With demand for affordable housing perpetually on the increase in Mysore city limits, the only alternative seems to be construction on the outskirts with its associated predicaments of commuting, writes R. Krishna Kumar

The squeeze on the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and the consequent check on vertical growth in Mysore has encouraged the horizontal sprawl, resulting in the city’s geographical expansion sans development.

This is increasingly straining the genuine end-users scouting for affordable housing within the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) limits where the demand has overshot supply, and consequently property prices have skyrocketed. The only alternative is construction on the outskirts with its associated predicaments of commuting a greater distance from home to workplace, medicare, schools and colleges, entertainment and related services.

For a majority of end-users it is a trade-off between affordability and relatively long distance commuting on a daily basis. However, with improved connectivity and road network holding the key to surmount distance, end-users are beginning to exercise their choice. That many people are opting for this is evident in the construction spree of customised or independent houses on the Mysore-T.Narsipur Road beyond Alanahalli and Mysore-Bannur Road, Mysore-H.D.Kote Road, Mysore-Nanjangud Road and Mysore-Hunsur Road. There is significant construction activity in new layouts and residential areas abutting the Outer Ring Road (ORR) though none of them are within the MCC limits as yet.

But beyond the ORR are a plethora of plot developments for investors — as against genuine end-users — for whom distance is not a factor and who perceive investment in land as a good hedge against inflation and consequent erosion in their savings in the long run. While immediate construction is not high on their agenda, development by way of settlement or habitation is unlikely to take shape in the medium to long run as well. But this has not prevented major players in the real estate business from promoting their projects.

Outer Ring Road

The USP touted by most developers in their promotional material of plot developments is the presence of either the four-lane Mysore-Madikeri Road or the proximity to Outer Ring Road; and closer the projects are to highways and roads, higher the price they command.

And the bulk of such plot developments is taking place along the Mysore-Hunsur Road and Mysore-T.Narsipur Road where private layouts devoid of any construction, but for the fencing and asphalted road connecting the layouts to the nearest highway, are visible.

Attracting buyers

The concentration of such development is pretty high along the Mysore-Hunsur Road in particular where builders and developers lure potential investors with “high standard infrastructure”, “luxury facilities” for a quality lifestyle etc. Most developers vouch that the bulk of the investment coming for plot developments on the outskirts of the city are from non-resident Indians of Mysore origin or people in Bangalore looking for a second investment option or with no plans of settling in Mysore.

With a choice of procuring plots of 40’x60’ and 50’x80’ dimensions at a price varying from Rs.550 to Rs.750 or Rs.800 per sq. ft depending on the locality, distance from the city, reputation of the builders and the facilities promised, it is an offer not many with disposable income can ignore and hence the builders are gung ho about their prospects of attracting buyers. In fact, a residential resort complete with a nine-hole golf club is taking shape off the Mysore-Hunsur Road and the bulk of the plots have been sold to investors, mostly from Bangalore.

Areas gaining interest

The net result is the geographical or physical expansion of Mysore’s boundary sans much development or habitation. Till five years ago, a vast swathe of land around Vijayanagar lay undeveloped due to the inherent limits to growth of the city’s population and the consequent poor demand. But this has changed since then and Vijayanagar has emerged as one of the prime locations of Mysore.

But the locality was developed by the Mysore Urban Development Authority and Vijayanagar was contiguous with the city’s landscape. The MUDA itself is toying with the idea of the second phase development of Lalitadrinagar and Shantaveri Gopalgowda Nagar, all of which will be contiguous to the existing city limits.

Speculative

But the slew of private plot developments taking place on the periphery of Mysore are separated from the city by a distance of 20 to 25 km. Macro issues such as industrial development, investment in the manufacturing sector and additional job creation will play a part in their development in the future.

So, the time horizon for actual construction taking shape in these places or the plots becoming ready for the purpose will be a speculative endeavour in the present. These are at best investment options with a long time horizon for those with disposable income.