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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fast, smooth, and affordable - but when?

Delhi's High Capacity Bus System promises enormous gains, but has been a long time coming. Dr. Geetam Tiwari of the IIT-Delhi sheds some light on the project and the difficulties in the making it happen.

July 2004 - Delhi's forward looking High Capacity Bus System (HCBS) project has been hanging fire for the last couple of years. Promoted as safe, speedy and affordable public transport system - compared with the higher cost alternatives for the metropolitan region - the new proposal has been conceived and developed at the premier Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. The project also has the support of the Delhi Chief Minister.

But agency approvals for the HCBS project faced enormous delays. There were reports that the Finance department was not agreed on the merits. Recently, the public works department did give its clearance to the project. "It is difficult to justify the delays given the number of meetings and presentations we have had on HCBS", says Dr.Geetam Tiwari, Associate Professor of Transportation Planning at IIT-Delhi.

Geetam Tiwari has been closely associated with the HCBS project. She is also the Chair of the Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Program (TRIPP) at IIT-Delhi. TRIPP's work involves integration all issues concerned with transportation in order to promote safety, cleaner air, and energy conservation. The faculty is involved in planning safer urban and inter-city transportation systems, and developing designs for vehicles and safety equipment.

The prolonged delay is partly rooted in the establishment of the special lanes for the new buses. Corridor development ran into severe hassles with public works and utility bodies. It even prompted the Chief Minister to propose a phasing in of the HCB buses first, without establishing the corridors themselves. But special corridors are the centrepiece the new system, and without them the mobility of the buses will be crippled.

Says Tiwari, "The Chief Minister is very keen to establish the complete system. An appropriate institutional mechanism is lacking to carry forward the project. She is keen to establish an authority like the DMRC." (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation)

The many ups and downs in the journey of the new system thus far points to one key issue. There are logistical difficulties that stem from the manner in which public land is used and management by multiple public agencies. Despite IIT-Delhi working with Delhi's transport department to establish the feasibility of HCBS corridors on existing roads, complications developed. "Public land management in Delhi is with multiple authorities at present. There is very poor coordination between HCBS planning and other schemes such as construction of flyovers, etc. Every land owning agency is continuing with its own plans", Tiwari points out.

Despite the slow progress, the merits of the HCBS are strong enough for it to be a strong candidate in major cities in India, especially because of its track record in a variety of other countries.

The proposed route map



For more info. see - http://www.indiatogether.org/2004/jul/eco-hcbsdel.htm
 

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I don't understand the planners mind? Why don't these people try the HCBS services in coming up areas like Gurgaon, Noida and Dwarka. It's rather difficult to alter the road network of New Delhi without cripling the city in the initial phase. So, why not build the system in parts of the metro area, which are at the initial stages of boom & growth? Atleast get something right somewhere! :weird:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I don't know how far it has progressed but these bus stands are under construction -



This pic is about 2-3 years old, hope they've started constructing the bus lanes. Updates from someone please!

ViMo, they obviously want to modernize New Delhi first (Me thinks all this jazzing up of Delhi bigtime is in preparation for the 2009 games) and "trials" in other cities where the patronage and need won't be as much is a waste. It has to be done, if at all, in Delhi. This system is proven and sucessful.
 

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kshatriya said:
ViMo, they obviously want to modernize New Delhi first (Me thinks all this jazzing up of Delhi bigtime is in preparation for the 2009 games) and "trials" in other cities where the patronage and need won't be as much is a waste. It has to be done, if at all, in Delhi. This system is proven and sucessful.
Hope, they don't end up with a hotch potch :laugh: in Delhi. But we'll find out by June 2005 - atleast one huge project - DELHI METRO - would be complete by then. Thank God, Delhi Metro has not turned out to be a showpiece only! I sincerely hope, more and more (middle class) people in Delhi begin to use public transport, rather than private vehicles. Only then, can I see any hope for the HCBS project to succeed.
 

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Delhi's tallest building project runs into trouble?

The headline says it all I don't know who formulated the NCR plan but it sounds dumb to me that building good quality highrises will create "chaos" in New Delhi.

Civic Centre may add to chaos

By Lalit K. Jha
The Hindu

NEW DELHI, JULY 29, 2004. The ambitious and controversial 28-storey Civic Centre of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi goes against the National Capital Region (NCR) concept as by providing huge office and commercial space it would attract businessmen and corporate bodies from satellite townships like Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad.

According to sources in the NCR Planning Board, the buildings when completed would be of international standards, but it would only add to the chaos in the Capital.

After nearly 15 long years, construction of the Civic Centre is now expected to begin within the next few months. The Congress ruled-MCD has approached the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, for its foundation laying ceremony on October 2. However, the function would be given another name as its foundation stone has been laid twice already, the first one by the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, when he was the Leader of Opposition.

The MCD had recently approached the NCRPB for financial assistance to construct the building, which is likely to cost about Rs. 500 crores. Incidentally this is for the first time that the NCRPB has been approached for a loan for a project in the Capital. "This is a positive development, but unfortunately we would not be able to finance it because the Civic Centre is against the Regional Plan objectives. Its construction would only help in further congestion of the Capital. So far our entire objective has been to shift offices and commercial establishments out of Delhi. Construction of such building that too in the heart of the city near Connaught Place, ITO and New Delhi Railway Station runs contrary to the NCR concept," the official said.

It is understood that the NCRPB has sought certain clarifications from the MCD before formally saying "no" for any loan to the civic body.

The Civic Centre, expected to be completed by 2007, would be the tallest building of the Capital and would have a floor area of 1.16 lakh sq. mts of which 50 per cent would be commercial offices and 50 per institutional space. It would have parking space for as many as 2,500 vehicles. As many as 44 high-speed lifts would be installed in the building. The MCD is planning to launch a massive campaign and conduct road shows for selling the commercial space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Suncity said:
The headline says it all I don't know who formulated the NCR plan but it sounds dumb to me that building good quality highrises will create "chaos" in New Delhi.
The ambitious and controversial 28-storey Civic Centre of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi goes against the National Capital Region (NCR) concept as by providing huge office and commercial space it would attract businessmen and corporate bodies from satellite townships like Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad.
The underlined part is crucial too. There are several swanky and tall commercial properties coming up in Gurgaon, which they are developing as the BPO hub too. Infosys and others have shown an interest to develop Noida as a IT hub. What's wrong with ensuring these areas are the investment centres while Delhi is the main 'governance' place? Though this Civic Centre really shouldn't cause that kind of chaos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
INA market facelift plan...

INA facelift plan: Underground Metro...

NIDHI SHARMA

TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2004 02:56:02 AM ]

NEW DELHI: It has long been the common address for kiwi fruit, fondue and turtle sticks. The old and chaotic INA market which served the foreign diplomats and catered to the taste buds of Probashis and Kashmiris alike, will soon give way to a modern shopping arcade.


With Metro zipping underground and basement parking, the market area will be developed by private builders following a plan made by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). Shops, offices and restaurants will be given space. Apart from showrooms, space is likely to be kept for theme restaurants on the rooftop.

The 6.5-acre land of INA Market is under the land and development office (L&DO). Last week, the land was transferred "in-principle" to DDA for the re-development of the market. A consultant will be appointed for the project to work out the details about rehabilitation and design of the arcade. A senior DDA official said: "We received the letter of transfer from L&DO last week. We are now appointing a consultant to tell us how to go about the project."

The market will be demolished to give way to a brand new shopping arcade. The model of development will be similar to what has been followed by the Union urban development ministry in Dharavi, Mumbai, the largest slum settlement of Asia. Private builders will be invited to build on the land after plots are sold to them.

The basic design will be provided by DDA and the builders will be given room to innovate. Eligible shopkeepers will be allotted shops in the brand new arcade at a price. The official said: "We have already done the survey of the area to see how many legal shops are present in the market and how many shopkeepers are eligible for rehabilitation."

The basement will have two levels and there will be escalators. Elevators and the arcade will be essentially disabled-friendly. The official said: "There are clear instructions that the area has to be very modern with all basic amenities."
 

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Delhi`s developers are betting big on expensive condos in NCR

Note: 1 crore rupees = 10 million rupees ~ 222,000 dollars.

Living it up in the `burbs

Delhi`s developers are betting big on crore-plus condos far from the heart of the Capital


Jai Arjun Singh / New Delhi August 7, 2004

Will middle-class Indians pay a crore or two to live 30 km from the heart of Delhi? A clutch of fast-moving real estate developers led by companies like Vatika and the giant DLF — which owns large tracts of land in Gurgaon — are betting they will.

The attraction: plush, sprawling condominiums or villas surrounded by acres of forests and lush greenery. Other upmarket accessories like jacuzzis and health clubs are, of course, mandatory.

Take a look at DLF’s super-premium Aralia complex, scheduled to be ready in a year’s time. The complex overlooks the DLF Golf Club and will have spacious 5,575 sq ft apartments and 9,600 sq ft penthouses. The apartments (about 250 of them) are selling for around Rs 2 crore and the penthouses for around Rs 4,3 crore.

Or, look at Vatika City, an upmarket cluster of 1,600 apartments and villas that will stretch over a giant 60-acre spread. A few independent villas which the group plans to sell to celebrities are priced at around Rs 3.5 crore. And about 200 of the bigger apartments are retailing for over Rs 1.5 crore.

What will Rs 1.5 crore buy in Vatika City? Key features of the crore-plus apartments include central air-conditioning (and that includes the balconies) and Italian marble.

There will also be sandwich glass windows for soundproofing and, of course, the obligatory jacuzzis and saunas. Security features will include swipe card access and video intercoms.

The days when buying a flat meant buying an empty shell and little else are over. These new, upmarket projects are selling partly on the add-ons they offer. So, Vatika City is planning to have ATM facilities, and a supermarket in the complex.

Inevitably, there will be a club house, a health club, an outdoor sports complex, an amphitheatre and a community hall. For the next generation there will be a staffed crèche. Vatika City will be completed only by December 2006, but Gaurav Bhalla, director, Vatika Group says that around 550 of the apartments have already been sold.

DLF and Vatika don’t have the field to themselves when it comes to upmarket accommodation. Take Unitech Builders, which is erecting several projects aimed at upmarket urban dwellers. For a start, there’s the Rs 500-crore World Spa, spread over 21 acres and divided into separate complexes on two sides of the highway.

“This will be the most exclusive and luxurious residential development in the NCR,” claims Sanjay Chandra, director, Unitech, adding that around Rs 400 crore of the property has already been sold.

World Spa East and World Spa West will each have a luxury fitness centre and spa in addition to two-level underground parking. The design and landscaping is being done by the Seattle-based Callison. “We are using international architects for all our projects,” says Chandra.

Unitech also has the Rs 1,000 crore Nirvana Country, a complex of high-end apartments and villas being developed over 300 acres of land in Gurgaon. This project will offer single floor and duplex villas in various sizes.

The highest-end villas will cost around Rs 1.2 crore each. Construction on the first few blocks has already begun and the blueprint includes a landscaped park, with sand pits, splash pools and gazebos.

DLF began constructing its complex of super-premium apartments, the Aralias, in November 2002. Key facilities in the complex will include a car-calling system, a car washing and water softening plant, and 100 per cent power back up to 30 KVA.

The Aralias also conform to Zone-V earthquake specifications and will include a crèche, laundromat and club. The 250 apartments will be ready in a little over a year.

Who are the target customers for such high-value property? Understandably, with apartments and villas in the Rs 1 crore-plus bracket, the builders are targeting high net worth individuals.

“We have a large customer base of senior executives and NRIs,” says Unitech’s Chandra. That explains the attempt to create an international feel — through fancy tower and block names like Deerwood Chase and Cedar Crest.

Naturally, attention to detail is a must. “Buyers of high-end products are looking for a great design and ambience,” says Chandra. Other factors, he says, are the lifestyle features and amenities offered as well as the right kind of neighbours.

“Creating a good neighbourhood was high priority,” says Chandra, “so many of our top-end projects were sold by invitation only to like-minded people of similar profiles.” These include senior and top management employees of large corporations.

All this means the promotion has to be equally fancy. And when bucolic builders let their inner poets loose, the results can be amusing. Unitech is promising buyers a place where “the sky above and the earth below belong only to you, and nature is but a window away” — that’s Nirvana Country.

Meanwhile, in Noida, Omaxe is enticing wealthy house-seekers by promising them “shimmering lagoons, colourful flowers and friendly animals” as part of the experience of residing in The Forest apartments, surrounded by 325 acres of greenery.

Omaxe Construction is promoting The Forest as “poetry in glass and steel” and intends it to be a self-contained mini-town. Located in Noida’s Sector 92, the actual construction site occupies six acres but this is bordered by around 325 acres of jungle. “It enables us to promise permanent greenery, something few others can offer” says Kunal Banerji, vice-president, marketing, Omaxe.

As if that isn’t enough, the company’s blueprint for the project includes a rivulet winding sinuously around the complex and seven towers, with names like Ridgewood and Tennessee. Each tower will house 15 apartments — making 105 in all — priced at between Rs 1.25 crore and Rs 2.4 crore.

Some of the towers will be bridged to create sky gardens and private terraces. What can you expect if you buy a 6,500 sq ft penthouse here? Well a terrace garden with a swimming pool for one.

The master bedroom will be almost like a mini-health club with a sauna, steam bath, jacuzzi and massage chair. The open kitchen will have imported modular cabinets, a granite counter and flooring, and the exterior finish will be of aluminium panels cladding. And don’t forget the lily pond in the family lounge.

Then there’s Senior Builders, which is promising a “lime lighted lifestyle where privacy is highlighted”. The group is building a township with luxury apartments and penthouses over 14 acres in Sector 15, Gurgaon. While the apartments’ prices will start at Rs 60 lakh, the penthouses will fall in the Rs 2.5 crore to Rs 3 crore bracket.

“We will provide high-end technical specifications to make the township ultra-modern,” says Vijay Dixit, managing director, Senior Builders. The amenities will include high-security equipment such as CCTV.

While Gurgaon and Noida are the locations of choice for many builders, Ansal Properties sees promise in Delhi’s posh Palam Vihar colony.

Ansal has recently launched Celebrity Stars, a condominium of air-conditioned apartments and penthomes at Palam Vihar. The Rs 45-crore Celebrity Stars is the top-end part of a fully functional complex called Celebrity Complex where around 35 families are already residing.

The penthomes available in Celebrity Stars will be between 4,170 sq ft and 5,090 sq ft in area, and will sell for Rs 1 crore upwards. Each unit is being planned over three levels and will include a private pool and a terrace garden.

“Palam is a good location because it is closer than Gurgaon and Noida to the heart of the city,” says Aditya Wadhera, general manager, marketing, Ansal Properties.

“Besides, it is very close to the international airport.” That’s an important consideration given that the buyers will certainly be highflyers.
 
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Penalties

This should happen everywhere.

Flyovers crawl in the dark, govt slaps fine.

Shubhajit Roy

New Delhi, August 18: Facing a lot of flak over flyovers under construction in the city missing deadlines, one after another, Delhi govt ordered a penalty of Rs 20,000 to be imposed for each day of delay. After 10 days, the amount will be increased to Rs 50,000. This will be collected by the urban development department. All the contracts have a penalty clause which the government is now invoking.

Finance and urban development minister Dr A.K Walia took the decision after reviewing the progress of the flyovers today. "The civic agencies have been told that penalties will be imposed if there is any further delay", he said.

The first flyover to be affected by this is the one next to Kalkaji temple, being built by Unitech. Being constructed at a cost of Rs 20.71 crore, the flyover was to be completed by August 15. "Orders have been issued to PWD for collecting fines from the contractor for the delay," Walia said.

Construction of this flyover -under PWD-began on March 19, 2003.The initial date of completion was March 18 2004, which was revised to June, then July and subsequently, August 15.

A host of flyovers- under PWD, DDA,DTTDC- are under construction and urban development officials say the progress is not satisfactory at all.

Three flyovers-all under PWD- are scheduled to opened to traffic by Sept 30.

Unitech is constructing the one at Panchsheel crossing which has become a major bottleneck. The Rs 25.73 crore, started on March 19 last year, was scheduled to be completed by March 18 2004. It got delayed by six months but there is little hope of Sept 30 being kept. Urban dept officials say only 50 percent of work has been done.

The flyover at Brittannia chowk, being built by Nagarjuna builders at a cost of Rs 29.37 cr, also has a Sept deadline. The construction was started on January 28 last year and the first deadline was March this year It got delayed by six months due to shifting of services.

The Rs 48.33 cr flyover at Dhaula Kuan, being built by UP State Bridge Corporation(UPSBC), has become the most notorious for delay. It is now scheduled to be completed by September after two clover leaf sections are completed though it seems unlikely that this deadline will be kept. The construction began in November 2000 and it was scheduled to be completed in March last year. Despite financial support in the form of a Rs 4 crore loan by Delhi government, it got delayed by one-and-half years.

By October end, three more flyovers- at Sarojini Nagar's B-Avenue, Moolchand and Sriniwaspuri- should be opening if deadlines are adhered to which seems unlikely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
NID has designs on Delhi roads

NID has designs on Delhi roads

AHMEDABAD: Denizens of Delhi, especially from the ‘trans-Yamuna’ region, can look forward to getting an international city experience in a few years from now, thanks to the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) designs on the 2010 Commonwealth Games.


The DDA has already opened dialogue with the Ahmedabad-based National Institute of Design (NID) to create a design theme for the event to make a lasting impression on the global community. What the Olympics did for Sydney and the soccer World Cup for Korea — converting them into hot tourism and investment destinations — the Commonwealth games can do for sadda Dilli.

If what has been discussed already fructifies, the city will get a more international feel, with the best transport facilities, the best shopping destinations, and one of the most advanced digitised road system in the world. Well designed roads, signages, colour schemes will make life more enchanting, says a DDA official.

Says NID executive director Darlie O Koshy, “We have seen what the Asian Games did to Seoul, and what the Soccer World Cup did to the image of Korea. People worldover now remember the 2002 football World Cup because of the red colour the Koreans painted the city with.” It is not surprising, therefore, that 200 design experts in China are now working together to create a unique design concept for the ensuing Beijing Olympics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
New flyovers okayed for Gurgaon expressway
S.K. Ahuja
Gurgaon, August 19


The Expressway between Dhaula Kuan and Gurgaon will have a single, long flyover from Rao Tula Ram Marg till Palam crossing. The National Highways Authority of India has decided to amend its plans and construct just one flyover, instead of two.

"The flyover will start from Rao Tula Ram Marg because the stretch of NH-8 from Dhaula Kuan to Rao Tula Ram junction has defence establishments on both sides which need easy cross-movement of traffic," said S.P.S. Bakshi, chief general manager of NHAI.

It will make Outer Ring Road (between Rao Tula Ram Marg and Palam junction) signal-free, allowing uninterrupted traffic flow to domestic airport.

The NHAI will also construct a flyover at Hero Honda crossing in Gurgaon.

The authority has also approved the construction of a two-lane loop allowing the traffic coming in from Palam to merge with the traffic on the expressway on the flyover. The changes were notified by the NHAI in May this year.

The NHAI said that by year-end the slip roads till Gurgaon would be ready for traffic movement.
 

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Real estate booms in Delhi

Real estate booms in Delhi
RAJA AWASTHI

TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ SUNDAY, AUGUST 29, 2004 12:56:26 AM ]
If you are planning to buy a house in the Capital, don’t go too far. No, not even to the National Capital Region.

For, 2004 has so far proved to be a roadrunner one for the real estate sector in the National Capital Region (NCR) as the residential market alone has seen a price rise of 25 per cent to 30 per cent in the last seven months. And it seems that this phase is here to stay.

Construction activity has gathered pace in the last one year in Delhi and its suburbs like Gurgaon and Noida. Even other areas like Greater Noida, Indirapuram and Faridabad, which were not so active till recently, have seen a substantial spurt in activity. A new development witnessed over the last one year was the robust demand in the premium segment.

Multinational real estate consultancy firm Cushman and Wakefield (C&W) has said in its report that in the last six to eight months, supply and demand dynamics in the market have reflected a complete turnaround with demand outstripping supply.

Rohtas Goel, chairman & MD, Omaxe Group, said: “In the premium segment in particular, huge new demand has come from upwardly mobile double-income families that can very well afford a flat of Rs 40 lakh and above. In response to demand, builders have also improved the quality of construction and the specifications within their projects so that many of the apartments being constructed in the NCR today would well match international standards.”


In Gurgaon, Noida and Greater Noida, there has been a spurt in development activities in the premium segment. A number of premium products like Aralias and Pinnacle of DLF, Uniworld City and World Spa of Unitech, Belmonte of Vipul, The Forest of Omaxe and Jaypee Green of Jaypee among others have received a good response from the market. Some of them were completely sold even before construction was completed.

Interestingly, the maximum price rise also took place in the premium segment. Many of the premium projects were launched at Rs 1,600 to Rs 1,800 per sq ft in 2003. Today, they are quoting Rs 2,200 to Rs 3,000 per sq ft.

SK Sayal, CEO, Alpha Buildtech said: “The availability of premium quality housing has led both NRIs and affluent domestic investors to put their money into the real estate sector.
Supply has also geared up to meet increased demand. The effect of this rise in supply will be felt over the next one year. This year supply would match demand, and hence the price rise that has been witnessed over the last one year would get moderated. Construction activity in the not so premium segments is also happening at a brisk pace."

A large number of projects are coming up along the Sohna Road in Gurgaon and along the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway. Developers like DLF, Unitech, Ambience, MGF, Eldeco, Parsvanath, ATS, Omaxe and Vipul have either launched their projects or are in the process of doing so. Prices here vary between Rs 1,500 and Rs 3,500 per sq ft.

As demand grew, construction activity increased in areas like Greater Noida, Faridabad, Indirapuram, Vaishali and Ghaziabad as well. These were areas where till about a couple of years ago developers found it difficult to sell their products even at Rs 1,000 per sq ft. But now the going rates range from Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 per sq ft.

A new development that has taken place in the last six months is strong demand in the Vaishali and Indiarapuram area. As prices in Gurgaon and Noida rose above Rs 1,500 per sq ft, buyers turned towards these areas where homes are more affordable.

Furthermore, being only 12 to 15 kilometres from Connaught Place, Vaishali and Indirapuram emerged as favourite destinations for those who can shell out Rs 12 lakh to Rs 15 lakh for a two bedroom flat, and Rs 16 lakh to Rs 20 lakh for a three-bedroom flat.

T Chakravarti, head, India Property Research said: “There are two key trends – there is a steady increase in the number of off-plan sales in the residential segment in NCR, which had almost petered out in the post-slump era, and high-end residential developments are back on the scene. Market indications suggest that the favourable housing finance rate regime, coupled with attractive packages tailored by housing finance companies, is prompting the end-users to consider purchasing for their own use or even sometime for investment.”

Anuj Puri, managing director, Chesterton Meghraj Property Consultants, added: “Best performing real estate markets are the ones that have a sustainable balance of properties held by end-users and properties held by investors, to offer better returns on investments. This rate of return is also governed by the growth in the activities for which the property is being used. In the last few years NRIs have shown a lot of interest in the NCR market.”

They say money, like water, finds its own level. With the stock market marking time at pretty high levels, money is said to be finding its way into the property market. This would bring in an element of speculation in property. Besides, easy availability of cheap home loans, coupled with the expectation of further rise in prices, have been driving real estate rates.
 

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City roads: Made of mud, slush and little else

Delhiites welcome monsoon showers with potholes and not with open arms. Forty-eight hours of rain, and driving becomes an absolute nightmare as the poor quality of bitumen laid on the road surface starts showing its ugly face. No wonder then, road experts quip: "Is there a road left in Delhi?"

Sample these stretches: Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, especially between Andheria Morh and Adhchini, Moolchand-Ashram Road, Press Enclave Road in Saket, Nehru Place to East of Kailash via Sapna cinema, General Cariappa Marg in Delhi Cantonment, Tagore Park-Model Town in north Delhi, Patel Nagar to Moti Nagar and Moti Nagar to Najafgarh via Raja Garden, Tilak Nagar and Mother Dairy to Vasundhara Enclave via Mayur Vihar-I.

Undertake a journey on any of these roads and your experience would be the same as ours: Driving over irregular surfaces, potholes, bumpy rough patches, dirt tracks with some brick and mortar here and there, sharp edges, speed 'brokers' and dug up roads almost caving in at points.

Central Road Research Institute's head of traffic and transportation T S Reddy says that the pathetic state of city roads is a perennial woe and will remain so until drains are cleaned regularly and roads monitored once a month. "The fault lies with the archaic construction and maintenance technology civic agencies continue to use, particularly MCD," he says.

Even residents feel that the pathetic roads have nothing to do with the showers as many of them bear crater-size potholes all round the year, if not every six months. "Surprisingly, some of these roads have seen lakhs of rupees being spent on the them within a span of six months as the city saw both the Assembly as well as Union elections. But all in vain," says Ritu Chahal, a south Delhi resident.

Chahal adds: "The rains and the consequent ruination of roads raises the question as to whether the city roads have failed the residents of Delhi. And the answer is a resounding 'Yes'."

Concerned residents have already trained their guns on the Sheila Dikshit government. Nirmal Kumar, a Kalkaji resident and a reader at DU, says: "The government rightly claims to have made Delhi a city of flyovers and has even won the Delhi election on the development plank. But one short spell of rain has exposed all that."

He says: "This has bared Delhi's ugly face. What Dikshit's government was trying to achieve by making immaculate plans, her engineers and contractors messed it up by doing the opposite. The moth-eaten bureaucracy and engineering department were conspiring to plunder the taxpayers' money in the most blatant manner."

Reddy says that in most cases, the situation arises due to the same cause — drainage. Most of these roads lack side drains. "The drainage holds the key to any road's durability. Care should be taken that water drains out faster and does not stagnate on the surface, particularly during the monsoon," he says.

He adds, "Unfortunately, civic engineers pay little attention while laying out the road surface and the layers are not maintained evenly which makes the water stagnate. Special attention must be paid while maintaining a proper 'crossed slope', technically called camber."
ha ha, expecting civil Engineers of the MCD to think ahead is expecting piggies to fly.

Actually, Delhi represents everything that local and state Governments in India are: slow, small-minded and corrupt.
 

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Live in India, NRI style

Bhaskar's complex, which draws inspiration from the skylines of high-rise condominiums in advanced economies, is just one of a slew of self-contained enclaves that dot cities and suburbs like Mumbai, Bangalore, Noida and Gurgaon.

They're indicative of a major push India's real estate sector has launched to woo overseas Indians. And as investment in the Indian real estate market fast catches the imagination of non-resident Indians (NRIs), it has triggered a mad scramble among builders to come up with plush villas and housing complexes especially for overseas clientele.

Omaxe Construction is setting up an exclusive NRI City at Noida near Delhi. The company has also launched a Rs.1.1-billion ($24.22 million) project for high net worth Indians, both resident and non-resident.

Named "The Forest" and adjoining a 325-acre green belt, the project is already under development.

Omaxe is setting up 105 ultra luxury apartments costing between Rs.15 million and Rs.24 million, complete with features such as a personal health club for each apartment, hi-tech security and glitzy façades in glass and metal.


The Royal Indian Raj International Corporation (RIRIC), a consortium of overseas Indians, is building a "Royal Garden City" in Bangalore. It is being projected as Asia's largest single completely web-enabled housing enclave.

The project comprises 35,000 residential units, a central business district, industrial units, entertainment centres, parks, restaurants, shopping, educational facilities and civic amenities.
 
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