Bottom Line: There are many question marks over NEFOWA as a legitimate association of homebuyers and it is time they answer it to come out clean before stakeholders. Ravi Sinha writes an open letter.
I am, hereby, resisting the customary greetings with writing ‘Dear NEFOWA’ as I am not sure whether such respectable address should decorate you. However, I am writing this letter both as a real estate journalist as well as a stakeholder of Noida Extension where I have also invested as a homebuyer.
I feel it is my professional and social obligation to raise some issues and point to the grey zones to help other gullible homebuyers who might be having trust left with this association. Many others have already lost trust after finding hidden motives and bullying tactics of the core team after their clarion call to fight for the rights of homebuyers. Many of them even allege this buyer association to be proxy of the builders and taking brief from them.
However, there are good number of gullible homebuyers who even today think it is a voluntary organization and would fight for their rights. You often pick up the fight by taking the lead, often uninvited and obtrusive. The demand for money follows thereafter and then the war is lost even before the battle is on. The builder laughs his way all through.
Let me admit here that in the beginning I also made the mistake of assuming that it is a voluntary association of the homebuyers to fight out the erring builders collectively. But, of late, I have reasons to believe that there is more than what meets the eyes as far as the shady functioning of NEFOWA is concerned.
A number of buyers publicly blame NEFOWA for hobnobbing with Supertech and sabotaging their fight. The complaints are serious since these buyers at Supertech Eco Village allege the association pocketed the money to fight with the builder and then manipulated these buyers to sign the dotted lines of the builder.
In the compromise deal brokered by your association the builder was allowed to add extra FAR with the written consent of the buyers. But the buyers in return did not get the possession as promised.
My apprehensions are hence not without valid reasons. In the last few months I am closely monitoring the method into the madness of this alleged homebuyers’ association. You guys have also done well to manage the media, even though I turned out to be an exception. It is indeed interesting to note that whenever I hit out through my stories to certain select builders in this market the admins of NEFOWA Group on Facebook remove me from the Group without any rhyme or reason.
This suspicious removal of a real estate journalist who has the credentials of exposing the wrong doings of the builders is also in contravention to NEFOWA’s stated policy doctrine on the website that says, “NEFOWA is made for the betterment of Flat Buyers …..not for Real Estate Agents and Builder Agents… All members are on same platform. There is no discrimination among the members. Every member are being treated as friend and as future neighbours. We are here not just for our common goal i.e. our Home, but also for the sake of better relationship among the neighbours.”
On first occasion, I thought my removal to be inadvertent and joined the Group second time where I was asked to give my full introduction and contact details for some strange reasons. The demand has been unusual for a Facebook Group where I personally know a number of members who have absolutely nothing to do with Noida Extension but they are there only for gossips. Needless to add, many such members in the Facebook Group have never been asked to provide their contact details.
And here you have someone who is a stakeholder, both from media standpoint as well as the homebuyer in the given market. Still, I gave the association a benefit of doubt. However, within a couple of weeks I was again removed from the Group after my expose against certain builders of Noida Extension. It seems there are vested interests within NEFOWA who get their orders from these builders’ offices about the urgency to keep problematic journalist like me at a safe distance.
I am conscious of the fact that some of the shady builders in Noida Extension are pretty disturbed with my expose every now and then. But why are the core team members of NEFOWA so perturbed? Are they working on behalf of these builders to infiltrate among the homebuyers with holier-than-thou gesture to convince & confuse them?
I have a few questions to ask the team NEFOWA:
Q. What is the registered legal position of NEFOWA?
Q. If it is an association where elections are due mandatory process then how is the association into the pockets of a few members only?
Q. What is the source of earning for major faces of NEFOWA?
Q. Is NEFOWA the source of livelihood for its core members?
Q. What is your legal locus standi to ask for money to fight on behalf of homebuyers?
Q. Is it ethical on your part to broker deals with builders and convince the buyers to sign the dotted lines of builder?
Q. After collecting money with homebuyers for so many years now, how many cases have you won where the contributing homebuyers have got the possession?
Q. If the accounts of NEFOWA are clean then why is an audited financial statement not uploaded online for every contributor to see?
Q. A number of victims of NEFOWA have published their grievances online in various forums. Why is NEFOWA silent on that?
These questions are just tip of the iceberg. The malaise appears to be deep rooted in this alleged homebuyers’ association. A perception has gained ground in Noida Extension that if one seeks the help of NEFOWA in a society, the apartment owners lose out collectively after the initial protests and media show offs.
Easing the frustration of buyers and then not channelizing it to its logical end makes the association look suspicious. Pocketing money and then not fighting the battle to its logical conclusion is definitely not the purpose of a buyer association. Nor is it fair to not be transparent with expenses where the real victims are the contributing homebuyers.
An association that represents the case of harassed homebuyers and collects money with them without any accountability or transparency is definitely not a voluntary association or social cause. It is pure business of crooked minds that understands the ground reality of the market where a large number of homebuyers are physically not present after having invested into one or the other projects.
Will NEFOWA please explain now as to why it should be taken seriously as a legitimate homebuyers’ association? Will they respond to the above questions being raised? Will they justify why it is a pocket association of few vested interests? You better explain it now or be ready for more future expose.
A critic journalist