing us to take possession of those ‘incomplete flats’ after taking the full payment,” one of the aggrieved buyers, who is a prominent Mumbai businessman, told IANS.

Among other things, the interiors of the posh flats in Wing No. 1 to 4 are incomplete, finishing works not given to the staircases, lifts, lobby and the common areas, which now the buyers “are expected to do it themselves”.

Irked by all this, the buyers demanded: “How the MCGM has issued the �Part OC’ without verifying the actual ground realities? This blatant illegality must be independently probed”.

It maybe recalled that in February 2018, US President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. had made a high-profile visit to Mumbai and cut a ribbon marking completion of construction of Mumbai’s first and only 78-storied ultra-luxury’Trump Tower’.

The 800-feet tall Trump Tower offers a magnificent view of the city and the Arabian Sea, and was touted as India’s first to offer the residents the facility of a ‘private jet’ aircraft service, attracting many wide-eyed wealthy buyers. (IANS report, 22-02-2018).

The builder said that world-famous interior designer Hirsch Bedner Associates would do the interiors for the flats in Trump Tower under the �Lodha Luxury Collection’.

“We are proud to announce that Trump Tower Mumbai has reached its highest level of construction. Mumbai has emerged as one of the most preferable destinations for luxury real estate and we are honoured to have a place within the city,” said a beaming Donald Trump Jr., Executive Vice-President of Trump Organisation at the ceremony.

Despite the initial big buzz among the rich and big daddies of corporate world over the super-exclusive Rs 7 crore (3 BHK flats) and Rs 10-crore (4 BHK flats), construction of which started in 2014, the buyers are left high and dry with their monies sunk in the project.

Among other things, the flat buyers were promised — besides the ‘private jet’ — white-gloved services, a spa, a private pool, a lounge, gym, central air-conditioning, penthouses on the upper floors, Trump Card Privilege Programme, a seven-tier security system, etc.

“Not only these, we were promised many other amenities inside and outside the homes, but now the builder is going back on all this and forcing us to accept the possession of the incomplete venture based on the MCGM’s Part-OC,” claimed another flat buyer.

According to the complaints with Maha-RERA, there are many other irregularities and violations of the MCGM regulations, pertaining to the actual carpet areas, toilets, plans amended without permission of the flat buyers, and though many safety measures are not fully implemented, the customers are being compelled to take up possession based on the Part OC.

“Mumbai has witnessed many fires in high-rise buildings in recent times, resulting in many casualties and fatalities’ Who will be responsible if something happens here? Will the Trumps or Lodha compensate our losses if we take possession and live in this building under extremely hazardous conditions,” demanded one more agitated buyer.

The complainants rue that despite laws like RERA, developers merrily continue to arm-twist the home-buyers, and Lodha Developers is unilaterally claiming waiver of rights to any claims of the buyer if the buyers decides to pay up as per his demands.

This means that the buyer who has already paid up upto 95 per cent of the money is left with no options but to pay the balance out of fear of losing his entire money or the flat, given the builder’s political clout and money-power.

Incidentally, Mangal Prabhat Lodha and Abhishek Lodha are the son and grandson, respectively, of the late legal luminary and three-time BJP MP from Pali, Justice G. M. Lodha — the former Chief Justice of Guwahati High Court – who passed away 11 years ago.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected])

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Economic recovery to take at least 2-3 quarters: PE funds

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New Delhi, April 6: The situation during the ongoing COVID-19 will be grim and the recovery thereafter will also take time as private equity experts fear that more people will die from hunger than pandemic in India most people under estimating the gravity and period of impact, which at the very least will take two to three quarters.

At a private equity webinar, Shailendra Singh, Managing Director at Sequoia Capital flagged that fear that more people will die from hunger than pandemic in India.

He added that most people are under estimating gravity and the period of impact, which will be the at the very least two to three quarters.

Singh said they are asking every portfolio co to re validate the 5 critical assumptions their business hinges on. “You will be surprised that how many of them have actually changed/ could change in long run (Zivame),” he added. They have also advised companies to look at adjacent markets or alternative business models.

Singh said that economic Recovery will not start before Q3/Q4 of this financial year. Most countries will move manufacturing towards domestic markets especially in healthcare & R&D and reliance on China will go down.

Anuj Ranjan of Brookfield said that cycles are inevitable, it will come back but will take time. After 9/11, no-one thought they would ever get on a plane again. But they did and it was much stronger than before, but in 22 months. Air travel started but the security changed forever.

Ranjan added that the government right now is like an ICU doctor – keeping the economy (patient) in induced coma, till cure is found (vaccine — 2 years)

In terms of private equity it will be a will be a flight back to US and North America. Since valuations will come off significantly, PE will be less inclined to take emerging market/currency risks, when returns are good there.

Hospitality will come back, but will take time. Real estate investors will find good deals in six months and the wedding season will drive this.

Ranjan said retail will be badly hit and Brookfield expects significant bankruptcies in SME retail/mom & pop/restaurants as 6 weeks of no revenue will bankrupt them.

Consumption will come back, but in six months or more. This event has given a big push to the existing trend to e-commerce. Some malls in US died, but many are flourishing – the ones that have turned to experience centres, he added.

Kunal Shroff of Chryscapital said that risk has increased through the roof. The new deals are on hold or slow. All exits are delayed, private equity funds are focussing on portfolios just now to preserve liquidity, draw cash lines, no capex and extend the cash burn.


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52% CEOs expect job losses post lockdown: CII Survey

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New Delhi, April 5 : Around 52 per cent of top corporate bosses in India anticipate that job losses will occur after the nation-wide lockdown is lifted, according to a CII CEO Snap Poll.

The survey found that 46 per cent of the CEOs do not expect job cuts while the rest 2 per cent are not sure.

“About 52 per cent of the CEOs anticipate job losses in their respective sectors post lockdown. 47 per cent of the firms expect upto 15 per cent job losses and another 32 per cent expected 15 to 30 per cent job losses,” said the CII survey.

The survey, conducted electronically, saw a cross-country participation of close to 200 CEOs across sectors.

Further, the survey found that much of the inventory of companies is lying idle.

“About 64 per cent (inventory) is expected to be cleared in less than 30 days. However, demand will not hold good for the next 30 days and beyond,” it said.

Also, most of the firms expect revenues to fall more than 10 per cent and profits to decline more than 5 per cent in the fourth quarter of FY2019-20 and the first quarter of FY2020-21.

The CII Poll also shows that access to manpower and movement of products are the major constraints in essentials manufacture, transport and distribution.

Commenting on the survey, CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said: “The government could announce a fiscal stimulus package for the industry and implement it on fast track mode, given that the sudden imposition of the lockdown has significantly impacted industry operations and the uncertainty of a recovery threatens substantial loss of livelihoods going forward.”

Industry players and chambers have raised concerns of the economic impact of the current crisis and also sought a stimulus package from the government.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has assured that the government is working on a package for the industry and would announce its soon. She is also heading the Covid-19 economic response task force.

On March 26, Sitharaman announced an economic relief package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore for the poor and migrant workers under the Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Scheme.

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Air India operates international charter, cargo flights

Besides, the flag carrier on Saturday commenced the first cargo flight between Shanghai and Delhi.

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New Delhi, April 4 : National passenger carrier Air India on Saturday mobilised massive resources to operate international charter and cargo flights.

Accordingly, the airline repatriated stranded foreigners from India and also brought back critical medical cargo from Shanghai.

“All these flights are being operated adhering to all safety protocols laid down by the DGCA,” the airline said in a statement.

The airline is scheduled to operate 18 charter flights to fly back German, French, Irish and Canadian nationals stranded in India amid the nationwide lockdown, as requested by their respected embassies.

“While the Germans and French will be flown to Frankfurt and Paris, the other two nationalities will be taken to Heathrow in London from where Canada and Ireland (governments) would be making further travel arrangements for them,” the statement said.

“These chartered flights started from March 31 with German nationals flying to Frankfurt. Earlier, AI had ferried Israeli nationals to Tel Aviv as well in a chartered flight,” it added.

On Saturday, flights to London and Paris were being operated.

Besides, the flag carrier on Saturday commenced the first cargo flight between Shanghai and Delhi.

“A charter cargo flight was also operated between Delhi and Shanghai today to fly in vital medical cargo from China to India,” the statement said.

“Air India is also scheduled to operate some more cargo flights between Delhi and Shanghai till April 9. These flights will bring critical medical equipment to India,” it added.

The airline will also be operating cargo flights to Hong Kong.

On the domestic front, the Air India Group has been transporting essential cargo throughout the country. The airline has operated 79 cargo flights between March 26 and April 3.

The flights, being operated regularly between the metro hubs — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai — to the remote destinations of northeast and other far-flung areas of the country, are carrying medical equipment and other essential items.

Furthermore, the airline has been instrumental in rescuing stranded Indians, mainly students and pilgrims, from China, Japan and Europe.

Lauding Air India’s continued efforts in repatriating stranded foreigners, Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Civil Aviation, said in a recent LinkedIn post: “Heard from a senior Air India pilot who commanded the special flight from Mumbai to Frankfurt today that every ATC they crossed said ‘Really proud of u guys’.”

“This was a special Air India flight that flew out stranded European and Canadian citizens from Mumbai. All crew members including the pilots wore the mandatory Covid-19 coveralls for over 20 hours at a stretch (to/fro and ground time at Frankfurt). They will now remain in self-quarantine for 14 days,” he added.

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