Green Living

Celebrate an Eco-friendly Diwali

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With Diwali around, the festive spirit is in the air. People across the country are making plans to celebrate this festival of lights with exuberance and style. But, often in this celebratory mood, we turn our backs towards the environment.

Every year, the air and noise pollution reach new alarming level during Diwali. The amount of electricity consumed doubles, equivalent to the fortnightly supply for an average household.

It is in our interest to conserve electricity and keep a check on the air and noise pollution this year. Below are some tips which can help us take an eco-friendly step and celebrate a safe and happy Diwali.

  • Welcome Goddess Laxmi with a natural rangoli created with materials like colored sand, flowers, rice, lentils or even spices.
  • Go for traditional lightening of earthen lamps, diyas and candles as compared to the bulb streamers which consume more electricity.
  • If you’re adamant on using light streamers, then look out for LED as they are power-efficient and transmit no heat.
  • Instead of celebrating the fest with your closed group, go in for community celebration. Pool in your resources, share the spirit of Diwali together and conserve electricity.
  • You can even use organic agarbattis and incense in place of synthetic room fresheners.
  • String paper kandils or jute lamp shades around the facade to create an earthy ambience.
  • Buy eco-friendly crackers instead of traditional chemical crackers this Diwali. These crackers are made up of recycled paper and the sound produced by them is under the decibel limit defined by the Pollution Board.
  • Tons of paper is wasted as wrapping sheets. Avoid colored sheet and instead wrap the gift for your loved ones in a satin cloth or jute and embellish it with fresh flowers. If you’re artistically inclined, turn calendar pages or old newspaper into personalized gift-wrapping with a little paint and imagination!
  • Many corporates send Diwali greetings every year and hundreds of trees are cut to make paper, stripping the Earth of its green cover. Make your company send an eco-friendly message this Diwali by asking them to use emails or recycled paper instead!

Don’t you think it’s high time we consider these green options and create awareness among our community?

Waterfront Living

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There is a charm about a flowing river or a serene lake. Luxury dwellings facing a waterfront are catching the imagination of homebuyers and developers alike.
There is a charm about waterfront living – more so among today’s city dwellers who are used to living in concrete jungles. Moreover, waterfront houses, because they are so few in number, also enjoy a premium over regular residential projects. It’s many decades that Mumbai, then Bombay, got its famed Marine Drive. But the Queen’s Necklace has always been an exception because of its sheer expanse and a source of envy.

The concept of residences facing a water body – be it the sea, a river or a large lake – caught the fancy of affluent Indians during the realty boom witnessed between 2004 and 2008. After a temporary lull owing to the economic downturn, the trend seems to be catching on again with a number of waterfront residential projects coming up in selected parts of the country.

So much so, in places where there is no natural waterfront, some leading developers have even started creating manmade beaches and artificial lakes! Consider this. Delhi-based developer Supertech is coming with ‘Upcountry’, a 100-acre integrated township on the Yamuna Expressway. The project comprises, among others, beachside villas called ‘Holiday Village’. Residents of the villas in Holiday Village will be able to enjoy a cool, relaxed and comfortable living on a manmade beachside. Available in plot sizes of 90, 125, 200, 500 and 1000 sq yd, these expandable villas will provide flexibility to shape them to match the owner’s lifestyle.

“We have always believed in offering something different to our customers, so with the construction of beachside houses at Holiday Village, we will mark another milestone. We have already sold 70 per cent of Holiday Village in a short span of time and we are committed to deliver living on the shore in just eight months from now,” RK Arora, chairman & managing director, Supertech Ltd, told FC Build.

While Holiday Village will predominantly be a second home destination, there are other examples from many parts of the country where riverfront residences are emerging as permanent addresses for many.

“Whether waterfront residence is a second home option or permanent residence depends upon the location of the project. Most of these projects come up on the outskirts of a city and are invariably second home purchases. However, in a city like Chennai, the East Coast Road has actually spawned growth of the city into the south leading to these properties becoming primary residence options. Palm Beach Road in Mumbai is another example of a waterfront stretch where many apartments are permanent residences,” Ganesh Vasudevan vice-president and business head, Indiaproperty.com, told FC Build.

Vasudevan came up with a number of examples of waterfront residences that are being built across the country and are emerging as attractive residential addresses. They include:

Daffodil Waterfront, Kolkata: Residential developments in the Thakurpukur neighbourhood of Kolkata. Features include 5-passenger lift, car parking facility, community hall, and south open lake.

Raheja Waterfront, Mangalore: Tall towers with penthouses and space for car parking, private open balconies for living and master bedroom with smart security structure.

Pashmina Waterfront, Bangalore: 3BHK apartments with luxuries such as large swimming pools, meditation centre/yoga room, convention hall, car wash area, children play ground.

Tata Housing Crescent Lake Homes, Oragadam, Chennai: Features 1, 2, 3 bedroom row-type villas in Phase 1; 3 & 4 bedroom villas in Phase 2. Children’s play area, informal sitting area, power backup for common areas and lift.

Mahindra Aqua Lilly, Chennai: Beautifully designed villas and apartments with a lake view.

But how does artificial waterfront compare with natural waterfront from the developers’ perspective?

Jai Ganesh, vice-president, marketing & sales, Pashmina Developers of Bangalore, said, “Natural riverfront any day is a more preferred option as it has more aesthetics and natural appeal, and from the cost perspective too, it has a smaller impact on developers as the maintenance cost is low compared with artificial riverfronts.”

“This type of premium houses are accounted for in orientation charges by developers which is generally accepted by homebuyers who seek waterfront houses. Most people who buy these houses are first-time buyers and it is a permanent residence for them. The builder has to spend an extra amount for owning the land near the water bodies. That pushes up the price of apartments by 30 to 50 per cent depending on the location,” added Ganesh.

Vasudevan of Indiaproperty.com agrees that from the developers’ perspective, a natural riverfront is more cost-effective and convenient option than an artificial riverfront. However, availability of good natural waterfronts is limited, prompting development of artificial waterfronts. On the pricing front, he said, “The price to be paid for such projects depends on many factors, prime among them are surrounding infrastructure development and availability/proximity to amenities. These are primary constraints faced by any developer in developing a natural waterfront. If these constraints are addressed, the land acquisition cost goes up, increasing the final delivery price of the apartment. Good waterfront areas with poor infrastructure will become difficult to market unless the developer provides for the missing infrastructure, which again pushes up the final cost of the apartment. So, anyway you look at it, waterfront apartments have higher base costs on which a premium is loaded for the location.”

Like many developers and realty experts, he also felt that people don’t mind paying a premium to own a waterfront residence. It not only allows one to be close to nature but is also seen as a status symbol. Paying a premium for such projects depends upon the location of the project. Top floors of a sea-facing building can command 23-30 per cent premium over lower floors, Vasudevan said.

In Kolkata, ‘Quiet flows the Ganga…’ may not be the case any longer. Close to 300 acres of land of shoemaker Bata India on the banks of Ganga is now being developed into Kolkata’s first golfing community. Christened ‘Calcutta Riverside’, the large multi-utility project is coming up with a capital outlay of Rs 1,300 crore, excluding cost of land, school, hospital and hotel. Every villa and apartment promises to offer a magnificent view of the sweeping greens as well as the serene river flowing by.

Perched on the edge of a 9-hole golf course, Mandeville, a cluster of villas will be a perfect place for golf aficionados and for those in search of gracious homes in the middle of endless manicured greens, said Sumit Dabriwal, managing director, Riverbank Holdings. Each villa at Calcutta Riverside will have a private garden that overlooks the golf course, several verandahs and terraces, direct connection to the pedestrian track and space for parking two cars. ‘The Strand – Riverfront Promenade’, a landscaped avenue, will provide a novel experience with a pathway along the Hooghly river.

Another prominent housing project in the vicinity of Kolkata located right next to the Ganga is ‘Ganga Awas’, being built by Ambuja Realty, a leading real estate player in Kolkata. The developer has already built ‘Ganga Kutir’ on the edge of the Ganga as it flows majestically by the pastoral hamlet of Raichak-on-Ganges, a 90-minute drive from Kolkata. It’s a kind of weekend getaway. Now, almost next to ‘Ganga Kutir’, Ambuja Realty is building what can be described as the group’s first second home project on the outskirts of the city, christened ‘Ganga Awas’. This one of its kind residential project will have around 90 units—bungalow type houses and apartments. The group is shelling out close to Rs 30 crore in developing this project.

‘Ganga Awas’ will come with three different types of units — Riviera, Hermitage and Gardenia. The units at Riviera will have personalised lily pools, personalised front and back lawn, river-facing terrace, open-to-sky courtyard and a spectacular promenade view. At Hermitage, dwelling units have been planned with personalised patio terrace, individual sit-out terrace for each unit and enhanced privacy through provision of small intimate spaces. Gardenia, on its part, will offer zamindari structures imparting an old world feel and will have personalised gardens surrounded by fragrant groves and thickets, Harsh Neotia, chairman of Ambuja Realty told FC Build.

Some leading developers are now moving to suburban towns like Uttarpara, Serampore and Konnagar along the Ganga to develop waterfront residential complexes at affordable prices. A number of people commute daily to Kolkata city from these satellite towns and therefore these riverside residences can emerge as permanent residences for them.

(With inputs from N Vasudevan in Bangalore)

ritwikmukherjee@mydigitalfc.com

Source: Financial Chronicle