Benefitting from the UPA government’s policy to allot prime land at highly subsidised rates for building offices of political parties, the ruling Congress has bagged a sprawling two-acre plot in the most-expensive Central Delhi area for a pittance of less than Rs 2 crore.
The prevailing market rate of the plot located in the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg would be in the region of over Rs 100 crore, at a conservative estimate by real estate professionals.
A single three-bedroom upmarket residential flat in the same location or its surrounding areas has the going commercial price of between Rs 2 and Rs 4 crore at the minimum in the overheated property market. A little distance away,
across the Yamuna, similar flats in colonies like Mayur Vihar or Noida cost between Rs 70 lakh and Rs 1 crore. The price at which the Congress has been allotted land in DDU Marg is Rs 88 lakh per acre, the total amounting to a mere Rs 1.76 crore.
The ‘party’ has just started and many other political parties are expected to rush for grabbing the prime land being given away at throwaway prices, literally. The main opposition party, BJP, too, stands to benefit from the policy as it is also eligible for a similar-sized plot under the allotment criterion fixed by the government. Railway Minister Lalu Prasad’s RJD has been faster on the draw and has already bought a half-acre plot to build its office on the DDU Marg, earlier called Rouse Avenue, that directly links ITO crossing to Minto Bridge in Connaught Place.
The government hopes that the rock-bottom prices fixed for the land plots in the institutional area will do away with the political parties’ extreme reluctance to move out of the VVIP Lutyen’s Bungalow Zone where they have all cornered sprawling bungalows for decades to run their activities. They have been forced to move out after the Supreme Court cracked the whip ordering the government to get the bungalows evicted for residential use of civil servants and MPs. It has also directed that the parties should be allotted land elsewhere to build their offices at their own expense.
According to urban development ministry sources, which makes land allotments to political parties, the price of these plots was fixed after detailed consultations between minister incharge Jaipal Reddy, his deputy Ajay Maken and senior Congress leaders.