Mysore city authorities have a proposal for farmers who own land in and around the city: Part with your plot for nothing and get 18% of it back after it is developed and potentially more valuable.
The Mysore Urban Development Authority (Muda) thinks it’s offering a good deal to farmers as it competes with private developers for land to build public housing in a city where property prices have doubled in 18 months. Whether the offer will find takers is in some doubt.
A. Rudrappa, joint director (planning) at Muda said, “The objective is to give back farmers 18% of their own land, after it is developed, so that they get to retain the asset”. Further he said, “It will also prevent them from being cheated by builders who often don’t pay them the entire amount.”
Muda has 1.5 lakh applications pending for public housing in Mysore, the largest city in Karnataka after Bangalore, the state capital and India’s Information Technology hub. The agency’s inability to pay market price for farmland has driven landowners to private developers and sent property valuations soaring.
The 18% land-back offer is based on the average cost estimation of developed and undeveloped land that showed farmers would benefit even if they get back less than one-fifth of their original holding, according to officials at the urban development department in Bangalore.
Developed land would include access to amenities such as electricity, water and sewerage, enhancing its potential for commercial development.
Sudarshan Rao, a Mysore property consultant who has brokered land deals said, “For many farmers, land is a liability and they want to sell it off quickly to repay debt or start some new business. They wouldn’t wait for a period of two-three years till the land gets developed and he gets partial ownership of it”.
According to farmers, land demand is huge. Farmers are not sure what kind of development will happen and what would they earn after selling their land.
Developers have bought up large parcels of agricultural land in areas such as Nanjungud Road, T Narsipur Road, Hunsur Road and HD Kote Road in and around the city, in the belief that Mysore was the next real estate market.
In the last one year, top developers such as Unitech Ltd, Emaar MGF Land Ltd, Sobha Developers Ltd, Nitesh Estates and Total Environment System have acquired land in and around Mysore. But while developers rushed in and property prices soared, little development has taken place. Most projects are yet to break ground in the city that is still waiting for its first shopping mall.
Developers say that they are waiting for an opportune time to launch their projects. said Nitesh Mani, chief executive officer of Nitesh Estates, which plans to develop an IT park in Mysore, “Though many developers have bought land, no one is jumping into development right away”. Further he said, “It is important to choose the right kind of project in Mysore.”
Praveen Kumar, associate director at property consultancy Jones Land LaSalle Meghraj said, “Selling the land to private developers at market value would be a better option for landowners because they don’t know what kind of development and infrastructure that would come up on that land once they get it back”.