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Builders divided over GHMC special drive

Posted by on August 3, 2011 0 Comment

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s (GHMC) move to demolish structures at the Ayyappa Housing Cooperative Society, Madhapur, has attracted mixed reactions from the realtor community. While some developers have come all out in support of the municipal body’s decision to penalise the defaulters by bulldozing their property, others have criticised the drive and even termed it as ‘inhuman’.

The housing society, which has been the target for demolitions, has been tangled in several legal cases for more than a decade now. GHMC officials say that these constructions are illegal and do not have the required municipal permissions.

This has come as great news for city developers, especially those operating in the same area, who have been crying foul over this project for a long time. While pointing out how promoters of the “dubious housing society” evaded all building norms to develop the land, these builders said that it was time the government acted against such glaring violations. “In fact, I personally feel that all the structures in that society (which includes a three-star hotel and corporate offices apart from residential units) should be pulled down and not only those under construction,” said a realtor with a project in Madhapur. He added, “The society has been allowed to thrive for so long only because the Gurukul Ghatkesar Trust (that unlawfully sold this land to private developers) comprises influential people. Several parties had raised their voice against the project in the past, but they were all silenced because of this.”

Apart from being a defaulter, realtors said that the illegal ways of the Ayyappa promoters had also led to unhealthy competition among local real estate groups in the area. For instance while the going rate of properties in Madhapur at present is between Rs 3,000 and Rs 3,500 per square feet (sqft), houses in this particular society are priced at just about Rs 2,000 per sqft. And this, realtors say, is because developers of the society have not paid a penny towards municipal clearances. “Such a price difference works against the legal constructions coming up in the vicinity where developers have paid crores of rupees to procure all the required permissions for their properties,” said Ashwin Rao of Manbhum Constructions Pvt Ltd, praising the GHMC’s demolition drive. His sentiments are echoed by Gowra Aditya, director, Gowra Developers, currently working in the Madhapur-Kondapur belt. “Finally, GHMC seems to have woken from their slumber and is doing what it has not done in the past. This was much needed,” Aditya said.

But not all from the real estate industry are pleased with this development. In fact, they claim that the GHMC has no moral authority to demolish the housing society, which they allowed to be developed despite being aware of its illegalities.

“And why just this property, there are several such illegal constructions that have sprouted across the city. It is impossible that the GHMC was unaware of them when they were being constructed. If they failed to check it then, why demolish them now when there are ordinary people (living here)? This extreme action is unwarranted,” said S Ram Reddy, chairman and MD of SMR Constructions. He added, “The GHMC should ensure that they do not allow such buildings to come up in the first place, than take up such drives.” TOI

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