Three decades ago, one associated Faridabad with vehicles with red tail lights that transported iron beams to factories. One was asked to avoid the Capital’s Ring Road after 10 pm as these were then famous for obstructing traffic. Then there were chartered buses taking people to and from work at the Escorts and Havells factories and the obscure aunt or uncle talking about selling plots in Faridabad to buy properties in Delhi. One’s exposure to Faridabad ended there.
Three years ago Faridabad made headlines as India’s most affluent city. A study revealed that Faridabad’s sectors 14, 15, 16, 16A and 17 had an average household income of R22.96 lakh per annum, the highest in the country. The Delhi-Badarpur Metro link rolled in 2011 but had little or no impact on property prices until a week ago when prime minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 13-km stretch connecting Delhi to Escorts Mujesar.
This new metro connectivity and the fact that the city topped the smart cities list in Delhi-NCR with 95 points, has got real estate developers and consultants excited. They hope that over the next 12 months, corporates, especially outsourcing and banking companies, will move into Faridabad, triggering job opportunities and eventually encouraging more ‘workers’ to take up residence in this town which almost touches south Delhi. There is new-found confidence that the NH2 stretch which is currently being widened to six lanes by L&T, will one day compete with the likes of NH8 in Gurgaon.
Faridabad could in all likelihood be racing ahead of its rich neighbours. Known for core industries, the city is likely to see a shift towards service industries, outsourcing, banking etc. “Under the smart cities scheme we will ensure that basic infrastructure undergoes improvement – there are safe pedestrian paths, controlled vehicular movement etc,” promises says PC Meena, HUDA administrator.
According to Ashok Sharma, municipal commissioner, Faridabad scored the highest in the first round of the smart cities challenge because of its high recovery and receipts of revenue, salaries paid to staff on time, adequate number of toilets in the city, online grievance facility and a mobile app to pay taxes online. “We are currently in the process of drawing up a city sanitation plan that will include augmentations of public toilets, waste management that will include door to door collection of waste and transportation of waste. Under the smart city plan we also hope to augment drainage systems, drinking water supply, create more footpaths and cycle tracks.”
Navdeep Chawla, president, Faridabad Industry Association (FIA) says that once there is clear and clean connectivity by road after widening of the NH2, the city will be “ able to procure better talent from Delhi due to improvement in connectivity.”
Adding to Faridabad’s attraction as a business hub, land was allotted in its Industrial Model Township (IMT) to Banaskantha District Co-operative Milk Producers for their expansion project to supply milk and prepare milk products marketed under the Amul brand. Another plot measuring two acres has been allotted to Balmer Lawrie and Co Ltd, a government of India enterprise under the ministry of petroleum and natural gas for setting up of multi-commodity temperature controlled warehouse. Haryana has also agreed to a proposal by Noida Authority to build two new bridges on the Yamuna river that will connect Noida and Faridabad to ease traffic as well as travel time.
Real estate experts are of the view that the market will start looking up once road connectivity and corporate activity improves. Right now, industrial plots on both sides of NH2 have been taken up by automobile showrooms and workshops such as Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen, Toyota, Chevrolet etc. These road-facing properties, according to Anckur Srivasttava of GenReal Advisers, are equivalent to Grade A office spaces, and command the highest rents.