Till a couple of years ago, while driving down the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway (National Highway-8), one got a clear sense of two distinct cities across the highway — the old and new.
The area on one side of the expressway was dotted with swanky, tall commercial landmarks like Ambience Mall, Gateway Tower, DLF Atria (that houses BPO Convergys) and many other high-rises. In contrast, the areas on the other side — towards Udyog Vihar and Old Gurgaon — bore a deserted look.
The highway was the distinct divide between the old and new Gurgaon. But not anymore.
With a new crop of shiny high-rise buildings like that of Airtel, BPTP, India Bulls, among many others, having come up along the highway towards Udyog Vihar, the distinct divide is blurring.
“Since private developers possessed plots on the side of New Gurgaon, they took no time in constructing high-rises. On the other hand, areas in Udyog Vihar along the NH-8 are owned by the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructural Development Corporation (HSIIDC) and require a lot of government clearances for new buildings,” explains Colonel (retd) Raj Singla, convener of the Gurgaon-Manesar Forum of Haryana MSME Federation.
An old-timer in the city, he has seen the area grow from close quarters from his office in Udyog Vihar.
Though areas in New Gurgaon like Cyber City, Mehrauli-Gurgaon road, DLF City and Golf Course Road have high-end commercial and residential projects running, areas in Old Gurgaon are still not as dazzled by the glitter.
However, proposed infrastructure projects towards the old city are set to dilute this contrast.
Northern Peripheral Road – The Game Changer
The upcoming 18-km Northern Peripheral Road (NPR), also known as Dwarka Expressway, boasts of more than 100 big-ticket residential and commercial projects in the pipeline.
It promises to bring another new city along Old Gurgaon.NPR will run as a half-ring around Old Gurgaon.
The developers have tied-up with global construction companies such as Arabtec, who built Burj Khalifa in Dubai, to develop projects along the Dwarka Expressway.
“The NPR will be the game changer,” says Ankur Srivastava, chairman, GenReal Property Advisers.
“Like the coming of NH-8 led to huge investments in its vicinity, areas around the NPR stand to benefit significantly,” he believes.
A plethora of approved projects and great valuation prospects are making developers put their money in NPR projects.
Similar factors had benefited the Golf Course Extension Road in New Gurgaon. The road has now emerged as a prime commercial and residential address.
Srivastava says prices at NPR have gone as high as R5,500 per square feet and it might shoot by R1,000 a square feet within a year.
“NPR promises to exemplify modern architecture. The technology we are using in projects is 20 years ahead of time,” says Navin Raheja of Raheja Developers, which has a major residential project coming up at NPR.
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) is tasked to take care of the challenges of infrastructure like the master roads and sewerage in these new areas.
Huda chief administrator DPS Nagal says that once there is sizeable progress in the area, the “resource rich authority will take care of things.”
Huda has collected hundreds of crores as extra development charges (EDC) from developers and plans to build a BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) corridor, a 150-metre-wide road and properly lay out green belts on NPR.
Noida’s loss is city’s gain
With land acquisition issues marring the prospects of developers in Noida and Greater Noida, the realtors have once again turned towards Gurgaon. They view NPR as a viable and profitable place for investment.
The proposed high-speed airport Metro link from Iffco Chowk to the Indira Gandhi International Airport may pass through Old Gurgaon areas and has a proposed station at Palam Vihar.
If the demand of old city residents is met, the Metro will run through Rajiv Chowk, Railway Road, Sector 4, Sector 5 and Palam Vihar — all under Old Gurgaon. If the authorities successfully shoulder the responsibility of infrastructure development, the face of Old Gurgaon will completely change in a few years to come.