By: Ravi Sinha
Track2Realty Exclusive: When Purushottam Sharma, a government officer was posted in Bhiwadi seven years back, it was like a punishment posting. He sulked, the family resented yet with no infrastructure living in Gurgaon and travelling daily to Bhiwadi was something that was not feasible.
Much water has flown under the tiny hamlet called Bhiwadi and today the same Sharma has no grudge shifting to the city. As a matter of fact, like many of his colleagues he has also bought a plotted house over there and planning to book second flat in an apartment.
Like Sharma many of the government officials and even professionals from the MNCs have either bought a flat in Bhiwadi or are planning to buy. Those who can not afford in any other part of the NCR are actually finding it a better market as per their needs and aspirations. Many of them plan to settle over here post the retirement also.
It is no longer mismatch of lifestyle in terms of people from two different worlds living in the same city either. Realty boom in this part of the world has certainly created a level playing field with the more matured urban metropolis of Gurgaon and other parts of the NCR. While people are upgrading their lifestyle, multinationals have found out a new location and the real estate developers are smiling their way to the bank.
The first wave of migrant population that had been witness to a widening cultural gap is gradually settling down. Land has made the native people rich, culturally more inclusive and socio-economic barrier is changing fast. The new found affluence and exposure to city life is making this once sleeping city more and more aspirational.
This aspiration is not just confined to the mall culture or investment in better houses, but in general what can be vouchsafed in sociology is that the rural push has blended with a fine balance of urban pull.
What has actually worked in favour of the real estate developers active in Bhiwadi is the fact that many of them have been witness to such socio-cultural transformation in other parts of the country in general and Gurgaon in particular. And hence there is a method in their expansion. The focus has been more on the residential and industrial developments in the initial phases and it is only in the last few years that the retail has started spreading its wings.
Of course, it will take some more time as spending habit is not there in the old Bhiwadi population. But with malls promising to change the lifestyle of Bhiwadi, it may change its outlook in another few years. After all, mall developers in the city are seasoned players in retail business who understand the opportunity cost with land being cheaper, they may eventually have the first-movers advantage and be a game changer move by the mall developers.
This raises the fundamental question whether lifestyle aspiration in Bhiwadi has been keeping pace with the real estate boom in the city. More importantly, has the native Bhiwadi population been able to adapt to the urban lifestyle the way it has been in Gurgaon.
Realty analysts believe a lot has changed in the last 5-6 years in Bhiwadi. More job opportunities in industries have only aided the change in lifestyle of the people. Moreover, outsiders too now prefer to stay put in Bhiwadi and this has brought modernity closer to the city.
If the planned projects, including the integrated townships are any indication, Bhiwadi may end up giving a match to some of the other matured property markets of the NCR where the developments in the early stages had not been as inclusive and holistic as witnessed in Bhiwadi.
Though it is difficult to quantify how long Bhiwadi will take to catch up with the peer destinations like Gurgaon-Manesar in terms of bridging the socio-economic gap, but with the kind of growth and infrastructure development that is happening in Bhiwadi, the city may soon catch up with its peers.