Mangaluru, Jan 16, 2019: Lakshmi (40) who has Down’s Syndrome sits huddled on one of the sofas in her apartment unable to comprehend why her elderly parents, P Radhakrishna Kamath and Shyamala R Kamath, are miserable for the past three months.
Pensioners, Radhakrishna (68) and Shyamala (63), residing on the first floor of K2 Habitate apartment in Pandeshwar, have undergone immense physical and mental trauma since the K2 Habitate Apartment Owners Association (KHAOA) decided to punish the elderly couple for not paying a maintenance fee. The water supply to their apartment was cut by the association on October 13, 2018.
The couple invested their savings on the apartment and have been living in it since 2016. The couple invited the wrath of the builders and their association when they insisted that the 24 connections (including six connections from kitchens and 18 from bathrooms above them) passing under their apartment should be relaid through the common area.
“The builder deviated from the building plan, approved by Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) and laid pipes under our apartment in order to use the basement space illegally for commercial use. The sewage from toilets inundated our apartment. It was then occupied by our tenant,” Shyamala said. The couple had to make their own arrangements to prevent sewage from entering their apartment.
“Following our complaints, MCC had ordered the opening of the exit gate and demolition of illegal commercial complexes in the basement. The builder went to court against the demolition order and as an act of revenge, got the generator shifted close to our apartment,” Radhakrishna said.
“Besides the ear-splitting noise, the fumes from generator’s pipe enters the hall and mixes with my coffee,’’ Shyamala said.
When the association and builder did not heed to the demands of elderly couple, they stopped paying maintenance charges. The association served a notice and within a few days cut the pipes supplying water to their apartment. “Only one pipeline to our toilet was left untouched as it is the same connection to the commercial complexes in the basement,” Radhakrishna reasoned.
Advocate K Dayananda Rai who issued the notice to the couple said; “The association did not approach me and later engaged another advocate.” Incidentally, Rai had disconnected power supply to a couple in Maurishka apartment.
MCC based on the couple’s complaint inspected the flat and submitted a report in October 2018 expressing their helplessness as it was the association which had cut the pipelines to the apartment.
Adding to their woes, the daughter’s marriage took place in November. “Due to water scarcity, we were forced to book 17 rooms in a hotel for the guests,” Radhakrishna recollected.
Shyamala extending her hand says by carrying water in buckets, the fingers had lost their flexibility. The couple submitted their grievances to Mangaluru Commissioner of police and DK Deputy Commissioner on Monday.
Association Vice President Zahir and Treasurer Zahir struck to their guns and said any leniency would encourage other 35 apartment owners to default payment of maintenance charges.
“If the couple need water, they have to pay Rs 1.50 lakh,” Sameer said. Shyamala refused to take her case to the courts. “Whom should I go against? The association is ad-hoc and not registered,” she says. The rules are only for the law-abiding she says with a sad smile.