Driven by the IT boom
The information technology boom has been the catalyst in the development of Thiruvananthapuram. The IT corridor, from Kazhakuttom to Kovalam, is witnessing increased construction activity, writes T. Nandakumar.
- Photo: S. Mahinsha
CASHING ON IT BOOM: A housing colony coming up along side the IT corridor in Thiruvananthapuram.
For the construction industry, it is the most happening place in the capital city. All along the National Highway bypass from Kazhakuttom to Chakka and beyond up to Kovalam, there is a buzz of activity. Shopping plazas, hotels, business establishments, residential colonies, apartment blocks and townships in various stages of construction or in the pipeline.
There is no mistaking the catalyst driving the development boom in the western part of the city. It is the sprawling Technopark campus, the premier IT destination in the state, now home to more than 100 IT and ITeS companies. With more than 10,000 professionals employed by different firms, the demand for housing in this area has witnessed a quantum leap.
The development spree has seen property prices and rental rates skyrocketing. Real estate value has more than doubled over the last two years, with prices touching Rs.8 lakhs for a cent. The ripple effect is beginning to be felt even in the interior areas along the link roads.
The Technopark campus itself is witnessing a flurry of development. The completion of the 12-storied Tejaswini block and the TCS campus will add 9.5 lakhs sq. ft of built- up space to the existing infrastructure. With more construction and real estate majors vying with each other to secure bids for the next phase of expansion, Technopark is set to scale new heights.
The proposal to establish three Special Economic Zones along the IT corridor is expected to add further value to real estate.
The growth of the IT sector has impacted on the housing and commercial sectors in the Kulathur, Attipra, Venpalavattam and Anayara areas. Apartment builders have been quick to sense the potential for growth. Despite the poor infrastructure, the amount of residential space is increasing exponentially.
Large chunks of marshy land those were available at throwaway prices until five years back, are now sold at prime rates. Many such holdings are being reclaimed by the owners and either developed as colonies or parcelled out as individual plots. The absence of facilities like sewerage connection and bus services has not deterred buyers.
A few major construction companies have even decided to invest in independent, self-contained townships to cater to the growing demand for housing. The posh settlements will have modern facilities including multiplexes, shopping malls, club houses and swimming pools to appeal to the high- end consumers.
Says Arun Shah, marketing manager of Skyline SFS, "There is no doubt, Technopark is fuelling the development of the city. Over the next five years, more than 30,000 IT professionals are expected to be employed in the campus. That translates into a huge demand in the housing and commercial sectors. The proposed Technocity township to the north of the city will send the demand spiralling".
The investment growth in the region has also escalated rental rates for residential and commercial buildings. But builders maintain that the real bounty lies ahead.
The development of the international deepwater container transhipment terminal at Vizhinjam and the widening of the NH Bypass to accommodate six-lane traffic are expected to send real estate prices through the roof.
The secretary, Thiruvananthapuram Development Authority, Krishnarajan said the investment in the IT sector had unleashed the latent potential for development of the capital city. "The airport terminal on the Chakka side, the railway terminal at Veli and the long distance bus terminus at Eenachakal will ensure a major improvement in connectivity. The proposal for a dedicated high- speed road corridor along the NH bypass from Kazhakuttom to Balaramapuram is another factor that is bound to provide impetus for development."
Mr. Krishnarajan, however, underlines the need for careful planning to avoid the pitfalls of haphazard, lopsided development. He feels that the development of a satellite township at Kazhakuttom is imperative at this stage.
The hospitality industry is also poised to capitalise on the galloping demand for business class accommodation in the city. Major hotel groups have announced projects all along the prime road corridor from Kovalam to Kazhakuttam.
The City Corporation's plan to tap funds from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission to develop infrastructure facilities in the outlying areas close to the IT corridor is also seen as a major boost for development.
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