By Anil Pharande
Widely called the lifeblood of any urban ecosystem, infrastructure is the very foundation of city functioning and plays a crucial role in shaping its future. Infrastructure like transportation, power, telecommunications, electricity, water, sanitation and proper disposal of waste, are all central to urban growth.
Studies also prove that countries with better infrastructure facilities – such as Singapore or Hong Kong – enjoy higher economic growth, more employment opportunities, and better living standards. Infrastructure projects not only act as a driver for real estate development but also directly influence real estate prices. In fact, infrastructure is one of the prime influencers for property appreciation.
Research by international property consultants Knight Frank Research shows that between 2008 and 2015, residential prices within a 10-minute walking radius of London’s ongoing Crossrail stations (approved in 2007) saw more than 57% price growth. By comparison, the prime central London areas saw only 40% price growth in the same period. The values will go up further in 2022 when the central section of the project becomes operational.
We have seen similar trends in key markets in cities across India. According to a study by JLL India, property prices in some projects on Gurgaon’s Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road increased 80% in the 2006-2010 period – from around INR 5,000/sq. ft. in 2006 (when the Delhi metro was announced) to almost INR 9,000/sq. ft. in 2010 when a phase became operational. In the same period, other areas outside the metro’s ‘influence zone’ saw a 40-50% rise.
PMRDA’s Infrastructure Thrust
Other than impacting property prices, better access to improved infrastructure services creates a favorable investment climate for foreign investors and is thus a vital engine for sustainable economic growth. It is with this vision, and more, that the Urban Development department of Maharashtra established the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) on 31st March 2015.
Besides ensuring sustainable growth, PMRDA has been entrusted to build and develop Pune Metropolitan Region (PMR) as one the most preferred and attractive investment destinations.
The area under PMR includes the twin cities of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad and the tehsils of Maval, Mulshi, Haveli and some parts of the talukas of Bhor, Daund, Shirur, Khed, Purandar and Velhe. Overall, PMRDA has a jurisdictional area of 7,256.46 sq. km. with a population of approx. 72.76 lakh, making it the largest urban unit in the state.
From Metro rail to Pune Ring Road to township planning schemes, the PMRDA has emerged as one of the most efficient planning authorities (in less than six years) in charge of various infra projects crucial to the city of Pune and its surrounding areas. The Shivajinagar-Hinjewadi metro project, being developed by PMRDA, will make it much easier for IT professionals who travel to IT parks from various parts of the city.
Likewise, the 128-km long Pune Ring Road will prove to be a major gamechanger in boosting all-round connectivity, benefiting all areas in and around Pune city.
Further, along the lines of Ahmedabad city, PMRDA also planned to develop 46 town planning schemes around the Ring Road. Both these projects are planned to be developed simultaneously. Although delayed due to COVID-19, the first town planning scheme at Mahalunge-Maan is a model project which is set to change the skyline of the locality when ready, making it a modern and upscale region to live in.
Over and above, PMRDA’s objective is to turn PMR into a world-class economic hub by building a sound and sustainable infrastructure that will also help in improving the quality of living for the citizens of Pune and adjoining areas. Ultimately, an ‘infrastructure first’ approach can ensure that a city remains functional in the present and is ready for the future. It will also be on top of the foreign investor’s list.
Anil Pharande is CMD of Pharande Spaces, a leading real estate construction and development firm famous for its township properties in West Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer of townships in West Pune. Anil Pharande is also President – CREDAI (Pune Metro) and a MahaRERA conciliation forum member.