Magarpatta: A Dream Town Worth Emulating

Aug 30 2004, 00:00 IST
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It takes ingenuity to conceive a project that at one stroke does away with the ubiquitous middlemen, yields rich dividends to the landowners and improves their standard of living. And all this without having to let go total ownership of the asset. Seems like an implausible plot but 120 families comprising 800 people in Pune are living this dream and beginning to reap a good harvest.

Doing away with middlemen has been an insurmountable challenge for the farmer anywhere in India. Middlemen/land sharks have been gnawing away at the farmer’s income. Large chunks of urban India is built on the deception — picking up land at dirt cheap rates from clueless farmers and selling them at a huge premium with little or no value added.

Original landowners find themselves hopelessly ill-equipped to handle even this little money. Much of the cash goes down the drain in wasteful consumption and penury is at their doorstep. Unauthorised constructions and haphazard development on what was once their land leads to a steep fall in their standard of living and the degradation is complete.

“All agrizones around urban areas are fragmented and sold in small pieces. There are no sanctioned roads or basic amenities and the illegal constructions make matters worse. This leads to poor living conditions. This is a genuine problem for the people,” says Satish Magar as he thought of ways to address it and came up with the Magarpatta Township project.

Mr Magar conceptualised the project for consolidating fragmented land holdings, added value to it and turned it into a lucrative business proposition for the original land owners.

Magarpatta City has taken a while — all of 10 years — to fructify. But the way it has shaping, Mr Magar is confident that his ambitious project has potential to be a reference point for future development of townships. It is also credit to the 120 families that they hung on.

The idea was to use the 400 acre of land pooled by the landowners to create a well-planned township which would house close to one lakh inhabitants, he said. Mr Magar who belongs to the Magar family that owns close to 40 per cent of land in the project.

The Magars were also for generations a dominant political force in the region and this closeness to the powers that be definitely helped in navigating through the bureaucratic red tape, Mr Magar admitted. “It could have taken a few

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