BERHAMPUR: The greater Berhampur region is witnessing a construction boom these days, mainly in the housing segment due to changing perceptions and purchasing power among the people and also due to huge influx of people from adjoining southern districts of Orissa and KBK region to the city. In the last couple of years there is considerable change in the business climate of the city. The on-going projects like Gopalpur Port and SEZ, Titanium Dioxide plant and SEZ, Software Technology Park of India (STPI) have all played a role in the construction boom. The declaration of Berhampur as the third Municipal Corporation of Orissa by changing its boundary limits and arrival of several engineering and medical colleges have also triggered real estate activities on the city outskirts. Several reputed retail chains like Vishal Mega Mart, Bazar Kolkata, The World, Reliance Retail, Cottons by Century, Big Bazaar, Syndicate etc. have either started their retail business in the city or plan to open their operations in the next one year. BDA has also signed an MOU with the Forum Mart of Kolkata for a huge shopping mall ‘Gajapati Plaza’ with an investment of Rs 97 crore. The apartment culture is also catching up fast in the silk city with more than a dozen projects in the pipe-line. On the flip side, some property agents have started minting money by selling land and plots violating BDA rules and regulations.
After a lull due to lack of interest show by the Tata group for taking up work on its mega steel plant project near Gopalpur, there is steep increase in the prices. In fact, the prices have already started increasing since 2007 and apartments in Berhampur are being sold at Rs.1500-2000 per sq.ft. Several layouts approved by Berhampur Development Authority (BDA) are being developed towards Ambapua, Dura Junction, Pathara and Kalinga Bihar, close to the national highway and Gopalpur/Berhampur. Some property agents are also making a fast buck by selling plots in unauthorized layouts. BDA sold some sites and houses at Ambapua in 2001 by developing a layout. This led to a boom in real estate business in and around Ambapua and Khodasingi area. In the mean time the BDA has completed Vivek Vihar- I and has ambitious plans for its second phase Vivek Vihar-II. With land in the city unaffordable for many, plots are being sold in BDA approved layouts on the city outskirts in and around Ambapua and Jagannathpur at Rs. 200 to Rs. 400 per sft depending on their location. Taking advantage of the boom-time many realtors are developing independent duplex houses with basic amenities like drainage, street lights and water supply in these regions. The skyrocketing real-estate prices in Berhampur has made the city an alternate real-estate investment destination of the State, besides the state capital.