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Ensaara scales down from Asia’s largest Metro Park to another mixed land use project

Posted on by Track2Realty

By: Ravi Sinha

Ensaara Metro Park, Luxora Infrastructure, Aanya Group, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Property new, Home, Policy Advocacy, Activism, Mall, Retail, Office space, SEZ, IT/ITeS, Residential, Commercial, Hospitality, Project, Location, Regulation, FDI, Taxation, Investment, Banking, Property Management, Ravi Sinha, Track2Media, Track2RealtyTrack2Realty Exclusive: Welcome to Ensaara Metro Park, a joint venture between Luxora Infrastructure and Aanya Group in one of the non-descript locations of Nagpur. Launched around three years back, it was projected to the media as Asia’s largest ‘Metro Park’. It has now proved to be a mere beating own trumpet for inviting journalists from Mumbai and Delhi.

Some questions by the same media made the developers so uncomfortable that they preferred to eat their own words and accept it to be another ‘Mixed Land Use Project’. The external communication agency Orion PR, however, still continued to put up unapologetic face to say ‘what is wrong in projecting it as grandeur?’

Who says journalists covering a particular ‘Beat’ can not be misled? Even the seasoned professional writers can be fooled and taken for a ride. Such a mindset is all the more pervasive in a sector where weathering the legacy of ‘poor perception and projection’ the prevalent mindset is ‘who cares.’ All that one need is a spin doctor, better known as PR person to prove that the journalistic judgment can be challenged with plain lies & flowery narratives. What follows thereafter is some plain casual approach to the journalists who made the mistake of being misled.

When the journalists from Delhi and Mumbai made the mistake of travelling all the way to Nagpur to find what is Asia’s largest Metro Park all about, they are told actually it is the mistake of the PR agency not to convey that it is not Asia’s largest as that has already been developed in China. What actually is a Metro Park is something that the joint developers of Ensaara Metro Park were unable to explain. And hence, in the press conference it was declared to be an integrated township. The handout distributed to the media, however, preferred even safer term as ‘Mixed Land Use’ for the project.

The media, in the meantime, kept wondering as to why then it was declared as Asia’s largest Metro Park in the invite sent by the external communication agency. What appeared to be a case of mystery wrapped in an enigma was the media advisory issued along with the invite that said, “It is highly confidential and not to be revealed to anyone by the journalists before the launch.” Well, it generated an element of curiosity among the scribes only to be shrugged off later by the team Ensaara Metro Park and the PR agency as a ploy to get more journalists visit Nagpur.

So, backed by such a strategy, or rather lack of it, team Ensaara Metro Park could manage a large group of 11 journalists, including some of the brokers disguised as journos, to visit Nagpur for the launch of iconic Metro Park. In the press conference, the developers themselves were conspicuous by their absence and it started late by about couple of hours. The PR agency, however, finds fault of visiting journalists in this delay and resultant impatience. Journalists are rather advised not to be punctual in the city, nor make the mistake of expecting everything to be seen from Mumbai and Delhi perspective.

The developers were not just found off guard when asked how come the project is Asia’s largest. Rather they had no answer as to how come it is an FDI project when they are neither ready to share the total investment of the project, nor the FDI partners or their share in the project. What has been all the more surprising with this project is that different spokespersons spoke in different language over the project, its future plans and sales strategy.

For example, one spokesperson of the company, on being asked that project is already three years late, says all the flats in Phase-I has already been sold out. The other spokesperson makes the same set of journalists wonder when he says the developers will not sell a single flat till Phase-I is entirely complete. The timeline is stated as another 34 months, with another 6 months delay factored into their assessment.

The promoters of the project, every time being asked uncomfortable questions, were philosophical and spiritual to narrate how they are committed for a noble cause. One just wonders whether philosophy or spiritualism will save the project or the image of the company that they went overboard to damage.

The reasons of getting the project so delayed was cited by the developers as the project initially being conceptualised on 150 acres of land. Later more land acquisition made the project spread to 28- acres. Some brokers were wondering as to how a project already delayed for three years and another timeline of four years would sell after seven years. They rather were found to be eager over the financial modelling of the entire project.

A site visit by the visiting journalists, however, find the infrastructure and roads leading to the project being 15-20 years behind what an urban habitation requires. Moreover, all the USPs of the project and infrastructure created in this mixed land use were noted for being non-existent. In the name of a lake, a small pond was there and the drainage was showcased as an upcoming canal.

Ensaara Metro Park, or whatever the project deserves to be called, would not have warranted even a single column story, had it not been a case study in ‘how not to overhype and kill’ a real estate project. The real estate sector, already weathering poor perception and projection, added with unprecedented slowdown, can not afford such gimmicks. Media may be misled to fulfil the mandate given to the PR agency for ensuring their presence, but it often leads to media backlash where the self-inflicted crisis leaves little room for any crisis management.