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September 11, 2011

Page: 39/42

Home > 2011 Issues > September 11, 2011

A new approach to urban development

By Rajan Khanna

SHRI Niranjan Hiranandani can be credited for bringing a revolutionary change in the concepts of the construction industry in India. He has set examples in the development of integrated townships in various cities, which can be emulated to find solutions for the ever increasing demand for quality housing. In the light of his immense contribution to the housing sector and in order to know his views about how to fill up the gap between the supply and demand of good standard houses I met him.

Sauvé and articulate Shri Niranjan spoke with aplomb on all the matters. On the question why we have still not been able to create new townships, which are indispensable to meet the demands of the people who are migrating from rural to the urban areas, he unequivocally said, the leadership of this country stands responsible for the said problem. He said Indians everywhere in the world are carving a niche for themselves but in their own country, due to the lack of political will, they are not provided with the requisite amount of the opportunities.

He cited the examples of NASA and Microsoft Corporation where, he said, around 20 per cent workforce is consisting of the people of the Indian origin; he wondered why in India the same wealth of talent can’t be put to the optimum effect? He contended that the productivity of the Indians working abroad is almost four times that of their compatriots working back home; the reason according to him is, we are not treating our human resources as the articles of faith.

When asked that after Chandigarh and Gandhinagar in the past sixty years we have not been able to create planned cities, he informed that near Raipur in Chhattisgarh, a new city is coming up and the example can be followed elsewhere also. He insisted that surplus has to be created in the housing sector and then only the builders will provide the desired quality of houses to the buyers. He opined that selling the houses at affordable rates might cut down the profit margins but keeping in view the vastness of the market, the turnovers can be taken to the new heights. In this respect, he gave example of the telecom industry. He said, 15 years ago, the call charges of the service providers were Rs 16.50 paisa per minute, but due to the small number of the mobile users, the turnovers of the service providing companies were also meagre. But now, although, the call charges have become 40 or 50 paisa per minute, the turnovers of the companies have skyrocketed. All this has happened because the mobile market has reached the common man of this country. According to him, the need of the hour is to take similar kinds of reformist steps in the housing sector also.

If one goes around the housing complexes constructed by Shri Niranjan’s company Messer Hiranandani Constructions, one common factor of beautifully maintained gardens and landscapes, is immediately discerned. The intra-complex roads are well planned and aesthetically maintained; one can spot an impressive waste management mechanism also in place. The sewage generated by the housing society, is treated in the sewage treatment plant and the treated water in turn is used to irrigate the gardens and the trees which are found in abundance in the colonies created by him. Diligently well maintained health clubs are indispensable part of the residential neighbourhood built by his company; hospitals and schools also make their presence felt in the colonies built by it. When asked why the other leaders in the industry could very sparsely follow the example, he reiterated that a surplus in the supply of the houses, has to be created and the development will result into the emergence of more and more integrated townships in India.

On question of providing decent accommodation for the urban poor, he bemoaned that in this respect also the leadership has miserably failed and emphasised that a big degree of reforms are required in the housing sector. He maintained that thoughts have to be paid on the development of public transport system, which can sufficiently cater to the growing transportation needs of the urban populace.

At present, Shri Niranjan is busy with his construction activities in the cities like Mumbai, Thane, Panvel, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Nasik. In Dubai also he has built the tallest completed residential tower and has been planning to expand his business to other cities also. Worthy son of the eminent ENT surgeon Dr LH Hiranandani, Shri Niranajan has a keen interest in the field of education too and apart from having made schools in his residential complexes, he is trustee of numerous education bodies. On being asked about his message to the young generation, he passionately said, “We are the inheritors of very strong cultural values. If we can retain them, nothing in this world can stop our country from becoming the world leader.”

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