Ever since the state's new capital Amaravati was announced in this region, real estate prices have zoomed. Land deals worth crores are being struck in bare-bone offices, some as basic as a shed with an asbestos roof, a table and a couple of chairs, a telephone connection and some documents.
The agents were only yesterday farmers or drivers or landless labour. They say there is enough business and commission for everyone.
Sheikh Nagul Mera is all smiles as he says, "I used to give cars on rent and made hardly 800 to 1000 rupees. Now I am doing real estate. so we are getting a lot of money. On every land deal, I get one lakh rupees."
Farmer Sivayya turned into a real estate agent after pledging his 15 acres of land to the Andhra Pradesh government for building the capital. Sivayya has clinched a winning deal. The government has given farmers here Rs. 30,000 for every acre they have pledged. That is double the amount they would have made by renting out land.
Even landless labourers like Srinivas, who often turn tenant farmers, are happy. Srinivas has just received a cheque for Rs. 15000 to compensate for lack of wages for the last six months. And, yes, he has turned into a real estate agent.
In some villages, land rates have increased 10 times. There are signs of new prosperity in villages. New cars and fancy bikes zoom past. Many new houses wear the evidence of a recent housewarming function and several multi-storey buildings are being built.
How long will the boom last? No one is willing to even consider that this could be an artificial rise in prices.
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