Periphery no more: Rapid rail reaches 2 towns that NCR’s realty boom didn’t | Noida News – Times of India


Fancy an apartment in Muradnagar? Modinagar, perhaps? Ideas that might so far have been summarily dismissed have taken the shape of serious business propositions, screaming at you from hoardings and thrown eagerly at you by brokers in the two industrial towns sandwiched between Ghaziabad and Meerut that, for decades, fired no realtor’s imagination despite their proximity to Delhi.

Rapid rail

Measured from Connaught Place, Muradnagar is around 50km and Modinagar 60km, not that far by Delhi-NCR standards (Pari Chowk, for example, is 40km, Manesar 45km and Sohna 50km).
Distance, though, wasn’t as much the problem as how you got there – their only gateways the dense but congested road network of Ghaziabad.
Two years ago, this changed when Delhi-Meerut Expressway opened. But the defining moment came earlier this month – March 8 – when a group of wide-eyed, selfie-hunting passengers stepped off a train that had zipped from Sahibabad to Modinagar in 24 minutes (that’s about the same time a metro ride currently takes from Vaishali to Mandi House or Rajiv Chowk to Malviya Nagar).
Fortunes find strange ways to turn. Yesterday’s bane, their location, is today’s boon for the two towns, which now find themselves right at the centre of the Delhi-Meerut Namo Bharat (rapid rail) corridor, India’s first semi high-speed train system. By June 2025, when the full line opens, a person living in Modinagar will reach Sarai Kale Khan in 35-40 minutes, and Delhi Metro networks at Anand Vihar and Vaishali in less than that. It will be entirely possible to, say, live in Modinagar or Muradnagar and work in Delhi.
Land prices, the bellwether trend when winds of development blow, have responded. From a range of Rs 28,000-Rs 50,000 per square yard, they have in the last 12 months, doubled or tripled.
On both sides of NH-58 – the old highway whose median verge supports the elevated tracks of the rapid rail – large hoardings invite people to invest in residential plots, and buildings with glass facades are available for lease or sale to open restaurants, showrooms and commercial spaces.
Muradnagar’s take
A traditional weavers’ hub, Muradnagar is dotted with power looms, most of which operate out of houses, and make bedsheets and zari fabric. The typical setup is that the owner lives on the upper floors and the workshop runs from the ground floor.
No surveys have been undertaken here to estimate the size of the informal loom industry, but at Vijay Mandi, Agrasen Market, Mamta Wali Gali and Gandhi Colony, the main centres, the local estimate is there are around 500 units. The cloth they produce is sent to Pilkhuwa, where it gets the finishing touches and is distributed across India.
Rajiv Kumar Tyagi, an advocate who also runs a property dealership, says, “The rents have also doubled for commercial spaces in the past year. However, it is for people who want to take a place afresh and not for those who have been running their businesses for several years.”
The rent market is expecting new arrivals, and that’s where it hopes to make its money from. Within the town, where handloom workers are the main tenants, there is no room to increase rents. Not yet, at least. Hazi Parvez Chaudhary, a handloom unit owner, says, “As people here are mostly involved in business and their workers are from Bihar and other districts from UP earning Rs 8,000-10,000 a month, rents cannot be that high here.”
“Ab Dilli duur nahin (Delhi isn’t far now),” is how he sums up the impact of rapid rail, though he doesn’t think it’s for locals.
Modinagar’s take
Modinagar is a hub of educational institutions besides diverse businesses run by the conglomerate, Modi Enterprises, from sugar mills to cosmetics and pharma plants. Unlike Muradnagar, there’s a bigger population here that’s connected to Delhi-NCR in their daily lives, largely because of the educational campuses like SRM University, Jagannath Group of Institutions, Multanimal Modi P G College, Ginni Devi Modi Girls P G College, KN Modi Engineering College, Janta Degree College Patla, and DJ College of Dental Sciences and Research.
Varun Singhal, an MBA graduate in business analytics who runs an IT company here, said rents are 40-60% cheaper than Noida and Ghaziabad. “At present, professionals from here are going to Noida, Ghaziabad and Delhi for the same jobs. Rapid rail could prove to be a boon for my business and I can look forward to hiring people from Delhi and Ghaziabad as well. I am fully dependent on local talent now, but young professionals from nearby cities can soon come here for jobs easily,” he said.
Real estate developers have been keenly watching the market. Inquiries about land from industry owners in Delhi and Noida have been increasing because land is still cheap and the expressway and rapid rail have made commuting a lot easier.
“People (from outside) may not settle here, but setting up a business is not a bad option because they can visit more frequently and easily. Shikera road is one such example where people are setting up factories. The land price is still around Rs 10,000 per square yard,” said Vijay Singhal, a property dealer.
However, what neither city has yet is a planning framework for urban development. Naveen Kumar Jain, who runs a medical store in Modinagar, said, “People want that govt should bring some projects in the area and also implement the concept of transit-oriented development (TOD) so that well-planned development can take place here. There is no planning and buildings are being erected in whichever way its owner wishes,” Jain said.
Ajay Gupta, a handloom unit owner at Govindpuri in Modinagar, said rapid rail will generate more jobs and reduce migration to Noida and Delhi because locals can work in the bigger cities and live here. “It will discourage migration for sure and allow youths to stay close to their families. This shows the social impact of connectivity projects, bringing not just places but families close together,” he said.


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