Killer smog hits real estate of Mumbai’s Deonar-Chembur belt
MUMBAI: It’s not just people’s health that has been affected because of the noxious fumes and the killer smog coming out from the Deonar landfill. Real estate experts say buyers are now increasingly wary of booking apartments in the surrounding areas, where property prices have appreciated substantially over the past three years because of new transport projects.
Ever since the fires started in the Deonar dump early this year, spreading a blanket of smog, there have been few inquiries from home buyers. These are mainly in places such as Deonar, Govandi, Mankhurd and parts of Chembur.
“Sales have stopped in these areas. Even those who had purchased are trying to exit,” said developer Manohar Shroff of Shivam Builders.
“The perception and branding of Chembur as the queen of the eastern suburbs has taken a beating in the past two months,” said Krishnan Muthukumar of Tridhaatu Developers, a local property developer. “For years, Chembur residents fought to get the ‘gas chamber’ tag removed because of the RCF plant. But now, continuous fires from the landfill have had a negative impact on the real estate,” he added.
Another local builder, Surendra Sharma of Sabari Group, said: “No one is ready to buy (because of the health hazards). Inquiries have dried up. People are avoiding these areas. Benefits of road infrastructure projects, which improved connectivity to the eastern suburbs, has now been nullified because of pollution.”
He added: “Those with a limited budget are demanding 15% to 20% discount on flat prices. But we cannot reduce rates because of the high land prices we paid for.”
In February, K L Varma, 74, an asthmatic, from Anushakti Nagar, BARC colony, suddenly began to spit black sputum. Within a fortnight he was dead. “Pollution from the dumping ground triggered the attack,” said his son Siddarth.
He said people in prime residential areas such as Maitri Park, Atur Park, Diamond Garden, Anushakti Nagar, Chheda Nagar and Govandi have been affected. Local sources say even those who have bought property recently are trying to exit from these areas. A Chembur resident, who wanted to lease out his flat, was advised by his broker to reduce the price because he found few takers.
Although property prices have not dropped, experts say if the pollution is not curbed, home buyers will skip this entire belt.