When customers of Maytas Hill County, the flagship real estate project of Ramalinga Raju promoted Maytas Properties, met with the fund-strapped firm's management including Rama Raju Jr last month, they were assured that work on the project that had stopped over the last few months would commence in April. The assurance has now fallen flat with not an inch of movement at the project site in Bachupally. But now it is not only the customers but even banks with considerable exposure in this housing-SEZ project that are worried about the crores blocked in this venture.

The high-end Rs 710-crore Hill County township that comprises apartments and villas ranging from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 3.5 crore was the only project kept alive by Maytas Properties after Raju's confession on January 7. Several customers have already made 90 per cent of the payment so far. The down payment amount notwithstanding, all customers asked their banks to hold back funds to Maytas until work begins at the site again. There are an estimated 1,000 customers of the Hill County project and the apartments were to be handed over to them by October and a second set in March. But these promises were made prior to the devastating scam Raju confessed to.

Now, the liquidity crunch at Maytas Properties is severe and observers say it is unlikely that the  company would be able to manage funds as things stand now. The government appointed Maytas Properties director, Ved Jain, says that liquidity remains its most serious problem. "We are in talks with both lenders and vendors. Arrangements are being made so that things start moving on,'' he said, adding that the board was working on it (resolving the problem). According to sources, Maytas Properties has contracted the work to one Prasad & Co. and representatives of this contractual firm have met owners of villas seeking money to complete the remaining work against a credit note. "The idea faced a lot of resistance initially. But owners of some villas where just about 10 per cent of the work is remaining have somewhat agreed to this deal. Obviously, they do not think they will get this money back and the credit note would be of no use,'' said the owner of an apartment, adding that owners were realising it was better not to depend on the Maytas management. Customers say they do not know which wa