Developers in the national capital region (NCR) are realising the need of consumers and contributing in building state-of-the-art residential and commercial townships, shopping malls and other facilities. Leading developer RK Arora, chairman and managing director of Supertech, spoke to Amit Kumar on a range of issues, including the scope of real estate in Ghaziabad and Noida. Excerpts:
You started from Ghaziabad. But your focus has shifted to Noida. Why?
In 1990s, there was no concept of highrise in Ghaziabad. People preferred small independent houses. Besides, no planned development was being carried out in the city and the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) did not have a policy for group housing.
We started with constructing flats on plots measuring as small as 200 sq yard. When we started for a bigger project (in the name of Plaza) from Rajendra Nagar, the approval process was too long through the GDA. Despite the collection of extra development charges (EDC), infrastructural development did not happen. There was a mismatch between population density and infrastructure. However, by 1998-2000, the GDA gave good support for group housing projects in Indirapuram. As the master plan of Noida was better than Ghaziabad, we moved towards Noida.
Did the situation change in Ghaziabad?
National Highway-24 separates the area owned by the GDA and the Noida authority. GDA vice-chairman Santosh Kumar Yadav has worked a lot towards connecting both the cities. Now, Ghaziabad won't be different from Noida. Supertech had started the first integrated development in UP in 2005 on 360 acres called Crossing Republic in Ghaziabad. The township has everything - schools, hospitals, golf course, internal transport facility, etc.
Lakhs of residential flats are under-construction in Ghaziabad and Noida. What is the scope of real estate in Ghaziabad and Noida?
It is very bright in Ghaziabad and Noida. The cities have all facilities such as water, electricity and connectivity. Also, with the Metro network expanding in both the cities, the prospects have been further boosted. Five years down the line, 7-8 million houses will be required in NCR.
But the prices of flats are too high for the middle-class.
In areas near Metro, land is scarce and costly. If we move 40-50 km away, affordable houses can be built and the issue resolved. But we understand connectivity and infrastructure such as roads, electricity and water facility need to be developed. If the government increases the floor area ratio (FAR), more highrises can come up in Ghaziabad. Such buildings can solve many problems. I agree that the cost may go up, but many people want to live in metro city.
What all the administration can do to make Ghaziabad a better city?
NH-24 needs to be widened at the earliest. The Ghaziabad Development Authority should increase the FAR and grant permission to construct tall buildings. Projects on the lines of Supernova and North eye (one of the tallest buildings coming up in Noida) can come up in Ghaziabad, too. The growth of real estate will boost other industries too. We have expert manpower, technology and efficient contractors to set architectural benchmarks in the contemporary global environment.