Saturday, 14 February 2015

SONEPUR PROPERTY ; A VERY HIGH RISK BET


DIGHA –SONEPUR RAIL CUM ROAD Bridge
The deadlines are never met in Bihar in construction of infrastructure projects and DIGHA –SONEPUR RAIL CUM ROAD Bridge has the same fate. The deadline of March 2015 will get extended for the aforesaid project for sure. The question here is not the delays but whether real estate in Sonepur and adjoining areas will get a boost once the DIGHA –SONEPUR RAIL CUM ROAD BRIDGE is operational say even after 2 years or so. Many real estate investors have already placed the bet in this area with the hope of manifold gains and one can come across a number of projects related to residential plots on the SONEPUR side of the bridge. There is no doubt that the prices of land on Sonepur side has increased but will it transform into real estate development? Will Patna expand and engulf Sonepur as one of its satellite townships?


After independence Rajendra Setu, (also known as Rajendra Pul and Mokama Bridge) across the Ganga was the first bridge to link North Bihar and South Bihar. The road-cum-rail bridge near Mokama in Patna district is about 2 kilometres long and carries a two lane road and a single line railway track. It was opened in 1959 by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first president of India. The bridge helped to develop the industrial township of Barauni but did it benefit Mokama real estate. The answer is NO. We can argue that the dynamics of real estate in 1960s and 1970s were quiet different and therefore doubt the answer. Yes, the private real estate development was non-existent during those times in Bihar. Therefore to draw any relationship between the DIGHA –SONEPUR RAIL CUM ROAD Bridge and Rajendra Setu as accelerator of real estate development is futile.


To move our discussion to more recent times let us analyze the same question with respect to Gandhi Setu.  Mahatma Gandhi Setu (also called Gandhi Setu or Ganga Setu) is a bridge over the Ganga that connects Patna in the south to Hajipur in the north of Bihar. Its length is 5,575 meters and it is one of the longest river bridges in India. It was inaugurated in May 1982, by then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi.  The real estate in Patna really got a booster dose and Gandhi Setu was a catalyst in introducing apartment culture in Patna. The Yamuna apartment, the Ganga towers and many other apartments in Patna got erected after opening up of Gandhi Setu. Our question though is that what happened to Hajipur. The land prices moved up in Hajipur but the real estate development is yet to see the light of the day in Hajipur in complete sense. Even the Hajipur industrial area is not faring well. The non- maintenance of Gandhi Setu is completely different story which is a recent phenomenon but in 30 years Gandhi Setu helped Patna but not Hajipur real estate as such.


From the 1980s and 1990s now let us find out what happened in the 21st century when Vikramshila Setu a bridge across the Ganga, near Bhagalpur opened in 2001. Vikramshila Setu is 3rd longest bridge in India .The 4.7 km long bridge serves as a link between NH 80 and NH 31 running on the opposite sides of the Ganga. It runs from Barari Ghat on the Bhagalpur side on the south bank of the Ganga to Naugachia on the north bank. It also connects Bhagalpur to Purnia and Kathiar. This has reduced considerably the road travel distance between Bhagalpur and places across the Ganga. The real estate in Bhagalpur, the second largest city of Bihar got wings with Vikramshila Setu. Nevertheless, the flourishing trading market of Naugachia got reduced to a local Bazaar. Neither the real estate in Naugachia which is about 8 kms away from Bhagalpur got any boost. Surprisingly places like SABOUR and the Banka NH from ALIGANJ CHOWK onwards have become the centres of real estate boom in Bhagalpur. These stretches, distance wise from centre of city are farther away than Naugachia. Therefore the beneficiary of the Vikramshila Setu is Bhagalpur and not Naugachia.



While studying more than 50 years of bridge construction across Ganga in Bihar and its impact on real estate on both sides of the bridge it seems that once again the real estate will get benefitted on the side of Patna rather Sonepur once the DIGHA SONEPURRAIL CUM ROAD Bridge becomes operational. Danapur including Digha, Khagaul, Shiwala, Bihta and even areas adjoining AIIMS in Phulwarisharif will reap the real multiplication in real estate development as an after effect of DIGHA SONEPUR RAIL CUM ROAD Bridge. The importance of this bridge for real estate Patna will be more visible when the construction of 11.90km semi-elevated/elevated road from AIIMS-Patna (on NH-98) to Digha (along the Ganga driveway) would be completed. The Ganga driveway is being constructed on the northern side of Patna that would connect Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road Bridge. It would open up the Patna property market for the people of Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, Chhapra, Siwan, and other districts of north Bihar. The Sonepur real estate will only see rising land prices due to zero base effect syndromes. We need not forget that the New Master Plan too is considering omitting Sonepur as a part of Patna Master Plan. Sonepur really will have to wait longer to see escalation in real estate developments, if the omission of Sonepur from the master plan sees the light of the day.