Temple town gets a makeover

Written by Kavitha Venkatraman | Updated: May 6 2010, 02:06am hrs
Tirupati, famous for the Venkateswara Swamy temple and its native ladoos, is emerging as a promising investment and tourism destination of Andhra Pradesh.

Thanks to improved infrastructure and efforts of the state government to promote the temple town, Tirupati has attracted investments from industries across the spectrum, including IT/ITeS and realty.

Already, a sizeable number of small, medium and large industries have made the town their home base. Amara Raja Batteries Ltd has its fully integrated manufacturing unit for industrial batteries in Tirupati. Several smaller IT and ITeS companies have opened shop there. According to Software Technology Park of India-Hyderabad, exports from the town was Rs 2 crore in 2007-08, which moved up to Rs 2.74 crore in 2008-09, a growth of 37%. STPI has planned a 8,575-sq ft incubation centre in the town.

The town has, over the years, strengthened its infrastructure. Today, it is well connected by air, rail and road with other towns and cities in the country. It is closer to Chennai and Bangalore and there is good inter- and intra-city connectivity. There is a proposal to upgrade the national highway connecting Chennai as an expressway and the national highway connecting Bangalore is also being widened to a 4-lane highway. Its connectivity and proximity to two major southern metropolises points to the town's high growth potential.

Real estate prices have shot up here over the years. Apartments now cost Rs 2,000-Rs 2,300 per sq.ft, depending on the builder. Land prices also have shot up Rs 10,000 to Rs 14,000 per square yard. The concept of villas, unheard here of five years ago, have also been coming up. Villas in the outskirts cost Rs 4,000 per sq ft, with the prices going up in the central parts of the town.

According to a study, the town has a population of over 3 lakh, with a literacy level of over 75%. The town houses a technical university and other education institutions, including degree colleges. The economy of the town is primarily driven by the pilgrimage industry. However, with the availability of better human resources and infrastructure, the town is poised for greater economic development, the study points out.

George Johnson, city head, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, Hyderabad, feels pilgrimage and tourism are the prime economic activities of Tirupati, as it is among the most important religious towns of India. This has conventionally driven the town's real estate development towards facilitating tourists and pilgrims, which include accommodation and basic amenities such as health care and retail.

Hotels and guesthouses have mushroomed in the town, driven by both government and private developers. Besides, the town also witnessed development in the manufacturing sector. The city authorities are promoting IT/ ITeS and manufacturing sector strongly in the town. As most land in Tirupati comes under reserve forest, availability is limited. This puts a premium on the land.