B. Madhu Gopal

Things will be back to normal soon, say document writers

VISAKHAPATNAM: At a time when banks have lowered the interest rates on deposits, which is the best investment option? "Buying land either in the city or on its outskirts," was the mantra of the middle class for high returns on their investment. The land prices have gone up by 10 times, 20 times or even more in many areas during the past few years.

With the re-classification of the city as `Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation' and inclusion of outlying panchayats and the Gajuwaka Municipality in it, the land prices have multiplied by leaps and bounds and are now out of the reach of the middle class. The State Government, perhaps in a bid to rein in realtors as also to fill its coffers, has hiked the market value of land in municipalities and corporations.

Customers losers

This is like `adding insult to injury' for the common man who is not in a position to buy land. The hike in the market value of land has resulted in a steep hike in the registration charges. Realtors would inevitably pass on the registration charges to their customers resulting in further increase in costs.

The Sub Registrar Office at Old Head Post Office junction which is normally abuzz with activity, wore a dull look as the hike came into effect on Tuesday.

There were only a handful of people at the counters and the steep hike was the hot topic of discussion among them.

Document writers in the area were seen relaxing as they hardly had any customers. Raju, a document writer, feels that this is only a passing phase and business will return to normal in a couple of days.

"With the city becoming Greater Visakha and citizens ready to shell out any amount of money to buy a piece of land, we have no dearth of customers. We did good business on Saturday. The business was not that good yesterday and today (Tuesday) it is dull," he says.

"There is a provision to revise the land values twice a year in February and August. The last hike in registration charges was effected in July 2005. The Government had reduced the stamp duty from 13.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent in July last," says Joint Sub Registrar - I R. Damodar Rao.