Madurai, a tier-two city in southern Tamil Nadu, best known for its temple and jasmine flowers, is expanding on all sides, thanks to height restrictions on buildings within the city, growing wealth, increasing availability of facilities such as mini-bus services to suburbs, and anticipation of investments especially in the IT and BPO sectors.

Thanks to Madurai’s heritage town status, the state government had passed a regulation restricting the height of buildings to nine meters within one kilometer radius from Meenakshi Amman temple, and to 15 meters up to the city limit.

Developers in the city say while the height restrictions are justifiable in areas near the temple, it doesn’t make sense in other parts of the city. However, as is the case with 25 odd heritage towns in the state, these vertical caps remain. The result: it has had an adverse effect on the development of tall appartments, and the city has been going horizontally instead of vertically.

Today, Madurai suburbs are where all the action takes place, as the city spreads out rapidly. Tall coconut trees and paddy fields are making way for residential plots and gated communities as mini buses permitted by government reach out to far flung areas and transport people at low cost.

The northern suburbs of the city has seen most action as a branch of the Tamil Nadu High court has been set up there to serve the southern cities. The real estate prices which doubled as soon as this announcement was made a couple of years back, is continuing its upward journey, thanks to investments in infrastructure and IT.

A state government sponsored IT park is also in the vicinity, and a couple of other IT park developers are looking at this location. Moreover, the proposed four way road connecting the state capital Chennai to the southern tip Kanyakumari is set to pass through this area. It also houses a modern bus station. As a result, prices in the area have risen eight fold to Rs 1 crore an acre in the last four years.

The southern side of the city, which houses the Madurai Kamaraj University, is witnessing frenzied activity as the state government is to set up an IT park there. Large swings in real estate prices have taken place in the area as it is very underdeveloped currently.

The broader reason behind the price movements is the expectation that more investments would flow into the city, driven by its low cost and relatively low real estate costs. Madurai houses a large number of arts, science and engineering colleges. The region, including other southern states, produce 15,000 engineering graduates annually, with over 6,000 of them going to Bangalore and Chennai for employment.

The city centre, with many areas around the Meenakshi temple, which are a few centuries old, continues to be the nerve centre for economic activity especially for small business. Real estate rentals in the inner city limits hover around Rs 50 per sq ft.

On the residential side, good quality constructions range from Rs 1,000 a sq ft to Rs 2,000 a sq ft in up market areas, while residential rentals vary greatly based on location. Sahara City Homes is setting up a huge project in the suburbs. Local players such as Visvas Promoters and Sashwath Constructions have a good number of residential projects under development.

Organised retail is just beginning to get a toe hold in the city and the real estate valuations are largely built on the hope of IT majors setting shop in the city in the next few years.


News Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com
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  • Can anyone list down the fastest growing areas in Madurai?

    In terms of percentage growth and future prospective.
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  • Paddy fields converted to housing plots in Kanyakumari's Kalkulam, alleges PIL
    The officials who are supposed to prevent illegal conversion of the said agricultural paddy fields have failed to act.
    TNN | Aug 10, 2016, 02.00 PM IST

    MADURAI: A public interest litigation (PIL) petition before the Madurai bench of the Madras high court said several acres of paddy fields at Kalkulam in Kanyakumari district have been converted into housing plots.

    Activists S P Udayakumar and R S Lal Mohan have jointly filed the PIL stating that many irrigation canals passing through paddy fields in the Kalkulam system tank ayacut have been blocked and the lands converted as housing plots. The officials who are supposed to prevent illegal conversion of the said agricultural paddy fields have failed to act. Instead, they approved the layout and granted plan approval, the petitioners said.

    They sought a direction to quash the illegal layout, to reopen the blocked irrigation canals, to demolish the illegal constructions on agricultural fields, to restore the paddy fields and irrigation canals to their original condition and to initiate action against the people involved. A division bench of justices Nooty Ramamohana Rao and S S Sundar ordered notices to 15 people, including the secretary of the state housing and urban development, director of the department of town and country planning, the Kanyakumari collector, the public works executive engineer and the superintendent of police.

    According to the petitioners, the Kalkulam system tank was spread over 4.3 acres and the ayacut agricultural paddy fields spread over 90 acres. The tank and the fields were a source of livelihood for 10,000 people living in Kaniyankulam, Putheri, Kalunkadi, Puliyadi, Erachkulam and Navalkadu. This ayacut is one of the best productive paddy fields in the district. About 150 tonnes of paddy is cultivated during a single crop and 250 tonnes during the double crop seasons. Sometimes triple crop cultivation is also done.

    Pointing to the disappearance of water tanks, they said that as per the 1962 census, there were 3,500 tanks in the district. But in the 1998 census the number had come down to 2,407. Due to this paddy cultivation has come down from 53,034 hectares in 1975 to 22,000 hectares in 2008. And the paddy production came down from 3.2 lakh tonnes in 1950 to 1.2 lakh tonnes in 2008.

    The petitioners said the present president of Putheri village panchayat T Lakshmanan Pillai had colluded with real estate mafia and approved a layout without prior approval of the town and country planning authority.





    Paddy fields converted to housing plots in Kanyakumari's Kalkulam, alleges PIL | ET RealEstate
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