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Reality hits realty boom

The western fringes have lent the city an urban look but at the cost of unplanned and haphazard development.

The areas have emerged as the new hub for realtors and commercial activities apart from boasting several educational institutions such as Delhi Public School, RPS, DAV and St Karen’s Secondary School, automobile showrooms and a corporate park.

They are abuzz with the construction activities of hundreds of upcoming high-rises and a large section of population are shifting into the swanky apartments.

The authorities, however, are yet to get their act together to provide these areas with proper sewage network, piped water supply, drainage system and good internal roads. (See graphic)

Voicing concern, Subodh Kumar, a shopkeeper from Priyadarshni Nagar, said: “It is strange that these areas lack basic civic infrastructure, including roads, water supply and drainage among others. Still, the authorities have given permission to build the high-rises.”

Development in the western part beyond the Digha-Danapur canal picked up mainly from the late-1990s. Prior to that, barren land made up majority of these areas, which remained waterlogged almost throughout the year.

The abundance of the vast chunks of vacant land proved to be a bounty for realtors. “Such large size plots were not available anywhere else in the city. Besides the areas have good road connectivity. Bailey Road is just few hundred metres away from most buildings. Apart from the Rupaspur-Bailey road railway overbridge, the upcoming Jagdeopath-Sheikhpura More flyover would ensure express movement of traffic on this stretch,” said Arindam Guha, the director of the city-based Expression Buildtech Private Limited.

Guha’s mega residential project, Crystal Apex, coming up near Gola Road boasts of having Hafeez Contractor as its chief architect.

At present, most of the western Patna areas are divided into 40 wards, which fall under the Danapur Nizamat municipal council.

Deputy chairman of the municipal council Raj Kishore Yadav admitted that the allegations of the residents regarding lack of civic infrastructure in the areas were true. “The stretch between Danapur canal and Saguna More witnessed rampant development especially in the past decade (2000-2010). Hundreds of multi-storeyed apartments and thousands of houses have been built without any master plan for development. The engineers and architects approved the building plans and maps without any ground verification and in violation of construction norms. As a result, the present residential colonies in these areas lack basic facilities such as drainage, roads and water supply among others,” said Yadav.

He also claimed that the total population of the Danapur municipal council is around 1.6 lakh according to the 2011 Census.

The elected representative, however, added that the municipal council had some plans in the pipeline for providing civic amenities. “The master plan for Danapur municipal council and a detailed project report for the drainage network are being prepared at present. We have also recently approved plans for installation of 10 sodium vapour lamps in every ward here,” said Yadav.

Secretary, urban development and housing department, S. Siddharth told The Telegraph: “Western Patna has witnessed unplanned development. However, it would be included in the master plan for Patna Metropolitan area to ensure planned development from now on.”

Meanwhile, realtors have claimed that construction activities in western Patna have recently come to a standstill. “There has been a considerable decline in the demand in the real estate sector in western Patna. One of the major reasons responsible is the recent hike in property registration charges. After the hike in minimum value register (MVR) effective from May 16, 2013, the government rate of property in this area has gone above the market rate. Lack of civic infrastructure like drainage and water supply in this area is also a major cause of concern for buyers,” said Sachin Chandra, state chairman, Bihar chapter, Builders Association of India.

MVR is the base rate for fixing the stamp duty of any property in a location.