to be 36 per cent in the city’s Master Plan 2021. Currently the VDA is playing the leading role in meeting the housing demand.
However, the emphasis on housing under the land use plan under Master Plan 2011 has come at the cost of recreational space and industrial infrastructure, says the report on the Varanasi City Development Plan under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM).
This shows the extent of demand for housing in the city, which is rising at 16 per cent a year, as per the report.
Under the JnNURM, Varanasi applied for a grant of Rs 3,072.59 crore for essential infrastructural needs and basic services for urban poor. As per current data, none of the projects are anywhere near completion.
The huge demanD-supply gap in housing has got real estate players interested, which has developed into positive sentiments after the general elections.
However, the action is not happening in the old areas housing the Ghats, the typical Varanasi postcard. As the JnNURM report says, the old city presents a very unique challenge in urban renewal for the essential requirements are provision of modern services without disturbing its cultural character. “Plot owners who have small and old structures on them have managed to demolish them to give way to new constructions,” says Raj Yadav, who works in Mumbai, but is a registered voter in Varanasi and cast his vote in the 2014 election.
“Many new areas are also developing around the city as suburban units,” adds Yadav.
The business opportunity is being seized by developers from other cities who see a viable proposition in this tier-III market. “The mega township known as Shree Sai City by Delhi-based Rudra Real Estate is coming up in the airport area while Mumbai-based S Raheja Realty is coming up with SDS Residency, a 14 storey complex which will be one of the tallest buildings within the city,” says Anmol Agarwal, national manager, network acquisition, RE/MAX India.
There are other established players include Awadh Constructions and Visionary Buildtech.
“Apart from being a great tourist attraction, Varanasi is in demand for its residential property due to its spiritual aspect. People invest in these properties in search of peace,” says Advitiya Sharma, co-founder and marketing head for Housing.com, a leading real estate portal. “The Varanasi market has seen a substantial escalation of 40 per cent in the last few years and the VDAs’ plan to develop the city has also