Daily Archives: October 9, 2012

Residential apartments gained pace in small towns

Residential apartmentsConstruction of multi-storied residential apartments has gained pace in small towns, which boasted only of standalone houses built by individual owners till recently.

Contrary to real estate development centered around the Cuttack-Puri-Bhubaneswar triangle alone earlier, several residential projects are coming up in Angul, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Balasore, Bhadrak, and Berhampur, among other towns. Apart from individual merits of certain towns because of industrial activities around them and their strategic locations, apartment culture is picking up across Odisha towns, industry insiders said.

Around 50 apartments with a total of 10,000 dwelling units are under different stages of construction in Berhampur alone. “People prefer apartments and planned constructions to buying land these days. Salaried employees have disposable money but don’t have time to construct a house by employing a contractor on their own. They are the large clientele here,” said P K Rajeev, a developer in the south Odisha town.

Berhampur with its good road and rail connectivity is a gateway to south Odisha, making it a preferred destination for people from neighbouring districts to invest and own a house here. The real estate price here is now as high as Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000 per sq ft, only a little less than the price in Bhubaneswar.

Jharsuguda, an emerging industrial town, where the government is planning the state’s second airport, is coming up as another real estate hub. “Besides apartments, simplex and duplex houses, there are huge takers for plot schemes here,” said Sajid Hussain, a developer there. With per sq ft price of Rs 1,350 to Rs 2,500, buyers are finding two bedroom houses below Rs 20,000, which is very cheap for them, he added.

Sambalpur is witnessing similar vertical and horizontal expansion with multiple developers undertaking huge projects. “Local residents staying outside the city for their jobs are the largest section of buyers in Sambalpur. This may be their post-retirement settlement plans,” said Sambalpur Development Authority (SDA) chairman Bijay Mohanty.

In Bargarh, rice millers who had to down their shutters after the government decided to shift them outside the town some years ago, are using the available land to develop residential projects. Besides, apartments are also coming up on virgin land close to the upcoming bypass road of the NH. “Because of affordable land cost, our pricing is far lower compared to cities like Bhubaneswar, giving a chance to the low middle income groups to own a house here,” said Jay Prakash Agarwal, a developer in Bargarh. The per square feet price of house starts from Rs 1,300 here with two bedroom flat available at Rs 13 lakh to Rs 15 lakh.

Developers said with land price skyrocketing in Bhubaneswar, housing cost in the city is exceptionally high. “This is ruling out a substantial section of low middle class families from buying a house in Bhubaneswar. These people can easily afford houses in the district towns. Many others who have money tend to own houses both in the state capital and in their native towns,” said Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India state president D S Tripathy. Development of ports and industrialization in coastal districts has helped real estate activities in towns like Bhadrak and Balasore, he said.

Coal ministry asks Odisha to expedite action taken report on illegal mining

At a time when controversy surrounding block allocations has caught different coal bearing states in a bind, the Ministry of Coal has urged the Odisha government to submit its action taken report at the earliest in connection with illegal coal mining activities.

In the light of observations made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on coal & steel, Coal secretary S K Srivastava has asked Odisha chief secretary B K Patnaik to expedite the action taken reports so that they can be compiled and sent to the Lok Sabha secretariat.

Though the Coal ministry had written to the state chief secretary earlier on the matter in December 2011, the state government was yet to apprise the ministry on action taken in respect of illegal coal mining.

Waking up rather belatedly to the directive of the Coal ministry, the Odisha steel & mines department has now urged Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) and collectors of four districts- Angul, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundergarh to comply with the recommendations of the Parliamentary panel. The department has also suggested that the recommendations be discussed in the meeting of the district level task force.

The Parliamentary Standing committee had observed that the natural resources of the country are being plundered at the cost of national economy and destruction of environment. The panel was of the opinion that officials responsible to curb illegal mining are either indifferent or too scared to stop the menace.

“Officers of personnel and legal departments of coal companies should make all endeavours to ensure that the criminal trials pending for legal and unauthorized coal mining are ended with conviction. Unfortunately, the coal companies could not produce any facts and data, establishing the appropriate steps taken in this regard. The committee deprecates such a lackadaisical attitude of coal companies. It is unfortunate that in cases of such huge illegal coal mining, there is not a single conviction made by appropriate court by reason of non-persuasion of such case either by the appropriate government or by the coal companies”, the committee stated in its report.

Moreover, there is utter lack of coordination between the Central and concerned state governments and among various coal companies. While the Centre has exclusive powers to make laws with respect to regulation of mines and major mineral development, the state governments are mainly responsible for implementing such laws. The committee recommended that the coal producing states should frame rules and set up an inter-state joint intelligence and action force to combat the problem of illegal mining.

It had called for better monitoring, policing and creating job opportunities for the poor in areas where the problem of illegal mining is prevalent. The panel also observed that except for Jharkhand, no major study has been undertaken by any coal producing state or coal companies to ascertain the extent of loss of money due
to illegal coal mining.

Man gets death for rape, murder of minor in Odisha

Guilty Pradeep DalaiA court in Odisha Monday awarded death sentence to a man convicted earlier for raping and murdering a minor, a lawyer said. B.P. Routray, district and sessions judge of district headquarters of Sambalpur, sentenced to death Pradip Dalai (28) for abduction, rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl in the same town Sep 2. The judge had found Dalai guilty Oct 1, however, the judgment came Monday.

“Today the judge awarded death sentence to the guilty,” public prosecutor Artatran Mishra said . He added, justice was delivered within 35 days of the  crime. “This is probably for the first time that justice has been delivered by a court so swiftly in this region, Mishra said.

The man was arrested Sep 3, a day after he committed the crime, and police brought charges against him within a week of the crime.