Realtors protest Sahara’s entry

June 3, 2012

The government’s decision to allow Sahara India Pariwar to invest in the real estate sector has been met with vehement objections from the local realtors. The government is set to provide Sahara with one lakh acres of land to develop a satellite township around Dhaka.
The move comes at a time when the government failed to provide adequate land and other civic amenities to the local real estate entrepreneurs for years.
In a press conference organised by Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) and Bangladesh Land Developers Association (BLDA) yesterday, the local developers demanded the government enter a dialogue with them before going ahead with the Sahara’s proposal.
Sahara’s proposal should be approved only if the local realtors fail to come up with a suitable, if not better, model for the satellite township, they said.
“Now, if the government allows Sahara to acquire land at government rates, which is way lower than that of a developer offers, will create an imbalanced competition in the sector,” said Nasrul Hamid, president of REHAB.
He also said the local developers feel hard done by as the government did not approach them for suggestions and insights before approaching the Indian conglomerate.
Ahmed Akbar Sobhan, chairman of Bashundhara Group, and president of BLDA, said the local entrepreneurs are more than capable of developing satellite township in the vicinity of the capital.
“What Sahara wants to develop is very much possible for any local entrepreneur, if the government provides us land in easy terms like they are now affording to Sahara,” he said.
He said the government must think critically before allowing a foreign company to invest in the real estate sector, when the local developers themselves are experiencing an acute crisis of land in Dhaka and its neighborhood.
“We are yet to hand over thousands of flats due to gas and electricity supply. The government should give the equal facilities to the local companies for a level playing field,” he added.
On April 23, Sahara Group’s newly formed Bangladesh based company Sahara Matribhumi Unnayan Corporation Limited signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Housing and Public Works to invest in the development of low-income housing schemes in Bangladesh.
Although the MoU is not legally binding, it does contain intent from the government to work with Sahara India Parivar.
Prior to that, the Sahara chairman said they have planned to initially invest $120 million in Bangladesh, which will be the single largest investment by any Indian investor in the country.

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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