The Lodha group is busy advertising its project ‘Lodha Aqua’, a luxurious residential project near Dahisar (a Mumbai suburb). According to an advertisement published in a newspaper, the Lodha group claims that it will provide two swimming pools, a clubhouse with a waterfront café and 10 acres of waterscape in its project. But how will the developer provide water for these facilities, in face of the 30% water cut imposed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) since July 2009?
The ‘Lodha Aqua’ project was launched in 2007. On the first day of the launch, the group claimed that it managed to sell approximately 300 units at Rs5,850 per sq ft for a two bedroom, hall & kitchen (BHK) covering an area of 1,017 sq ft and a three BHK at Rs1,395 per sq ft (for an area of 1,395 sq ft). In December 2009, the group jacked up the price for the project to Rs6,399 per sq ft.
Earlier, the project had three towers—Pacifis, Atlantis and Artica. Now the developer has added one more tower named Antarctica. The project was supposed to have been completed by March 2009, but now according to the draft red herring prospectus filed by the Lodha group in September 2009, the project will be completed by June 2010.
If the developer has already sold 300 units on the first day of the launch three years back, why is the company spending so much on advertising? The group is busy coming out with full-page advertisements and is booking prime advertising time on various channels to promote the project.
Moneylife contacted a Lodha spokesperson to know how the group was planning to fill the empty swimming pools and jacuzzis with water, but the company declined to comment. According to a few residents of Dahisar, Mira Road and Bhayandar (all Mumbai suburbs), they get water supply once in a day for only four hours. A few buildings in Mumbai are also hiring water tankers because of the shortage.
In Mumbai, the water shortage problem started in 2001. In October 2001, BMC had made it mandatory for new buildings coming up after October 2002 to install rainwater harvesting systems to combat the water shortage.
But Lodha’s project—with all its advertised water bodies—has no water harvesting facility. BMC has also announced that it will not provide connections to new projects that require more than 2 lakh litres per day of water (at an average of 90 litres per person per day). The moot question is, when there is such an acute scarcity of water, how will the Lodha group manage to fill its much-touted swimming pools? — Pallabika Ganguly