CITIESTOP NEWS

No takers for high-end plots worth Rs 1,000 crore in Kempegowda layout

The muchvaunted aim of the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) of providing affordable housing is at the crossroads. BDA sites were seen as safe bet and lucrative investments, but not any more.

For the first in the history of the authority, several high-end plots worth a total Rs 1,000 crore in its Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Layout (NPKL) have been surrendered or remain unsold. The lack of sales could not have come at a worse time for the authority, financially-crippled as it already is. Work on NPKL began in 2003 and BDA has taken possession of 2,383 acres and 11 guntas until now.

It proposes to divide this land into 17,920 sites. Of these, 10,000 sites have been allotted in two phases — the first by the previous government in March last year and second by the JDSCongress coalition in August. “About 500 sites [60×40 and 50×80] meant for high-income group have either been surrendered or remain unsold,” said Karunakar Shetty, honorary president of Nadaprabhu Kempe Gowda Layout Site Owners and Residents Welfare Association.

“These were once in demand by politicians and top executives.” Shetty said BDA developed 500 high-end (50×80) sites, but 150 were surrendered. Later, it developed only 300 high-end sites in the second phase, but it received just 271 applications and of these, about 70 are likely to be surrendered. While the slump in demand for real estate in general is a problem, NKPL has been plagued by a host of issues that make plots here an unviable housing option or even investment.

“High cost compared to market prices, isolated location and the  uncertainty over how long the BDA will take to fully develop the layout are chief reasons for people surrendering plots,” Shetty said. BM Shivakumar, president, Jayaprakash Narayan Vichara Vedike, said: “The BDA had anticipated a good response and had fixed prices on the higher side.

Plots developed by private builders in several layouts near NPKL are 20% to 30% cheaper.” Another issue is that allottees have to pay Rs 90 lakh upfront for high-end plots whereas those buying smaller plots have been given time to make payments. Also, it has become difficult to get such high sums from banks in the aftermath of demonitisation.

“In spite of NPKL being a RERA-registered project, there is still work left to be done,” said MS Shankar, secretary of the Forum for People’s Collective Efforts. “Under RERA, this project was set a March 2019 deadline, but BDA has conceded that they have only completed 50% work. If they don’t complete the layout before the deadline, it may attract legal cases which could delay it further.

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