Hyderabad: In an unusual turn of events, officials of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) were baffled to see the tepid responses to the e-auction of plots in Uppal Bhagat which was held recently.
Though the plots are located in the prime area of the state capital, bidders preferred to keep away unlike in other auctions, and some even did not pay the earnest money deposit (EMD) amounts for the plots measuring 58,272 square yards located opposite Shilparamam in the Uppal-Nagole road. The HMDA officials are said to be suspecting a realtor-bidder nexus in the whole episode.
Major realtors in the city, who are mostly powerful politicians, allegedly influenced the bidders to keep away from the action and the officials say that they want to probe the angle and why there was a sudden slump in the prices in the phase III auction of the plots held on December 2 and December 3.
The 44 notified plots range from 150 square yards to 15,149 square yards which include those for residential (21 plots ), hospitals (2), shopping cum entertainment, (4), educational institutions (2) and multipurpose use (15 plots). Of them, the HMDA was able to sell only 39 plots and generated Rs 474.61 crore.
The auction was held by the HMDA on an online platform managed by Union government enterprise MSTC Limited. The HMDA authorities claimed that the layout was one of the most modern developments which had immense possibilities for individuals, groups of individuals, joint partnership companies, firms and developers. In the two-day auction, the maximum bid received was Rs 1.01 lakh per sq. yard and the lowest bid was Rs 36,000 per sq. yard. While the minimum upset price was Rs 35,000 per square yard, the average bid price for the total area was Rs 55,859 per square yard.
Highly placed sources in HMDA said the low turnout of bidders and lesser demand for plots took the authorities by shock. Despite a slump in the market, the land value was increased even beyond the expectations of the municipal authority. Surprisingly, five plots ranging between 8,179 square yards to 15,000 square yards in the multipurpose zone did not receive any bid.
Sources said realtors only offered good prices for residential plots and a few commercial plots in the two day e-auction and categorically ignored phase III plots, especially plot numbers 61,62,63,64 and 65 in the multipurpose zone. Official sources said the realtors would not have suffered any loss even if they had paid EMD amounts which were only Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. They said when the plot value was increased by four times, the EMD amounts would barely matter.
A senior HMDA official requesting anonymity said the municipal authority did not develop any infrastructure other than two layouts which were on Uppal- Nagole road. He said one of the primary reasons was that plots 61 to 65 were very close to the Musi, where construction of high rise buildings was not possible due to the nature of the soil. The official said that considering these factors, bidders must have shied away from participating in the e-auction in the five plots which were left over. He said an inquiry would be conducted to decide the future course of action.