Mumbai’s Lodha NCP project: Disasters waiting to happen

If Lodha New Cuffe Parade were a movie, it might get a one-star out of five, and it would be “A” rated, because it is scary and unsafe for children. If Lodha New Cuffe Parade were a car, it would have to be recalled. Lodha NCP at Wadala, Mumbai, is touted as a super-luxury real estate project, with flats selling at between Rs 2.5 to 7 crore. But customers are not just disappointed, they are shocked to discover that these super-expensive flats flats are poorly designed, made of poor-quality materials, substandard, defective, prone to damage and seepage. Glaring design flaws make the flats, the towers, and the entire layout, highly dangerous for occupants, maintenance staff and passersby.

Lodha NCP towers like Dioro, Enchante and Evoq have got part-OC (Occupation Certificate) from MMRDA, but they are unfit for habitation. MMRDA appears to have turned a blind eye to immediately life-threatening hazards such as non-compliance with fire safety regulations, as well as chronic issues that will inevitably cause sick building syndrome.

Shilpi and her husband Amit Jaisingh, who bought two flats on the 31st floor of Dioro, were amazed to find that the walls were made of powdery plaster-of-paris (POP). Shilpi has made videos showing how amazed she was to discover that the material of which most of the walls are made can be powdered with her fingers, easily cut up with a small blade, or melted into paste with a few drops of water. She was hugely disappointed to see moist walls with green moss growing on them within two months of possession, giving her house the feel of a neglected, dilapidated old house. She was livid with anger to discover that there was loose wet sand instead of solid cement under her floor tiles throughout her house, causing salt blooms to appear from the joints of her floor tiles. Shilpi was alarmed at how unsafe her house was for her children, because of gaps in the floor through which a person may fall down to lower floors, or worse. She was unable to come to terms with how easy her house was to break into, thanks to the POP walls right next to the front door.

Later in this article are videos showing Shilpi’s user-experience, as the proud owner of flats at Lodha New Cuffe Parade.

Lodha NCP presents a high probability of the following types of accidents:

a) Uncontrollable fires. Due to their peculiar design, the towers of Lodha NCP are especially vulnerable to spreading fires. If one flat catches fire, it can rapidly spread to other flats, especially on higher floors due to large chimney-like sewage-ducts in bedrooms (Yes! Amazing but true!) and in sitting-rooms.

These weird drainage chutes or ducts are in the bedrooms of many flats. They are like chimneys connecting the lowest floor to the highest.

b) Casualties among children and pets due to falling. There is a high statistical probability of accidental deaths or severe injuries to children, pets or workers falling from great heights, especially through unsafe gaps in balconies. Lodha NCP has an abundance of unsafe places from where people can accidentally fall down.

Notice the yawning gap in the floor near the drainpipes and outdoor units of split air-conditioners fitted by Lodha, Children and pets can easily fall to their death through these gaps.

c) Minimal or no access for fire brigade. The ground level layout prevents fire-brigade vehicles and their snorkels, ladders, etc. from accessing most of the towers and their flats. Even lower floors are therefore placed at grave risk by the certainty of delayed response by the fire brigade, as the personnel would have to navigate a maze of ground-level structures to reach any towers to even give an initial response to any emergency — whether fire or otherwise.

The ground level is cluttered with walls and structures that cut off all access to fire brigade vehicles and personnel.

d) Parking basement fires aggravated by low roof, few exits and lack of natural ventilation. The roof of the parking basement dangerously low — about 2.1 metres high. This is insufficient for even a small-size fire-engine to enter. Also, the basement has very few entry-exit points and minimal natural ventilation. The basement restricts access to fire brigade vehicles and personnel, and so, if even one vehicle parked in the basement catches fire, the situation can rapidly escalate into large-scale catastrophe.

The maximum height of the roof of parking basement is 2.1 metres (about 6.9 feet), and this height is further reduced by sewer lines and other pipes running just above human head-level.

(e) Falling sheets of metal or glass. Lodha NCP towers don’t have a normal exterior wall made of RCC with cement plastering etc. Instead, they have an exterior “skin” of the towers of perforated metal sheets mounted on hooks fastened with nut-bolts. There is a very high likelihood that some of these sheets will eventually get loose due to weather-related expansion and contraction, corrosion, wind, vibration, etc. In case of high winds during a storm, or high temperatures caused by a fire, some of these metal sheets can detach and fall down on the unsuspecting public in the compound or the streets.

The balconies of Lodha NCP show how almost the entire exterior of the towers is built with perforated metal sheets fastened with nut-bolts.

Click on the links below to watch videos made at Shilpi’s flats in Dioro:

1. Lodha NCP walls made of fragile & water-soluble gypsum-board

Video description: Flat-buyers who book flats in Lodha New Cuffe Parade, at Wadala, are not allowed to visit their under-construction or under-repair flats “for safety reasons”. But the real reason is not safety. The real reason is, Lodha does not want its customers to know the soft and fragile material with which the walls are made. How soft? How fragile? How vulnerable to moisture? Take a look! Roughly 70% of the walls are made of gypsum board or plaster-of-paris (POP). An entire wall of your house at Lodha NCP can be destroyed by accidental spillage of a cup of tea! It does not take more than a tiny pencil-sharpening blade to cut into the material that its walls are made from. And to think that this is what people have paid crores of rupees for!

2. How safe are Lodha NCP flats from burglars & humidity

Video description: Even external walls adjoining main doors of many flats in Lodha NCP are made of gypsum board. This means that the flat is extremely vulnerable to thieves, who can easily use the sewage duct near the main door to break into your house. The walls of Lodha New Cuffe Parade are also extremely vulnerable to water seepage from the floor and ceiling, as there is wet sand under the floor tiles of every house.

3. Wet sand under flooring of Lodha NCP

Video description: Everywhere under the flooring of a brand-new flat in Dioro building of Lodha New Cuffe Parade, there is wet, soggy sand. This causes mineral blooms to appear from between the joints between floor tiles, and causes moisture and moss to appear on the gypsum-board walls. What is the source of this moisture under floors? Is it rainwater seeping from the balconies, which are actually RCC chajjas covered up with wooden flooring? Or is the moisture coming from elsewhere?

4. Sewage pipes & fire hazards inside bedrooms of Lodha NCP

Video description: Amazingly, the building’s sewage pipes run through the master-bedrooms of Lodha New Cuffe Parade. Whenever the people in the upper floors in this 41-storey building flush their toilets, all the people downstairs will toss and turn in their sleep because of the frequent sounds. Also, any leakage in the sewage pipes will spread stink, dirt and disease throughout the building. But there is an even bigger hazard — fire. If there is a fire in a flat in a lower floor, this sewage duct will sets the stage for an uncontained disaster. The sewage duct would act like a chimney carrying the deadly mixture of hot, toxic semi-combusted gases to every higher floor, causing the fire to spread rapidly through the building. These are evidently flats that have been planned without any respect for fire-safety or human lives.

5. Dangerous balconies of Lodha NCP

Video description: Every flat in Lodha New Cuffe Parade has dangerous gaps in the floor near the outdoor cooling units of air-conditioners fitted in the balconies. Many of these gaps are large enough for small children, pets and elderly people to slip through, and fall to their deaths many floors below. So, if you are a family with small children, cats, dogs, elderly people, alcoholics, sleep-walkers etc, you should beware of staying in these flats.

6. Construction Lifts operating near occupied flats in Lodha NCP

Video description: Outside some flats in Dioro tower of Lodha New Cuffe Parade, one can see construction elevators still operating. Although the the tower has received the Occupation Certificate from MMRDA, certifying that the structure is now complete and fit for human habitation, construction work is evidently in progress. Reportedly, some floors on the terrace are being demolished.

7. Why frequent dengue and malaria in Lodha NCP

Video description: It is reported that people living in Lodha New Cuffe Parade are repeatedly falling ill with mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and malaria. One reason for this may be the large amounts of polluted stagnant water in and around Lodha NCP. This is clearly visible from the balconies of many buildings overlooking Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd (RCF), which is a major source of air pollution in the area.

This article is a product review of the flats being offered for sale in Lodha New Cuffe Parade. It is based on the actual user-experience of Shilpi in her own flats. But please don’t take our word for it. Go and verify what we are saying by looking at the actual flats. Request Lodha’s sales team to show you some actual flats before you make up your mind. And in case you want our help to see some flats, please contact us.

 Krishnaraj Rao
 9821588114 / 8169471229

 Shilpi Thard