Narendra Kumar, President, CREDAI-Patna
Patna: Bihar’s real estate sector is plagued by many loopholes. Absence of clear-cut EWS housing policy with lack of visibility from the government’s end to provide affordable housing mars the already beleaguered sector in the state. Even the Draft Master Plan got recently released is not up-to-mark, says Narendra Kumar, President, CREDAI-Patna. On the other side, property prices in Bihar have not much been impacted. This is despite the fact that, property prices in India fell by 9.1 per cent according to an IMF survey. Speaking to gharabari.com, he shared his views with Sandeep Pattnaik about the present scenario of real estate sector in the state. Excerpts of his interview.
1. According to an International Monetary Fund [IMF] survey, India witnessed highest fall in property prices compared to other Nations. What is the scenario in Bihar?
A. In Bihar the scenario is quite different in the sense that the property prices did not witness any fall. There is certainly a plateauing of prices but the reason for that is not economic dynamics but administrative policies. The demand is still robust and with certain changes in government policies, prices will go up. In fact the government has not yet come out with a Building Bye Laws [BBL] and all building activity is freezed in Bihar since last two years.
2. Sluggish economy, dented home sales, piling up of housing inventories rule the roost everywhere. Then how is the demand appetite of home buyers in Bihar? Is there any positive sentiment emerging after the sops declared in the first Union Budget by the NDA Government?
A. As I pointed out earlier, the demand is robust and there are definite signs of positive sentiments emerging out of the sops declared by the Union Government. There was no inventory piling up situation in Bihar even before these announcements.
3. How do you see the EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) housing policy of the State Government? What is the move of Credai-Bihar, as an association of realtors in that front?
A. CREDAI Bihar has made many suggestions to Government of Bihar on EWS, but the State Government’s commitment on this front seems lackluster. The developers can be incentivized by giving them extra benefit in lieu of this. But there is no policy on this issue as yet.
4. The draft master plan (DMP) for Patna Metropolitan Region (PMR) was released by the urban development and housing department, in August last month. To what extent it is going to facilitate implementing the Comprehensive Development Plan [CDP] of the state? Any further suggestions from the Credai-Bihar in this regard?
A. The draft master plan released by the State Government is not very futuristic and there are apparently many loopholes in the draft plan. Water logging is the main problem in Patna but there is no proposal as to how the water will be flushed out of the saucer shaped topography of the capital city. Besides, the area to be included under the DMP has already many buildings already housed, hence it lacks geographical convenience. In fact we have demanded a special presentation for developers of Patna, but it is yet to be materialised.
5. Recently, the State Government came out for proposed Patna Metropolitan Development Authority (PMDA). Will it be a boon in creating a favorable climate for real estate market and for the developers as well in the state?
A. PMDA will be very much helpful in creating a positive market for real estate. But major policy decision to this effect will have to be taken by the Government for this to happen. But the attitude of the present Government does not appear to be positive in this context.
6. What are the potential cities do you think, can be converted into smart cities, with the DMP on the anvil?
A. The DMP is for Patna only as of now and the smart cities can be developed in newly acquired area only. I think one smart city in Greater Patna can be proposed around the new airport. This apart, one smart city can be planned near Nepal border with medical facilities and tourism. Gaya, Bodhgaya, Raj girl can be other potential smart cities.