Near Pune, farmers’ model of town development bears fruit

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Land title remained in the name of the farmers even when the land was developed and urbanised. Today, the farmer’s company maintains the township, and stresses environment-friendly services. 

Col Yogander Singh & Sat Singh

Surrounded the national capital-New Delhi on three sides and nearly three-fourth of the state being part of rapidly urbanising National Capital Region (NCR), it is no wonder that Haryana is being gridded with state-of-art expressway and highways laying a the foundations of an emerging service-industry hub. To put it simply, Haryana is set to transform fundamentally in the coming time.

The agrarian state will witness the setting up of new manufacturing and service hubs like those planned by the government along KMP (Western Expressway). The Haryanvis, will be faced with unprecedented challenges and opportunities due to this change. The challenges will range from social to financial. One challenge as well as opportunity lies is change of land use from agriculture to industrial/residential.

Panipat-Chandigarh Highway.

Gurugram to some extent has witnessed that transformation and there are not many farmers in this district who can boast of owning big size agriculture acres but they certainly have plots, multiplexes or showrooms even more expensive than an acre of land. 

The districts like Rohtak, Jhajjar and Sonipat had also witnessed land acquisition during the previous Congress regime where hardly few could invest the overflowing cash into judicious use by buying plots in prime locations or agriculture land at other places.

There are quite a large number of living examples living in villages who turn into labourers from big and rich landlords due to splurging of overflowing cash by selling their agriculture land into expensive SUVs, king-size houses and on habits of partying like vices.

The reasons for the latter’s pathetic condition partially goes to their non-business background, lack of education and letting the private builders/colonizers or developers to trap the gullible farmers into their sweet talk of turning their fortunes.

The question arises what business Model the farmers should follow in a scenario when their land price shoots up and private developers come to offer them millions for a piece of dry land?

THE MODEL OF MAGARPATTA

The same set of challenges were faced by farmers of Magarpatta village,7kms from Pune in Maharashtra. But instead of getting lured into the trap of private builders, the farmers of the village having 120 farmers pooled their land and decided to become partners in place of sellers. It was the first project of its kind where farmers were not ready to offer their land but wanted partnership in every project that came up on their land.

Magarpatta is near Pune.

Seeing the unflinching confidence of farmers and their adamant attitude, a company was floated in which each family got shares in the company according to its landholding, and each share is equivalent to 1 square metre of land. Land title remained in the name of the farmers even when the land was developed and urbanised. Today, the farmer’s company maintains the township, and stresses environment-friendly services. 

The village turned into a zone of projects from various companies who set up their project and today it has its own educational facilities, health facilities, IT-park, industries, multiplex, gymnasiums, biogas plant and other facilities. After the village turnaround, it has been given the name-‘Magarpatta City’. 

Satish Maggar, who is Chairman and managing director of Magarpatta Township Development and Construction Company, said that they have not only sold residential apartments, they have leased out space to IT companies and it generates a lot of revenue for them. All the money is pooled into a corpus and is invested in a scheme with good returns. 

There is no dearth of funds. All the Magarpatta residents on whose land all the development projects stand are part of its growth. 

He said that the traditional business model adopted is offering the farmers monetary compensation in lieu of their land but why not make them shareholders in the development projects? 

The sad reality is that all the big companies have millions of shareholders across the world but they are not ready to offer shares to farmers on whose land it constructs projects. 

Sharing the journey of making into Maggarpatta, Satish said that it underwent through many high and low points when it was initially thought out that 400 farmers of village would pool their land and want to develop it into township.

The biggest hurdle was that no one was ready to believe that was doable then in 1996 but it not only worked it has come out as an unique model of township where farmers are shareholders not devoid of their land.

Magarpatta View.


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