Channelnewsasia.com | Posted: 18 March 2013 0931 hrs
KOLKATA: After decades of planning on owning an apartment in Kolkata, Rajesh Giri's dream has finally come true.
Having rented places in several congested housing complexes in the city, Rajesh and his family are thrilled to be able to move out of the city centre.
Space, greenery, big rooms -- his new home is the Indian middle class dream.
Rajesh said: "New Town is completely a pre-planned city, so its good. We moved in here recently in October 2012. It has all the facilities. There is an eco-tourism park, airport is close-by, our daughter's school is nearby, with good bus service."
Rajesh and his family are a part of the realty boom in New Town -- a satellite town outside of the eastern Indian city of Kolkata.
Even as the main city remains short of mega housing projects due to a lack of land, New Town paints a picture of growth.
Prices for these housing units are shooting skywards. A 2.5-acre plot for an office complex was sold for about US$9 million in August 2012, breaking all land selling records in New Town in terms of per-acre price.
Traditionally, people buy property in Kolkata to live in, not so much to invest. But in New Town, even expat Indians are keen on investing in housing projects.
Sushil Kumar Mohara, a developer, said: "Non Resident Indians are buying homes. Locals are buying. Even in our marketing department, there are lots of enquiries about houses in the New Town area. New Town is a good township and I am sure that in the next three to four years, it will be more occupied, it will be more lively and it will definitely become a showcase for West Bengal."
In 1998, this was home to the villages of Rajarhat and Gopalpur. It had a common pond for men and animals.
Now, in place of the villages, are tall, new buildings -- home to the 14 million people who live in Kolkata and its suburbs.
New Town was agricultural land till about 15 years ago, when real estate developers bought it and constructed these apartment blocks. The prices of these apartments have increased ten times in ten years. Kolkata's landscape is changing very fast.
The state of West Bengal has a law which prevents large vacant land from being use for urbanisation projects. However using loopholes in the law, this huge township has come up in a matter of a few years.
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