LUCKNOW: A decade ago, it took about an hour's drive from Lucknow to reach a mofussil town on its outskirts. There were no signs of any urban rub-off in the area. Instead, it was marked by dust, patchy roads and barren stretches. That was Mohanlalganj, a rural parliamentary segment situated on Lucknow's periphery.
But the sleepy Mohanlalganj town has undergone a speedy makeover in the past six to seven years, spearheaded by a real estate boom. Mohanlalganj, which votes on Wednesday along with Lucknow, is now seen as the engine of growth for the state capital.
The change started about eight years ago when UP government announced its hi-tech and integrated township policy. It encouraged many builders to buy land here and set up townships.
Indra Pratap Singh, a retired bank official, built his house 20 years ago in Triveni Nagar but remained dissatisfied with traffic snarls and infrastructure hassles in the vicinity. He wanted to invest in a prime location like Gomtinagar but couldn't due to financial constraints. Singh's search for an appropriate property took him to Mohanlalganj. "I always dreamt to stay in a peaceful abode laced with modern facilities. I have fulfilled it in Mohanlalganj, that too at affordable price," he says.
Many like Singh are now investing or planning to invest in Mohanlalganj since rates are soaring at good pace. Real estate experts claim in past decade, land rates have shot up by 40 times in the erstwhile mofussil town. "Ten years ago, price of one bigha land in Mohanlalganj was Rs 2.5 lakh; today it has appreciated to Rs 1 crore," said an expert. CREDAI UP Real Estate Development Council president, SK Garg explains the reason behind the trend. "Whenever a metro expands, real estate growth is seen on peripheral areas, mainly along national and state highways, due to easy connectivity and scope for better infrastructure development."
In Lucknow, most real estate projects are flourishing on Rae Bareli Road and Amar Shaheed Path because of easy connectivity to airport, railway station, prime localities like Gomtinagar and Hazratganj, markets, malls and other economic activities, Garg adds.
Another emerging trend is that people from adjoining cities like Unnao, Allahabad, Rae Bareli, Gorakhpur, Sultanpur, Varanasi, Jaunpur, Barabanki and even Bihar are also making investments in Mohanlalganj because of its central location from their hometowns.
A builder said a hi-tech and integrated township policy, as framed by UP government, looks after the interests of both farmers, whose land is acquired, builders who launch projects.
The policy also takes care of housing needs of economically weaker section (EWS) as it mandates allocation of 10% units to both EWS and low income group (LIG) people at discounted rates. There is a large section of people looking for affordable housing which is not possible in the main city. For them, periphery towns are a boon.
An employee with a major construction company shared: "Mohanlalganj witnessed development after many builders started projects here. Soon, local builders also followed and set up small projects on highways like Rae Bareli Road and Sultanpur Road. Millions of bucks riding on these projects further attracted investments from people wanting to own houses near heart of the city."