Balasore: With urban lifestyle fast attracting the youths, malls and marts have become the order of the day. To catch the attention of young minds, the sand city of Balasore, of late, is witnessing some activity in the real estate segment in small parcels of land.
Developed in an area of 50.52 sq km, Balasore town, considered a major business hub of North Odisha, is now spread over an area of about 80 sq km. It touches Chandipur on the east and is restricted by river Budhabalanga to the north. The city, however, is fast expanding up to Kuruda towards south and Remuna in the west.
Once a sleepy town, it has registered significant growth after the industrial boom in the post-80s when companies like Birla Tyres, Emami Paper Mills, Ispat Alloys (now Balasore Alloys), Polar Latex and many small-scale industries like Ori Plast set up their plants. The defence units of ITR and PXE have added importance to the town.
Though housing had never been a problem for the city populace, with the rise in population many luxurious housing complexes have come up within a short time. Besides shopping complexes across the town, at least 10 housing projects have come up, five among them already completed in the last five years. The 31-ward city has a population of around three lakh. To provide the local residents the ‘exclusivity’ and ‘big city facilities’ in Balasore, one Supratik Group is launching a massive integrated township with residential, commercial, education, hotel, restaurant and lifestyle projects at Kuruda and Balasore, which is all set to be one of the best ‘themed lifestyle’ projects of eastern India.
Managing Director of the group RK Jena said the township, first of its kind in the State, would provide the upscale living standards like in Mumbai and Delhi. “From pleasure to leisure, safety to security and fittings to finishing, every little care has been taken to claim the highest standard of quality and opulence,” he said. The township is expected to be operational by 2013-end.
While on the one hand the real estate boom has helped people to find a suitable housing area, it has doubled the value of the land in the last couple of years forcing the middle class to slog a lot. With the flats priced between ` 30 lakh and ` 45 lakh, the middle class feels the housing boom is not going to help them unless and until the houses are priced below ` 25 lakh. However, the economic boom in late 80s has been a catalyst for the fast-track development across the city. Also with the small city offering better infrastructure, better work-life balance and lucrative jobs, the boom is evident.
The real estate boom has its own disadvantages too _ crimes in the city have increased. From snatching to dacoity and loot to burglary, the teenager criminals have broken the peace of the once peaceful town. If sources are to be believed, 10 more housing projects are to come up in the next few years that are all set to change the landscape of Balasore. But the question remains, are the local civic authorities ready to manage the show? In the absence of institutional framework, how are problems relating to streets and other urban infrastructure utilities like electricity and water, along with sanitation, drainage, waste management and the provision of other basic services to be dealt with?
Municipal Vice-Chairman Manoj Rout said despite fund constraints the authorities were trying their best to resolve the problems. “We have sent proposals to include more areas in the municipality and sanction more funds to develop better infrastructure,” he said.