Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Gurgaon Conundrum-Where have the Farmers gone?

Today, it being my day off from work, I decided to accompany my brother on one of his site visits thinking perhaps that I would be able to see some pastoral life on the outskirts of Gurgaon. I wanted to look at some greenery and of course some farmers and their fields! What greeted me however concrete buildings in various stages of completion, and of the farmers and their fields, well, there were none! Gurgaon used to have a lot of greenery, wetlands and forests. The prime occupation of the local residents of Gurgaon used to be farming. Thinks changed, indeed after the setting up of the Maruti Car factory, and since then there has been no turning back in terms of the construction of high-rise buildings, villas and bungalows. The wet lands have been filled up, and of the farmers and there fields, well, there is no sign of them! The need for new homes has put such a lot of pressure on the resources of the town that soon it seems drinking water will have to be imported from Paris! The ground water level has gone down what with rampant extraction of ground water fro construction purposes. Conversion of green areas, forest cover, cutting down of trees, and conversion of farmland into building sites has meant that in the times to come, there will be even more rise in temperatures what with the concrete heating up. Dust storms from land denuded of trees will become common, and this will speed up the desertification of the land leading to even faster environmental degradation. Yes, with the farmers gone, fresh vegetables are becoming scarcer in the local markets of Gurgaon.
Very soon, sights of this kind will be unknown of!
With property prices ranging from Rs.1.50 Crores for built up floors of around 290 square yards for a 3 BHK apartment to  Rs. 8 Crores for a modest villa it seems as though builders are making a killing, but then that might not be so! The farmers having sold their fields  are comfortably settled earning an interest from the amount they have received, or a few have migrated to other places, while some of the more smart ones have invested appropriately, while builders have to eke a living. With prices being driven sky-wards, owning a property in Gurgaon has become a matter of great prestige! What was once a sleepy farming hamlet has today undergone a transformation that none could have believed would take place. With old Gurgaon becoming saturated, builders have started moving towards the outskirts of Gurgaon so you have building societies coming up right up to the border with the Manesar Township. You will find all kinds of building societies, and townships coming up all the way from sector 9, Sector 37-C, and D ,sector 90,92, 89, 81,86 and 85 till you almost eye-ball the town of Manesar.
While it is true that with the coming of building sites all over the town, stalls such as this one might be able to sell a few things!
Discerning buyers of properties in Gurgaon should however ensure that their is good connectivity in the form of scheduled roads, sector roads, and highways. Also they should ensure that the property is not adjacent to a village or a slum area. Also, with the existing slump in the market, it is better to go for a construction linked plan. Some of the buildings I saw last year remained in the same state of readiness as it seems, no further work had been done to complete the construction. I have heard of cases where the final possession of the flat was given after a good five or six years! Prices of some of the reasonable  under construction flats  range between Rs.5900/- per square feet to about Rs.7500/- per square feet. Looking at the massive rate of development, construction  of sector roads, and certain stretches of the Dwarka, Expressway,  it seems the prices will remain high and in fact increase in the times to come! Gurgaon retains its supremacy over Noida, Greater Noida,  Yamuna Expressway,Faridabad ,Sonipat, and Kundli.  Gurgaon being the highest revenue generating city  of Haryana, it wouldn't be a surprise if we see even more development in times to come!The Rapid Metro is one of the first of its kind privately developed transport system.The Pod Taxis when they arrive will complement the development of infrastructure taking place in the  "Mega-City!" Many new projects are in the pipeline. The few farmers who have held on to their patches land, it seems, will bail out when they are offered a good enough amount for their land.Farming would be less paying for them than the profits they would accrue  on selling their land!
I have seen some of the sample flats and ready to move in flats prepared by the builders, and some of them are so well constructed and designed that you’d feel like buying one of them. Others seem to be well designed, but then on looking closer you’d notice shoddy  workmanship. The amount of cement might be less than the desired ratio with the result that if internal pvc pipes spring a leak, you will have a perpetual problem of seepage. Some cases, I could observe that some of the newly constructed buildings had developed cracks in the plaster, nothing to panic until moisture gets into the beams! Some of the reasons for shoddy workmanship could be improper supervision, cutting of construction costs, or sometimes even haste in completing a project on time.
With the crop harvested and the hay left to be picked up, one wonders whether this farmer will be around next year!

With advice and inputs from: Esther Finmark  Real-Estate Advisory & Consultancy Services : esther.finmark@gmail.com
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