Bhubaneswar: Amid indications that almost all state capitals may be part of the Union government's 100 smart cities' plan, real estate developers hope the move will help revive the sluggish housing market here.
Association for Odisha Real Estate Developers (AFORD) president Umesh Patnaik said that though there is no clarity in people's mind as yet about the proposed smart cities, any announcement to this effect would help change perceptions and revive the market.
"The main reason behind the slowdown in the market is because of buyers' apprehensions amid reduced economic activities in a small city like ours. If the Centre announces that Bhubaneswar will be turned into a smart city, it will help overcome such anxieties," he said.
Finance minister Arun Jaitely had talked in the budget about the creation of 100 smart cities to ease the burden on metros. The proposed cites would have technology-based governance with efficient public services, water and power supply, proper sewerage, drainage and solid waste management facilities besides at least three of five application domains such as good education, healthcare, participative governance, inclusion and community services.
"With readily available land and surrounded by river, Bhubaneswar has huge potential to grow as a city with all modern amenities with minimum effort. This would make the city more sought after," said Anup Mohapatra, a city-based real estate developer.
Real Estate Developers' Association of Odisha (Reda) president Pradipta Kumar Biswaroy said it was too early to make any assessment about the plan, whose blueprint is yet to be out. "Moreover, the Union government has made provision of only Rs 70 crore for each smart city, which is too little. If it is Rs 70 crore annually and private participation is encouraged then the concept might click," he said.
Housing projects worth over Rs 20,000 crore are under various stages of construction in the state capital and its periphery. An estimated 30 per cent of these projects are still to get buyers while very few new projects were floated in the past year.
Though the Centre is yet to issue guidelines about a smart city project, the state government has already submitted a proposal to cover 10 cities in Odisha under the plan. During the recent meeting of state urban development ministers, housing and urban development Pushpendra Singhdeo requested the Union government to include Bhubaneswar, Bhadrak, Balangir, Bhawanipatna, Cuttack, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Jajpur, Jeypore and Puri.