The rise of information technology did two things to Hyderabad found the city a spot on the global tech map, and rendered its twin, Secunderabad, largely irrelevant. With the rich IT-driven investments choosing the western corridor as their preferred destination, the rest -including government authorities, developers, traders and even a section of residents -immediately turned their backs on the north.This, despite it being home to at least one-third the population of the twin cities.
Now, after a decade and half, with the Telangana half, with the Telangana government readying itself to shift its offices to the Bison Polo Ground, will the fate of Secunderabad finally change? The verdict is still ambiguous, at least within the real estate sector.
While some point to an already northward growth in landproperty rates in areas such as Sainikpuri and Mahendra Hills in the core and Yapral and Kompally (technically, Ranga Reddy district) on the fringes, others feel that a bursting-at-itsseams Secunderabad doesn’t have too much to aspire. The madding traffic only makes it worse, they add.
“I see great opportunity. Secunderabad is a value-for-money market where a buyer can get a 1,800 to 1,900 square feet (sft) house if they put in Rs 60-70 lakh. In the IT hub, the same price will fetch them a much smaller place with limited amenities. Hence, the former has tremendous potential for growth,” said Tapas Patel, CEO of Om Sree Builders and Developers that has some extremely successful residential projects in Yapral.
He added: “Traffic has been a concern. But with Outer Ring Road in place and the Strategic Road Development Plan waiting to be rolled out between the Secunderabad Club and Hakimpet Air Force Station, this issue too will be resolved considerably .”
Developers like him draw faith from the changing profile of home-buyers who aren’t any longer limited to old-timers from Secunderabad. It now also includes traders (with mid and large businesses), defence personnel and IT executives, many of who have jobs on the other side of the city.
“Travelling 45 minutes to get home from office doesn’t seem too bad when you know you are going back to a much serene surrounding. This side of town is still greener and the houses more expansive,” said Satyajit S, living in one of the many villas dot ting Kompally’s landscape.
There are other advantages too. Secunderabad is the hub of education with at least 300 schools, 30 engineering colleges and four medical institutions sitting pretty within its limits.
There is also a generous count of hospitals and local bazaars. What it’s missing though, is a large employment base.”The city’s growth story has been very linear. It has moved from Hi-Tec City to Kondapur to Gachibowli and beyond .
Unlike in cities such as Bengaluru, where T development has taken IT development has taken place across the four corners, thereby generating employment all over, in Hyderabad the growth has been entirely limited to the west,” explained Ashwin Rao, director, Manbhum Constructions that has a footprint in the north and the west.
Making a case for Kompal ly, he urged the government to turn its attention towards this pocket -an “extension” of Secunderabad with sufficient land on offer -to set up an industrial or IT Park to plug this gap.
But while the lack of job seekers-turn of job seekers-turning-home buyers is still keeping most big-tick et development firms away from Secunder abad, realtors are gradually starting to take note of this ignored twin.
Among them is Anarock, a realty servic es firm (for merly known as JLL Residential) that’s recently surveyed the Sainikpuri belt.
“Our initial readings show that there is traction in this market. Apartment rates here are now reasonably higher -Rs 3,200 to Rs 3,300 per sft -and plotted development too is slowing opening up. With connectivity to the airport improving, thanks to the ORR, buyers are showing increased interest in this location,” said Satish Vadaga, city lead, Anarock.