Real estate boom in suburbs - Land prices touch sky in Bihta

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By ROSHAN KUMAR
  • Published 21.05.12
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Selling fertile land may be anathema to farmers, but tillers in Bihta are parting with their plots without much complaint.

The land price in this small town — 40km west of Patna — has skyrocketed in the past few years because of the construction of a number of projects in the area, including Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), National Institute of Technology (NIT), Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Hospital and others.

Sources claimed that in a few years, Bihta would be to Patna what Gurgaon is to New Delhi. At present, a cottah (1,361sqft) of land is priced between Rs 10 and Rs 15 lakh. A few years ago, it was available for only Rs 2-2.5 lakh.

Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology registrar Krishnamurari told The Telegraph: “When our engineering college was set up in 2005, 11 acres of land was purchased for Rs 44 lakh approximately, at the rate of 4.4 lakh an acre. Now, the market rate of the same plot is about Rs 6.5 crore per acre. Biada (Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority) is selling land at Rs 45 lakh per acre.”

The lucrative land price is common knowledge. A tea stall owner at Bihta Bazaar, Saryu Singh, said: “Most of the land near the road (Patna-Ara highway) has been sold or acquired by Biada.”

Asked if farmers willingly sold the fertile plots, Singh said: “Earlier, we had to sell around 1 bigha land (around 20 cottah) to get our daughters married. Now, we can raise the same money by selling only 1 cottah.”

A few years ago, a bigha land was priced at Rs 5-6 lakh. Now, one would have to shell out Rs 10 lakh for 1 cottah; in other words, around Rs 2 crore for a bigha.

Construction work in Bihta has also increased the sale of building material.

Ramveer Singh, a cement stockist in the area, told The Telegraph: “Two years ago, I used to sell around 100-150 cement bags a month. Now I sell more than 2,000 bags of cement every month.”

“Around four years ago, we had to depend on Patna for the consumption our materials,” said Ashok Kumar Singh, a stone and brick supplier. “Now, thanks to the plethora of construction work in Bihta, most of my materials — stone, sand and bricks — are sold locally.”

Many suppliers from Danapur, Maner and Bikram have shifted base to Bihta because of the boom in business.

Singh said: “Bihta is developing as the academic hub of the state.” (See chart)

The flurry in construction has brought along in its wake a slew of developments. Only a few years ago, Bihta residents would have to rush to Patna to get branded clothes or electronics. Now, they can get everything at a stone’s throw away from their home, thanks to the departmental stores that have opened in the area.

Vinay Sao, a grocery shop owner at Bihta Bazaar, said: “New cloth and electronic shops have opened in the area. We can get what we want close to our home.”