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Realty focus to shift from Noida to Lucknow

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Lucknow may well become the new real estate capital of under the Samajwadi Party’s rule in the state, a clear shift from Noida at present.

While Noida and Greater Noida, next to Delhi, had gained in prominence under as the UP chief minister, Lucknow would get the same treatment now, experts said after the results to the five state elections were announced.

Many real estate players in the Noida region are a worried lot on Tuesay. Mega projects such as construction of the Formula 1 motor racing track were possible due to considerable political backing during the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) regime. However, farmers, caught in the recent land acquisition row in the same area are rejoicing after the UP election result.

Among the projects that could suffer a setback include the Greater Noida International Airport, large townships and the Ganga Expressway (linking one end of UP to another), say analysts. “During Mayawati’s time, Noida was the central point in Uttar Pradesh. With Mulayam Singh Yadav, the focus will now shift to Lucknow,” according to Anubhav Gupta, analyst, Kim Eng Securities, a global brokerage firm.

Another analyst, Sanjay Sharma of Qubrex, referred to industrialist Subrata Roy’s close associations with the SP. “They (Sahara) would gain. Sahara has in Lucknow and various places in Uttar Pradesh. They have acquired a lot of land in UP,” he said.

Even small developers in Lucknow are set to benefit, says Gupta.

The Jaypee Group, which enabled the Formula 1 race in India last year at a state-of-the-arts track, remained out of bounds on Tuesay from the time the news of the Samajwadi win started trickling in. Sameer Gaur, managing director and chief execuive officer of Jaypee Sports, could not be reached for comment. No other company official was available, either. The SP had demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the alleged partnership between Jaypee and Mayawati for the F1 track. The allegation was that the realty group was given farmers’ land at throwaway prices and exempted from entertainment tax. Gaur had clarified the company stand on the issue at that point.

Speculation
While some analysts suggested Jaypee may face the SP heat now, others argued the group had projects under Mulayam Singh's earlier stint, too. Although the group got a boost during the Mayawati regime, its projects would continue to run, an analyst saidt. No Jaypee projects are likely to get cancelled, he added.

Acquisition of land may become difficult, said an analyst. The prices in Noida will come down, and ultimately in Gurgaon and Faridabad, too, according to Gupta.

There may be some ambiguity over the next three to six months as far as real estate is concerned, said a top representative at a real estate think tank. The equations will work out with the new government after the initial months.

Projects were also suspended during the transition from Mulayam Singh to Mayawati. “However the projects suspended by the Mayawati government were restored later,” pointed out an insider.

But farmers are a relieved lot, as Mulayam Singh Yadav had supported a better set of land acquisition rules. “Farmers will be dealt with better in terms of compensation. Yadav had said in February as well that on coming to power, his party would not allow forced acquisition of farmers' land,” said R R Singh, director general, National Real Estate Development Council.

“Mayawati had close proximity to the real estate players. She destroyed the farmers. Our lands were taken away from us and even till date, we have not got the compensation in terms of land”, said Balraj Yadav, farmer leader, Patwari village. He said they’d petitioned the Supreme Court, but were hopeful of the matter being resolved out of court during Mulayam Singh’s rule.

R K Arora, chairman of Supertech, the realty developer, told Business Standard he was hopeful of the SP working for development of the state. “The acquisition of land will continue with the change in government,” he said. He said he also hoped the master plan for NCR projects could be approved in March itself. The next meeting of the NCR Planning Board is scheduled for March 26.

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