A few weeks ago, a corner site in Vijaya Nagar layout, located on the outskirts of Hassan city, was auctioned at a whopping price of Rs. 4,330 per sq. ft. This is probably, according to those in the real estate business, the highest price at which any site was sold in the city in the recent years. The government’s price (guidance value) in the area is between Rs. 600 and Rs. 900 per sq. ft.
The auction was conducted by the Hassan Urban Development Authority. The price also took HUDA Chairman Navile Annappa by surprise. “The price at which we sold the site is probably the highest even if you take the average price prevailing in neighbouring districts”, he said.
As a follow-up to this auction, the debate on increasing land prices, which had been on for sometime, gained more significance than it did before. Many people belonging to the low income group and the middle class expressed their anguish stating that they have to give up the dream of owning a house in the city, given the increasing land rates.
Many real estate people found the district administration’s refusal to alienate plots measuring less than one acre for development of layouts in Hassan taluk as the reason for severe shortage of sites, leading to abnormal increase in prices.
“As there was no scope for development of the city on the outskirts due to the district administration’s stand on alienation, there has been an increase in land prices. Time and again HUDA had demanded that the Deputy Commissioner process applications for alienation as it is done with regard to other taluks in the district but there was no response”, Mr. Annappa said.
Going by the price at which the sites in Vijaya Nagar were auctioned, one might presume the layout is well developed. In reality it is not so. It lacks proper roads, underground drainage facility and, most importantly, drinking water supply. “We have been facing a lot of problems since the HUDA developed this layout in 1994. Basic necessities are not yet fulfilled”, Anuganalu Krishmanurthy, a resident, said.
According to many residents, the demand for sites in the layout increased as they formed a welfare association and began fighting for basic amenities since a year. “As we staged repeated protests demanding basic amenities, HUDA responded positively. It has taken up underground drainage work. As the work began, people felt that investing for sites in this layout will not be a bad idea.”
However, urban planners and realtors see a dip in land prices in the coming days as HUDA has reassured the public to begin allotment of sites in the S.M. Krishna Nagar layout, the project which was conceived 11 years ago.
The project did not see the light of the day all these years as the previous governments made bulk allotments of land to various agencies, against the will of the land losers, who parted with their land for a residential layout. The latter moved the court.
HUDA had issued preliminary notification for acquisition of land on February 26, 2002, and the final notification on December 3, 2002. Later it had made bulk allotment of acquired land to Karnataka State Cricket Association, Nisarga Education Trust, Netaji Rural Development Trust, KSRTC, Chetana Neuro Centre and many other agencies.
Last week, the Karnataka High Court directed the HUDA to give developed land as compensation to land losers in lieu of cash. It also termed the bulk allotments made earlier as illegal. The court ordered legal action if the sale deeds were registered in case of bulk allotments.
With that the HUDA has got a clearance to go ahead with the project. The land losers have to repay the compensation amount received earlier and now get a little over 9,000 sq. ft of developed land against one acre land acquired. They have to pay back the compensation amount with an interest of 9.5 per cent. The court has given time of three months to pay back the compensation.
Many middle-class residents of Hassan can now hope to purchase a site