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Earthquake shakes up buyers of plush flats in Gurgaon

Monday, 10 October 2005 - 11:49pm IST
The city falls under a relatively high-risk zone, and for residents the prospect of the high-rises being earthquake-resistant has raised a huge question mark

NEW DELHI: Shashank Singh, a doctor working in the capital had almost made up his mind about buying himself a plush penthouse apartment in Gurgaon.

But Saturday’s earthquake has made him reconsider his decision. There are many like Singh who are shaken up by the quake and are fleeing from the proposition of living in Gurgaon, a city of high-rises known for its reasonable-priced, comfortable apartment-complexes.

In fact, for those living in Gurgaon, the tremors have yet not left their psyche. Seema, a journalist was so rattled by the episode that she did not even bother going back to her 12th floor apartment and took refuge at a friend’s house for that night.

“It was really scary on the 12th floor. The building was literally going from one end to the other. I can’t even get rid of that giddy feeling,” she said.

Many residents of the 23 storied Regency Park in Gurgaon left the comfortable confines of their fancy apartment with power back-ups to stay with friends and relatives in New Delhi.

Says Meenakshi Ganguly, housewife, “I haven’t been able to sleep at night since the quake. In fact, now I feel we have made a bad investment. The thought of living through another earthquake in this building is scary. There was a stampede like situation  at the stairs when we were trying to get away.”

Gurgaon, that falls under Zone IV of the seismic map comes under a relatively high-risk zone, and for residents the prospect of the high-rises being earthquake-resistant has raised a huge question mark, after what most experienced.

In fact, once the mecca of properties, Gurgaon is now reeling under the quake aftermath.

Sanjay Sharma, managing director of Qubrex properties had three appointments lined up with his clients on Sunday, a day after the quake and all three unanimously expressed their fears of high-rises.

“One client told me that his parents were calling him from Chandigarh and told him to strictly not look at any high-rise apartments,” informed Sharma.

Manoj Kashyap, Associate Director, Chesterston Meghraj, says, “The property market has definitely been affected. It is difficult to put a figure to assess the impact but top stories in high-rises are worst-affected. Buying a house is an emotional decision and right now most people are nervous to even think of multi-storied buildings.”

But despite the slump that has started affecting the property market in Gurgaon, some real estate consultants are reluctant to accept that the dent can have long term impacts.

Says Ajay Jain of Ajay Associates, “I don’t think the earthquake will affect the market. Our business is going as usual.”

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