Land value hike windfall for many in Gurgaon

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Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, November 20
A manifold increase in the value of land in Gurgaon, especially in the last about eight years, has helped many to reap rich dividends, but the flip side is the erosion of social and cultural norms and spurt in crime.

The sleepy and dusty villages which were earlier part of the hinterland and rank rural belt have now become a part of the booming Gurgaon urban estate, courtesy the entry of private colonisers and urbanisation pushed in by the state.

The cataclysmic effect of this all is an exponential appreciation in the value of land. Although Gurgaonís urbanisation started late in mid-eighties, it picked momentum in the nineties. Thereafter, the pace has been breathtaking, especially after the Congress came to power in 2005.

Jagdish Singh of Ghata village, who is a beneficiary of the boom in land value, said traditionally, Gurgaon was not strong in agriculture as the area was sandy. Coupled with lack of industrialisation, the populace was generally not well off financially till the late eighties.

However, with urbanisation, the government started acquiring agricultural land. The huge financial compensation to the farmers and landowners sent excitement among the people. With the passage of time, the compensation money increased due to period revision in circle rates.

It was a blessing from the sky to the farmers and landlords when private colonisers commenced business here. They latter include the DLF, Unitech, Ansals, Ram Prastha, Vatika, BPTP, Shobha Builders and MGF EMAAR, to name a few.

While in the mid-nineties compensation to the farmers was in the range of Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh per acre, the amount increased gradually. However, the private builders now purchase land at whopping market rates.

They range from about Rs 4 crore to Rs 13 crore per acre. For example, a private firm has recently purchased land at Rs 13 crore per acre in Behrampur village.

Ram Dhan of Kakrola-Bhagrola village, who had windfall by the sale of his agricultural land said realtors and middlemen and brokers working as agents of private builders made a fast buck on account of hefty commission running into crores.

With business in real estate becoming a money-spinning vocation, every second man in villages, albeit lacking formal education and vocational degrees, took to it. Thousands of realtor offices mushroomed in Gurgaon.

With land value hitting the roof and accommodation becoming dearer, landowners in villages make money by letting out their premises to those in the low income group, including labourers, at high rates. Although Silokhra, Sukhrali, Ghata, Jharsa villages stand out, the examples are aplenty.

The other side of the story is disturbing. With fast and ready money in hand, men, especially the youth, appear to have taken to bad ways.

They are convinced that formal education beyond the basic level for a decent livelihood is unnecessary. Lack of formal education among the younger generation has made them brash and headstrong.

More often than not, youths in villages live life in the fast lane on account of windfall to the family. No wonder, a large number of glitzy liquor vends and restaurants have sprung up.

However, with agricultural land gobbled up in the process of urbanisation, they have no other avocation left. They are ciphers in the job market. Hence, the shortage of lucre after having burnt holes in their pockets drives them to all kinds of crime.

Although there are umpteen villages where agriculture land has vanished, Jharsa, Gawal Pahdi, Ullawaas, Ramgarh Dhani, Badshahpur, Tikri, Fazilpur, Shikohpur, Nawada, Naharpur can be cited as examples.

Other social evils the money contributed to is the deepening of the dowry system and ostentation on social occasions. Also, the land mafia has become active. It indulges in poaching of land and illegally set up colonies.


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