Milind Korde, managing director, Godrej Properties Ltd, talks to Pallabika Ganguly on the various joint venture projects that the company will be soon launching
Pallabika Ganguly (ML): What is the current scenario in the real-estate sector for both residential and commercial properties?
Milind Korde (MK): We see a lot of demand in the residential segment compared to the commercial sector. The upper middle class population is expected to grow to 500 million in the next 10 years. They will all require housing. This will create a boom in the residential market. Our only consideration is that prices may go up due to this huge demand. Developers might not be able to meet the demand due to the delays in supply, mainly caused by factors like regulatory permissions.
Commercial office space has also started showing positive signs after the slowdown. Currently, there is low supply in commercial space as most developers have converted their commercial projects into residential ones, as there was a lot of demand in this segment.
The retail sector will still take time to grow in India as there are some issues like location of malls, (the) rent versus revenue (problem) and (inadequate) footfalls.
ML: How much area are you currently developing across the country?
MK: We are currently present in 11 cities, (we are) developing around 83 million square feet (sq ft). We have recently added around a million sq ft of land. Around 85% of our projects are joint ventures. We have just entered Gurgaon, where we are developing 1.1 million sq ft. It is a joint development (residential) project, where the land belongs to the Frontier Group and we will share revenues. We will be developing two and three bedroom, hall & kitchen (BHK) apartments. Currently, real-estate prices in this location are Rs3,500 per sq ft. We are still in the planning stage of the project and have still not finalised the prices of the apartments.
We are also developing a project in Mangalore, spread over four acres. The residential portion is around 6-7 lakh sq ft. We are developing a 24-floor tower comprising three and four BHK flats; the average size of the apartments would be 2,600 sq ft. We are developing over 240 apartments. We will be launching the project soon, at around Rs4,000 per sq ft.
ML: Can you talk about your Pune and Thane townships?
MK: We will be soon launching two townships - Bhugaon (at Pune) and another at Thane. The Bhugaon project is spread over more than 100 acres. It is also a joint venture like our other projects. It will be a mixed development (project), consisting of bungalows, apartments and institutional buildings.
The Thane project is spread over more than 10 acres; we have recently added more land for this township. We would take two-three months to launch the project and six-nine months to book the revenue and profits.
ML: How has the progress been at your Garden City project at Ahmedabad?
MK: We will be launching Phase III soon. We have already sold 19 buildings. The township will be spread across more than 250 acres. We have already completed development of more than 1.5 million sq ft (in both Phase I and Phase II).
ML: In terms of redevelopment of old buildings in Mumbai, which are the projects that your company is focussing on?
MK: We are focussing on tapping the cluster redevelopment segment in the island city and redevelopment projects in suburban Mumbai. We are looking at several projects at the moment. Godrej is trying to give a new makeover to old buildings in terms of modern amenities like parking slots, etc. We feel we can leverage our expertise in these kinds of projects.
ML: Are you looking at affordable housing?
MK: Some of our projects are targeting the affordable housing segment like the Prakriti project in Kolkata. We are developing 1,000 sq ft flats for Rs2,200 per sq ft.
New Delhi: The government is likely to provide subsidised wheat and rice to 1.5 crore additional below poverty line (BPL) families from October 2, reports PTI quoting food and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar who made a statement in the Rajya Sabha today.
Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, he said the Planning Commission will give the revised number of people living below poverty line in a month's time.
The revision is being done based on the parameters decided by the Tendulkar Committee for identifying the poor. The exercise has been undertaken in view of the proposed Food Security Act, which promises assured quantity of foodgrains to BPL families, he said.
The number of BPL people is likely to go up from 6.5 crore to 8.07 crore, he said adding, "It is the desire of the government, if possible, to introduce the scheme from October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti day)."
At present, the government is supplying every month about 35 kg of rice and wheat at subsidised rates to each poor family under BPL and Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) category. Rice is sold at Rs5.65 a kg and wheat at Rs4.15 a kg to BPL families, and at Rs3 and Rs2, respectively, for AAY families.
Mr Pawar said the government intended to give wheat and rice at Rs3 per kg to people living below poverty line but it has not yet been decided if the quantity would be 20 kg or 25 kg or 35 kg a month.
This will be possible only after passage of the National Food Security Bill, he added.
It’s said the best way to swiftly kill a bad product is to run equally bad ads. Well, Open has just demonstrated that.
Open, the weekly newsmagazine, has positioned itself as "The weekly for the young mind". Fair enough. All its rivals, especially India Today and The Week, seem to be read only by the oldies these days. Most Indian magazine publishers still aren't alert to the seismic changes the digital media has brought into the younger people's reading habits, and are still living in denial… using the same old, boring, dead techniques of journalism.
So Open's message was apt, timely and inviting. I bought the very first issue in great excitement, expecting to discover an all-new approach to journalism… but sadly, closed the magazine in a few minutes. Open pretends to be young and youthful in its content and treatment, but it's actually pretty much the same old tired journalism we are used to in the print media - same old style, same old stories, same old everything. What a letdown!
And now, they have released a couple of such absolutely appalling commercials, they only help highlight the 1963-ish content of the mag. In one commercial, a good uncle (huh?) preaches from inside his home about how his open mind is waiting to be ignited. And belts out such philosophical trash. In the other one, a middle-aged woman lets out more philosophical mumbo-jumbo from inside a bookshop about a society that's open for new ideas. And more such clichés.
Here's the thing, and I am not joking: At first, when I watched the commercials, I was stunned. I really thought these were spoof commercials, or there was some ingenious trick that I was missing. Surely a mag that claims to be for the young CANNOT be putting out such drivel. Surely the publishers would know this sort of advertising is the surest way to alienate Young India. Then I kept watching the ads over and over again, in utter disbelief. And realised these were no 'bakra' ads created by Mr Cyrus Broacha, they were the real thing! Absolutely shocking!
It's said the best way to swiftly kill a bad product is to run equally bad ads. Well, Open mag has just demonstrated that. This is hara-kiri advertising, to put it mildly. If the tired content of the mag doesn't drive the young readers away, this sort of prehistoric advertising certainly will. The only question that now waits to be answered is this: When will Open shut shop? Sad.