KOLKATA: Have you been saving up to buy an apartment at a highrise on the north eastern fringes of the city at a lower price? Hold on. You might have to go slow on your plans. With new regulations from the Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco) going to be in place very soon, the development of highrises in the fringe areas outside New Town jurisdiction in Rajarhat will come under a strong scanner, making it 'nearly impossible' for the realtors to comply with.
"Any developer planning to construct a building beyond a height of 15 metres will first have to get permission from New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA)," said Hidco and NKDA chairman Debashis Sen. According to sources from the state secretariat, a notification is going to be issued shortly on the building rules.
While the new norms have not been notified by Hidco yet, sources close to the development said, "It will now be very difficult for realtors to construct any building beyond 15 metres in height. While Hidco may not impose a ban, the new set of regulations will require so many compliances, that most of the realtors will now stay back. Even if they comply with the new regulations, the project is unlikely to become viable at such huge costs."
The narrow, bumpy road bifurcating at Derozio College near Rajarhat leads to Shashan on the right and Narayanpur on the left. The entire stretch is dotted with dozens of highrises. A minute's drive from Derozio College leads to Gopalpur Jagardanga where realtors have come up with large projects on both sides of the road. One of the hoardings, which reads "Tallest towers at lowest rates", was standing tall by an under-construction project.
"The big realtors have tried to comply with norms. But most of the smaller ones flouted norms while constructing highrises," said Prabir Kar, president of Rajarhat Panchayat Samiti. "You will find such highrises across Rajarhat Main Road from Narayanpur to Shashan," he said. "Many of these highrises are built on a stretch of road which barely allows you to drive a car," he said. The unplanned development without proper infrastructure has been posing a threat to the bheri lands at Sashan in North 24-Parganas.
According to locals, a lot of plans were sanctioned ignoring the flaws a few years back when Bhangar Rajarhat Area Development Authority (BRADA) was in place. BRADA had jurisdiction over 24 mouzas - 15 in North and nine in South 24-Parganas - covering 6,000 to 7,000 hectare where land prices weresoaring. According to previous records, about 2,000 acres were sold by BRADA, while it had received applications for more than 1,500 acres. Land price shot up from around Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 a cottah to a range of Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh within 10 years. The Mamata Banerjee government had earlier dissolved BRADA after coming to the power.
According to Jitendra Khaitan, CMD of Pioneer Property Management Ltd, 15 metres will allow realtors to construct G+4 properties. "Land is limited now. So it is always better to go vertical. Highrises provide more floors on lesser land and makes way for more open space. In case of G+4 or G+5 units, construction costs are less but realization per unit is also less for realtors. Take off of the properties become slow eventually," he said.
While both Sabyasachi Datta, Trinamool MLA of New Town and Tapas Chatterjee, chairman of Rajarhat-Gopalpur municipality, said they were unaware of any such regulation being planned, Prabir Kar said the district administration has already held a few meetings with local authorities.