The Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (Huda) has become a wholesaler, it will no longer retail land to ordinary citizens. Henceforth it will sell or lease huge chunks of land to only real estate companies who will build apartment complexes. This will deprive ordinary citizens a chance to own a plot.

Huda's metamorphosis into a real estate broker follows some high profile land auctions it undertook last year like the Golden Mile project in Kokapet which saw land prices hit the sky. The entire auction was worth nearly Rs 700 crore, though Huda had to return Rs 400 crore to the successful bidders who bought 80 acres of land due to legal tangles.

The logic of Huda officials is that as land is becoming scarce in the city and outskirts so it makes no sense to auction house plots but instead sell or lease land to private developers to build apartment complexes. "The days when people could easily buy house plots are over in the city. They will have to buy apartments now," Huda vice-chairman Jayesh Ranjan told 'STOI' on Saturday.

But analysts perceive that its decision is because the government is depending more and more on revenue generating bodies like Huda to finance its various development programmes. Huda would either sell or lease about 2,000 acres of its land in the city and periphery to private companies to raise a record Rs 5,000 crore this year.

Huda owns 4,400 acres of land worth thousands of crores in Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and Medak districts. At a recent board meeting, Huda had pegged its expenditure for 2007-08 at Rs 5,000 crore, which means that the urban body would have to raise that much money to spend. Huda does not get any allocation from the state government and as such it would have to raise the entire Rs 5,000 by taking up commercial projects. This is a record outlay in the history of Huda and double that of last year during which it raised Rs 2,500 crore.
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  • Huda townships have few takers

    The proposal of the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (Huda) to develop six townships around the Outer Ring Road (ORR) under public-private-partnership (PPP) has not evoked much response from land owners and farmers.
    The Huda board had recently approved a proposal to develop integrated townships in Nadargul, Turkayemjal, Inzapur, Adibhatla, Mankal and Raikunta with the involvement of farmers and land owners.

    As part of the deal, Huda will develop the layout and encourages private companies to construct integrated townships. Huda has identified 1,200 acres of government land and plans to acquire another 1,200 acres of private land for the townships. Having faced bitter experiences in land acquisition for the ORR Huda approved the PPP mode to avoid complications.

    As per the proposal, Huda and land owners will get each 25 per cent of land while 50 per cent is allotted for urban infrastructure like roads, drainage system and parks. The land value will shoot up after the development of the townships. This will benefit land owners even though they are given 25 per cent of the land. However, in some areas, Huda offers only 600 square yards after considering the land value.
    Some farmers are not happy and are demanding more than 1,500 square yards of land per acre. The value of each acre is more than Rs 1 crore in areas along the ORR. The value will not be more than Rs 3 crores even after development. So the farmers want more share in the layouts.

    Only farmers of Mankal have come forward to give their land though Huda officials claim that more than 80 per cent of the farmers are ready to participate and the rest can be convinced. Land acquisition officers will hold meetings with reluctant farmers where the townships will be built.
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