Group President, Group Managing Director & Editor In Chief: Dr.Shelly Ahmed

Thursday, March 19, 2009

AMBALA: THE NORTH’S REAL ESTATE HOT SPOT

By M H Ahssan

Ambala, a prominent transit city between the capital cities of Chandigarh and Delhi, seems to have successfully caught the eye of realtors with the initiation of the six-lane highway project which eventually will shorten the travelling time by an hour after the project is completed.

Ambala, the historical district of Haryana, is yearning for true genesis of its identity and is slowly but surely opening up to real estate investments that were non-existent till a couple of years ago. Till recently, the city had a limited industrial base comprising small-scale manufacturing industries of scientific and surgical instruments, textile goods, metal casting, kitchen mixer grinder manufacturing and submersible motor pump manufacturing units. The road-widening project seems to have given the real estate market a real push with real estates companies such as Unitech, Reliance Industries and DLF believed to be acquiring land for their SEZs in Naraingarh which is 35 km from Ambala on the Chandigarh-Barwala-Nahan road. The industrial food park at Saha, being developed by The Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC), 15 km from the Ambala cantonment on the Ambala -Jagadhari road, is already a major activity hub.

After more than 32 years of its existence, the Haryana government has recently taken the initiative to augment the municipal limits of the Ambala Cannt (Sadar) from 6.33 square km to 24.24 square kilometres and is expected to upgrade the existing basic facilities like sewerage system, water supply and roads. According to a government official a total of 4,830 acres will be acquired in this process from 14 villages and added to the existing Municipal Committee which will add another 70,000 to the existing population under the MC area.

Over the decades, a major part of the cantonment area remained out of bounds for not just realty players but also for residents who could not undertake new constructions as the Centre was the custodian of land. However, the decision of the Centre in 2008 to release over 11,000 acres of land falling in the Ambala cantonment to the Haryana government promises to bring a sea change in the development scenario of the city. Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj CEO, Business, India, Sanjay Dutt feels that the district has a good investment future in the long-term. “Ambala is a good market driver. With the surrounding areas of Zirakpur, Kharar being developed, it will be the next stop,” he said.

With Chandigarh, which was a popular retirement abode for ex servicemen, reaching a saturation point, Ambala is becoming a popular retirement base for an increasing number of Indian defence personnel. As a divisional headquarters of the Northern Railway, Ambala is an important railway junction for states up north of Delhi. Not just that the cantonment being as old as 1843 and a home for the ‘2 Corps’, which is one of the three strike corps of the Indian Army, along with the Indian Air Force’s largest air base housing Jaguras and MiG-21 Bisons make the place all the more lucrative and convenient as a retirement abode for the ex servicemen.

In anticipation of tapping this potential, upcoming colonies and government projects on NH-22 and the Ambala -Jagadhari road are vying to offer the best facilities for the prospective residents. Prominent among these are the Vatika Group which is coming up with its group-housing scheme to be followed by commercial property on over 170 acres of land in the Ambala City. The group is also giving out plots at a going rate of Rs 7,500 per square yard. The plots are available in 240 yards, 300, 500 and 1,000 categories.

Ambala Property Consultant Association general secretary RN Samrat sees a bright future ahead as the town is developing at a fast pace. “Buyers are looking for facilities that were given naturally to suburban dwellers in satellite towns like Noida, Chandigarh and Gurgaon,” he said. According to him the Ambala-Jagadhari road was witnessing a lot of private development with Delhibased groups expected to bring housing projects on 100-acres-plus land. In order to give a further boost to new development, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has set up three new sectors — 32, 33 and 34 which fall between the cantonment and the city. HUDA has plans to add 30 more sectors as part of its expansions, and the current rates of government plot range from Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 per square yard.

HUDAs sectors 9, 10, 11 in Ambala city are currently fetching a price of Rs 6,000 to Rs 15,000 per square yard. The houses are six marla, 10 marlas, 14 marlas and one kanal. Whereas, in Ambala cantonment, private colonies such as Agrasen Nagar, Ekta Vihar and Rani Vihar are being sold at Rs 10,000 per square yard. The plot ranges from four marlas (100 square yards) to one kanal (600 square yard).
A cursory glance at the landscape along the approach road to Ambala offers nothing but an indication of the changing times. The area is dotted with projects such as Dreamland Colony, Defence City and Omaxe Greens, which have come up in Punjab even though they are practically an extension of Ambala. The twin accessibility to these areas from both Ambala cantonment and Ambala City further adds values to these projects.
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