What would you do if you buy a flat worth Rs 6-7 cr of market value in one of the prime real estate markets of Delhi, but end up having a peepal tree hollowing its foundation? What would you do if that humble tree is weakening your ceiling so much that it abruptly falls down and all you can do is hope for help that never comes.
This is not fiction but a strange but harsh reality at Delhi's upscale Asiad Village, where a tree has unleashed such havoc that the Prime Minister's Office had to step in.
Retired IRS officer Ajay Agnihotri is one of the 80-odd occupants who bought flats in this largely government-owned prime housing society. But Agnihotri has been running from pillar to post, even knocking the doors of the Prime Minister's Office twice, all for a tree coming out of a flat whose occupant - the MTNL, has kept the property closed for years, claims the senior citizen.
"At the fag end of the last year, a tree coming out of the roof whose roots were connected to the flat owned by MTNL, which keeps its flat locked, had reached our house. After complaining to RWA and the Telecom Ministry could not yield any result, I had to knock at the PMO's doors. I had no option as the RWA did not have the authority and we did not have the keys. However, after reaching out to the PMO, within 24 hours, people came and the tree was removed," he tells IANS.
But the repair work was shoddy, he alleged as recently another 25-feet peepul tree, much bigger than the previous one, was spotted. This one too has its roots in the same locked MTNL flat, claims Agnihotri, as he narrated his ordeal to IANS.
"Last time, after my complaint to the PMO, when engineers came, they gave me a number to contact for any further problems. They have never answered it since. Now there is a bigger tree. It has cost my ceiling," he complains.
Agnihotri claimed the ceiling of his multi-crore rupees flat was compromised recently which he suspects was because of the deep roots of the peepal tree and water collected inside the locked MTNL flat. "I have also sent photos of the tree to the MTNL CMD, but to no avail," he claims.
With the RWA's hands tied, the government occupant missing, this senior citizen wonders whether knocking at doors of PMO, for the sake of uprooting a tree, is his only option. "But the issue is now even bigger. The MTNL claims they are running into losses while they have 5 flats here whose market value is expected to be Rs 35 crore. Yet all of them are kept locked. The CAG should audit their assets," the retired government official says.
Personally Agnihotri's tree problem is back to square one. With neither the ministry listening to him, nor the RWA authorised to act, he is staring at his posh real estate being hollowed by the roots of a 25-feet long tree in the heart of South Delhi's posh Asiad Village.