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9-15January 2015

Vol. 4 No. 21  Pages 16  ` 10

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319, Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2014-2017

Reality Hits Home { Abhishek Behl FG }

prakhar PANDEY

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

T

{ Barnali Dutta/FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

R

eacting to the severe winter, and unable to provide worthwhile night shelters, the authorities in Gurgaon have ‘converted’ a couple of disused buses into ‘shelters’ for the ‘have-nots’. The plight of the expanding number of homeless in the City is indeed distressing. The right to a roof, let alone a ‘makaan’, is surely a very basic right (and dire need) of every Indian citizen. Unfortunately, in their endeavour to find worthwhile employment, many village folk across India are giving up their roofs (however modest) back home and ending up living in slums or out in the open in expensive towns and cities. The Administration in Gurgaon seems overwhelmed by the sheer number of such immigrants. This City has been a sharp

property went bust earlier. The problems of the Millennium City have further been compounded by the fact that neighbouring Delhi, where Real Estate was earlier effectively controlled mainly by DDA, is getting second wind. Thousands of acres of agricultural land are likely to be converted into prime Real Estate, with the help of private players. DDA also plans to build many more apartments and houses – it just tendered one big batch, and is preparing for the next within a year.

Gurgaon, there is still little demand. "There was hope that the new BJP governments (State & Centre) would bring in policies and plans to revive realty, but it seems things will take some time to work out," he muses. Kumar also apprehends that while Haryana has not been able to get its act together in building the physical and social infrastructure even in key cities like Gurgaon, Delhi (and even NOIDA) authorities are known to plan and set up adequate requirements in advance. Further, the long de-

Real Estate analysts opine that although the Capital’s residential projects and clientele seem quite different from those in Gurgaon, DDA’s projects, especially those in and around Dwarka (a Gurgaon suburb), could make the middle class consider Delhi as a better option – at least to live in...unless the prices in Gurgaon get down and real – fast. Sanjiv Kumar, a Real Estate consultant, says that despite a 10 to 15 per cent correction in prices of property on the Northern Peripheral Road (Dwarka Expressway) in

Home(less) Alone prakhar PANDEY

he law of averages – apart from the still under par ‘sentiment’ and the supply glut ‘reality' - seems to have caught up with Gurgaon, which has been a darling of Real Estate investors for over a decade. A sector that was touted as ‘core’, and too essential and too big to fail, seems to have finally belied its promise. While the Real Estate industry today is facing multiple challenges, the most important of these is of how it can ensure the ‘honourable’ exit of thousands of investors (and builders), who it seems are still waiting to make a killing when they exit. Hope (achhe din) seems to spring eternal; holding capacities, though, will reach a breaking point soon. Today there is little or no active buying of residential housing (except in the secondary market), and brokers lament that while earlier they used to get five to ten queries a day, they now do not get as many in a month! Commercial

rise in the number and density of slums - the unauthorised abodes of the homeless. From around 30,000 in 2001, the slum population today

is estimated to be around 5 lakhs. However, at least those in slums have finally found a roof; the less fortunate have only the sky as their roof. To

‘cater’ to them, in line with the nationwide directives of the Social Welfare ministry, quite a few cities have set up night shelters – our City has two (at Bhim Nagar and Kanhai). FG had covered the sorry state of affairs at these locations more than a year ago. Not much has changed. This winter was when the warmth of a night shelter was perhaps most needed. However, inexplicably, on 20th December a fire broke out at the Bhim Nagar night shelter, leading to a number of homeless having to scurry around for shelter. Reportedly a few shifted to Basai near Khurana Park, while others found themselves totally exposed to the bone-numbing chill. The other shelter near Kanhai Village has been carved out from a community centre.

lays caused by Gurgaon builders on their projects, their failure to complete any project in totality, the constant fights between apartment owners and builders, and the continued insensitivity of the Administration, has also taken the sheen off the realty sector in the City. Compare this with Delhi, where the government and the DDA have come out with a plan to create more residential and commercial space at all price points and, realising that Contd. on p 6

However, only 30 persons can be accommodated here. The cause of the fire is still a mystery. The general refrain is that the accident was perhaps caused when one of the residents carelessly flung a half doused ‘bidi’, which landed on some inflammable material. The spreading blaze shattered windowpanes and burnt piles of mattresses and blankets. The shelter is currently being revamped. According to the caretaker, a special arrangement for ‘residents’ has been made in a separate portion of the shelter. "The fire accident was unfortunate. These night shelters are primarily designed to provide a place for the poor and homeless people, especially during the winter months, but there are some who stay throughout the year (some have been staying for 2 years),” says Vivek Kalia, Joint Commissioner of the Gurgaon Municipality. Contd. on p 4

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