HYDERABAD: Multiple court cases, government crackdowns and the failing health of Durgam Cheruvu notwithstanding, the upscale surroundings of the freshwater lake in Madhapur continue to be a realty hotspot. Briefly deterred by reports of illegal constructions – some, right on the Full Tank level (FTL) of the water body – the area appears to be racing back to prosperity now with residential ventures witnessing a steady flow of customers, albeit their steep prices.
A scan through the neighbourhood, on a usual business day, reveals just that. From independent homes and modest standalone buildings to swank gated communities, layouts in and around Durgam Cheruvu are crowded with construction activity. Their cost: anywhere between Rs 4,500 and Rs 7,500 per square feet (sft).
“The situation has only recently improved. Though we are still flooded with queries about the legality of the project (whether it is on the FTL), buyers are willing to invest once their concerns are addressed,” said D Srikanth Reddy, senior manager (sales & marketing) of DSR Infrastructure Pvt Ltd’s venture ‘Fortune Prime’. Not too far from the Inorbit Mall, the project started in March 2015 and is now selling for Rs 6,000 per sft (on an average).
On the other side, the Amar Co-operative Society too is flushed with ongoing constructions. Though caught in legal tangles many times over, the high rentals the locality generates has, both builders and customers, rushing in to park their moolah there. Independent homes in the society fetch Rs 50,000 or more as monthly rent at present.
“This layout was sanctioned by erstwhile HUDA in 1997. Now it is not proper for the irrigation department to raise fingers and say it sits on the lake’s FTL. Every house here has been constructed after procuring all necessary permissions. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has even laid cement roads here,” said M Padmanabh Reddy, president of the colony’s residents’ welfare association.
Realtors too make light of the accusations that areas around Durgam Cheruvu are battling. In spite of all oddities, including the overpowering stench of the heavily polluted lake, they insist that homes in that part of ‘hi-tech’ Hyderabad are selling like hotcake. “Its location is its greatest advantage. The rental yields are so high because people are willing to pay that price to live close to what is considered one of the poshest pockets of Hyderabad. Even a small apartment here fetches at least Rs 25,000 per month as rent,” said an industry insider. He, however, added a word of caution: “Buying property in the area is ideal for short-term investment. But in the long run, owing to the deteriorating condition of Durgam Cheruvu and poor civic system, these ventures will lose their sheen. Already people in communities constructed over a decade or more ago, are struggling to resell their properties.”
While Shyam Rao Jupally, managing director, My Home Constructions does not deny that “the lake (also called the Secret Lake) is getting polluted due to rapid growth of population”, he is certain of the realty industry growing impressively around it. “We anticipate steady growth in prices with initiatives taken by GHMC in protecting lakes, water bodies and proposed sky bridge connecting Jubilee Hills to west Hyderabad,” he said, while appealing to authorities to “impose strict policies and spread awareness on hazards of water pollution, hence progressing towards sustainable development.”
My Home Abhra is among the swankiest projects dotting the landscape of Madhapur.
Environmentalists, of course, aren’t as upbeat. “Increase in demand might be good news of developers, but it is very bad news for Durgam Cheruvu. It is already critically polluted due to the sewerage pumped into it routinely by swanky residential and commercial projects. Further growth will kill it,” rued environmentalist Capt J Rama Rao lashing out at civic authorities for doing precious little. “But then, where there is money, such concerns are hardly paid heed to,” he candidly added.
Credits ET Realty