Realty to broaden horizon

Geography of the city would shortly change with its history - after ages.

By Piyush Kumar Tripathi
  • Published 16.07.15

Geography of the city would shortly change with its history - after ages.

In 303 BC, Greek historian and ambassador Megasthenes mentioned Pataliputra as a city "oblong in shape, nine-and-a-half miles long and just over a mile broad". The geographical expanse of Pataliputra, the present Patna, has almost been the same since then but the quest for affordable housing has lately found two new avenues in the north and west - Sonepur and Bihta

Vast expanse of agricultural land near the Sonepur-end of under-construction Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge are being acquired by big real estate firms, even from Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). Ambitious residential projects, including mini townships spreading over several hectares of land with provisions for most basic civic amenities including roads, drainage, street lights, schools and hospitals among others, are being sold like hot cakes.

Bihta, on many grounds, stands ahead of Sonepur for those looking for their "dream homes" on the outskirts of the city, especially after the development of the industrial area and institutes like IIT Patna. Contrary to Sonepur, Bihta has already witnessed basic urban development, including roads, markets and banks among others.

The Telegraph comes up with a ready reckoner for people vis-à-vis the two competing real estate hubs.

Bridge boon

Sonepur was hardly visible on the real estate market map in Patna till the early 2000 and it was famous mostly for the cattle fair, which is arguably the largest in Asia. However, it came on the realty radar soon after the start of construction of the rail-cum-road bridge over the Ganga between Digha in Patna and Sonepur in Saran district in 2002.

"The land at Sonepur is quite cheap, at present, because of which it is being targeted by several developers. Real estate companies are acquiring large chunk of land and selling it to people by dividing those into small plots. The price of a plot measuring a cottah is varying in the range of Rs 50,000-9 lakh at present depending upon the proximity of the location with the upcoming rail-cum-road bridge," said Mani Kant, former national vice-president, Builders' Association of India (BIA). He added that most of them are buying plots in Sonepur mainly for investment due to the comparatively low land prices. "The under-construction rail-cum-road bridge apart, there is no other development factor in that region and all one can find there is vast stretch of barren agriculture land. Thus, most people are buying plots at lower rates now, planning to sell it after a few years following escalation in the prices," said Mani.

Many people from Patna have already bought land at Sonepur. "I have bought 2.5 cottah from a Delhi-based real estate firm, which has come up with a mini township project near Parmanandpur railway station. The site is merely 500m from the Sonepur-end of the rail-cum-road bridge. I have bought the plot at the rate of around Rs 7 lakh per cottah," said B. Singh, resident of Ashiana Nagar.

Industry & IIT

Bihta witnessed development much earlier than Sonepur primarily for being an industrial hub and development of institutes like IIT Patna, ESIC hospital-cum-medical college and a number of factories, including those of Molson Cobra and Hero Cycle, among others.

"If Sonepur is for the middle and even for the lower classes, then Bihta is for the upper class. From bureaucrats to politicians, a large number of well-to-do people from Patna and elsewhere in the state have bought plots in Bihta in the past few years and it continues to rule the real estate market of the state capital," said Sachin Chandra, former state chairman of BAI.

Sources claimed that what Sonepur looks today was exactly what Bihta looked like 10 years ago. It was mostly barren agriculture land and all one could see were stray animals and farmers ploughing the fields.

"Bihta is better than Sonepur in numerous ways. It has better connectivity and the region already has basic infrastructure in place. People started booking plots in big projects such as those related to township development from early 2000 and such projects are now taking final shape. The demand is still soaring and the land price is varying from Rs 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh per cottah at present," said Shiv Kumar, director, Agrani Infra Pvt. Ltd.