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HUDA plans fresh auction for Nandagiri plots

By M.L.Melly Maitreyi

HYDERABAD, APRIL 28. Those were the auctions that created a record of sorts and set a new benchmark for land prices in the posh Jubilee Hills.

When the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA) auctioned 75 plots in Nandagiri Hills of Jubilee Hills area in February this year, many vied with one another to own plots. The frenzied bidding had land prices going through the roof leaving many upper middle class and Non-Resident Indian (NRI) buyers dreaming of constructing a house in the upmarket area, shell-shocked and disappointed.

However, about 50 per cent of the plots that were bid for quoting astronomical prices, apparently by real estate dealers, had come back to the HUDA fold as the bidders failed to deposit one-fourth of the cost of the plots within the stipulated one week. In the process the bidders had to forfeit the Rs. 2-lakh deposit on each of the 32 plots. But apparently they had achieved their major goal of creating an artificial boom in the land prices in Jubilee Hills overnight.

The HUDA is now setting the process in motion to auction the 32 plots in Nandagiri Hills along with another 25 to 30 plots in the neighbouring layout it had developed recently. "As per the procedure, a notification will be issued for the auction," said the HUDA Secretary, M. Ravinder Reddy.

The auctions that were held for two days on February 14 and 15 set new records as against the upset price fixed by the HUDA at Rs. 9,000 and Rs. 5,000 a sq. yard for two categories of plots. The plots got sold in the range of Rs. 15,600 per sq. yard to Rs. 40,900 per sq. yard.

The exercise came in for criticism and it was alleged that the unprecedented bidding was a ploy by real estate dealers to facilitate artificial boom in land prices in the area. However, HUDA maintained that the entire procedure was conducted in a transparent manner and when people paid the required earnest money deposit to participate in the auction, they could do little.

Mr. Ravinder Reddy said 43 bidders had paid one-fourth of the plot cost within a week and they were given two months time to deposit the remaining amount in instalments. The time was extended by a month with interest payment

The HUDA is now contemplating fixing the earnest money deposit at Rs. 10 lakhs for each plot to dissuade non-serious buyers. "A sum of Rs. 10 lakhs is not a small amount to forfeit," Mr. Reddy said.

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