PUNE: Barely two weeks after a newly-constructed five-storey building in Narhe-Ambegaon suburb came crashing down like a pack of cards killing a 28-year-old youth and destroying homes, affordable housing in the fringes hasn't lost its charm. People are still checking out constructions here and 'developers' are busy luring them with promises of cheap flats delivered quickly.
Last week, Dnyanesh and his wife were scouting for a one room kitchen flat here, aware of the building collapse two weeks ago, but hopeful that the house they buy will be strong. "It was their (residents of the building that collapsed) destiny. Not all buildings here will meet the same fate," said Dnyanesh, but his wife Savita was more categorical. "We cannot afford a flat in the core city area and we don't want to live in slums. So low-cost housing in the city's fringes is the only option left for people like us," she said. Dnyanesh works as a security staff in a private firm and migrated from Beed district to Pune for work. And like thousands of migrants working in low-income jobs, he cherishes a dream to own a house in Pune, a desire that brought him to Ambegaon.
The couple ignores a disturbing fact - over 45 lives have been lost in the last fives years in building collapses in fringe areas because of the poor quality of work and material used.
Activity on the realty front in the fringes has already picked up, two week after the building collapse. Potential customers like Dnyanesh are approached by 'developers' who promise cheap flats, easy loans and delivery of their dream home in a time period that could put delivery promises of pizza chains to shame. They try to allay Dnyanesh's fears of a building collapse saying that they have constructed many buildings that stand on firm ground. "The government's action against buildings here will continue for some days. Don't worry. Everything will be fine and we will start our construction very soon," the duo assures saying that they would "finish" the construction within a couple of months. They cite examples of buildings coming up within a few weeks and being sold immediately.