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Rediff.com  » Business » NCR's new towns get ready for realty boom

NCR's new towns get ready for realty boom

July 21, 2013 11:09 IST

A real estate boom seems to be building up on the north of India, decades after Gurgaon arrived on the scene. Part of the Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) for long, Gurgaon is seen as a real estate jewel in the region, and is often cited as an example to emulate.

Nondescript Bhiwani and Mahendragarh in Haryana, recently named part of the NCR, are likely to see developers queueing up soon and investors betting big on the new hubs. Rajasthan’s Bharatpur, known for its famous bird sanctuary and tourist resorts, might also be transformed into a hot realty destination, as this region was also brought under the NCR’s fold. Business Standard recently visited these places to check out the developments.

In these areas, there are projections of a 15 per cent rise in property prices within three years. That would mean a jump from the current rates of Rs 3,272-4,857 per sq ft in Bhiwani and Rs 2,000-3,000 per sq ft in Mahendragarh. The Bharatpur residential segment is pegged at a little over Rs 1,500 per sq ft, while industrial plots are priced at Rs 150 per sq ft. The government’s plans for rapid rail transit in the area would also help boost realty growth.

Bhiwani, some 125 km from Delhi, and Mahendragarh, about 70 km from there, already sport international retail brands and finance companies’ offices — a sign these are ready to consume more. At Bharatpur, some 200 km from Delhi, builders have already made inroads.

Some see the regions being made a part of NCR as a pre-poll gimmick. Congress-ruled Haryana and Rajasthan would go to polls in the next few months. While Rajasthan is expected to see elections in December, elections in Haryana are slated for October 2014.

In fact, speaking English appears to be complementary to education and experience; in other words, more experienced and more educated workers get the most bang for the buck by speaking English. By contrast, young men without secondary education get no extra wage impact from having some English because some English alone isn’t enough to get a well paying job anymore although it might have worked for older workers.

Either way it’s clear that English is beneficial, not harmful to Indians in the economic domain. Of course, that doesn’t address the concern of “cultural nationalists”, who bemoan the ill-effects of English on Indian culture, values, etc. Presumably, Singh and others who share his views would be willing to trade off some income for less English and more Hindi or Sanskrit being spoken in India.

In reality, the concern about English is more a red herring than a real argument. Nothing stops a cultural nationalist from using English at work and speaking Vedic Sanskrit at home if he or she wishes — without turning into an “Englishman”.

Perhaps it’s time for Singh and others who share his views to stop bemoaning the ill-effects of English and recognise whether anyone likes it or not, English is here to stay. Contrary to the idea that requiring English in primary school is elitist, as motivated by West Bengal in 1983, the truth is the most elitist thing you can do is to exclude those who’re poor and disadvantaged from getting the benefits of English language skills and English medium education.

Poll gimmick or not, industry watchers say concrete is already in the air at Bharatpur.

Many international consultants are also eyeing business in the newfound NCR status for the three towns.

Rajeev Bairathi, executive director-north, Knight Frank, said, “The market will start looking at these areas with a different perspective now.”

Bhiwani, some 125 km from Delhi, and Mahendragarh, about 70 km from there, already sport international retail brands and finance companies’ offices — a sign these are ready to consume more. At Bharatpur, some 200 km from Delhi, builders have already made inroads.

“Many in Bharatpur want to shift to apartments now. And, some are coming from outside to work, as the region has some mustard oil factories,” Anurag Garg, director, Surya Builders and Developers, said.

Residents of Bhiwani and Mahendragarh, however, are sceptical about developments in the areas. A Bhiwani resident who sourced goods for his grocery shop from Sadar Bazar in Delhi, said, “There would be no increase in realty prices until real development starts.” Dreaming of soaring property rates, a Bharatpur local said, “Property rates will increase after this announcement (being included in NCR), even if nothing else happens.”

Mansi Taneja in Bhiwani/Mahendragarh/Bharatpur
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