We can spend the same amount of effort on making our existing cities smarter.

Team Urban Vaastu met with Mr Pawan Bakeri, Managing Director of Bakeri Group that was set-up in 1959 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat to contribute towards the construction need of the State at that time. Besides being one of the oldest and most trusted establishments in the State, the Group is investing in bringing about more affordable homes and expanding their reach pan India…

The Bakeri group has been in business since 1959. Tell us something about your journey and your key achievements?
The Bakeri Group was established by my father with the help from my grandfather who was an engineer from Pune Engineering College. At that time, there were only four-five engineering colleges in erstwhile India which also included what we know of as Pakistan and Bangladesh now. At that time, there was a huge demand for technical expertise in construction and construction technology for large infrastructure projects as well as buildings and commercial complexes. When Gujarat State was founded in 1960, our family moved to Ahmedabad in 1959 and setup the Bakeri Group. That is how our journey began. Over a period of time, as years went by, we came to be known for high quality in construction of our projects, good design, planning and strong foundation. We were the first company to start constructing apartments when residents of Ahmedabad started to moving apartments from houses. Since then, we have diversified into commercial complexes, apartment complexes and so on.

How has the construction landscape changed over the years and how have you met this changing environment and met customer preferences in your properties?
Over the last 60 years, customers have become more aware and thus more demanding. Everyone wants well planned apartments that radiates positivity and peacefulness. Keeping this in mind, we have always tries to deliver to these demands and even exceed customer expectations. It’s heartening to see some of their reaction as typically when they get possession of their apartment or mansion or office, they are pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

mr-bakeri

Tell us something about your current projects?
Currently we have about 9-10 projects in progress within different sectors. We have commercial buildings coming up in the area adjoining the Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad. Another large residential project in North Ahmedabad, targeting the middle and upper middle segments and affordable housing category as well. We have a bungalow project coming up in Ghuma Gam area with about 150 bungalows.

There is another high-end apartment project in Mithakhali area of Ahmedabad. We know that people want to live in very clean atmosphere to de-stress, be in the lap of nature, have gardens and pools and a great environment in general for their family to enjoy.
Rising costs of land within the city has made it unaffordable to build such homes within the city so people are okay to building bungalow homes at a distance of 30 to 50 mins away from the city.

bakeri

What role does Vaastu play in designing your properties and do you find that buyers/tenants prefer properties that are more complaint with Vaastu before making a purchase?
When we have mass housing projects like over 500 – 1000 apartments in one complex, it is difficult to have Vaastu compliance for each and every apartment but we do plan all our buildings keeping in mind the major elements of Vaastu. Around 60-70 per cent of our clients have some basic knowledge of Vaastu and they do factor this in while making a purchase decision.

What are your future plans and upcoming projects?
We have invested in a project in Baroda which has about 700-800 apartments coming up for sale which is currently under construction. We have plans to expand to other cities of Gujarat and India of course, not only within Ahmedabad. We are currently evaluating some projects for commercial, residential and affordable housing. Affordable housing has been our USP for the last 60 years and we are constantly looking at and evaluating new, good quality housing projects for this segment.

Could you tell us something about the key factors of change that you see emerging in the Indian real estate and construction business?
There have been some drastic changes at we, in the real estate sector, have witnessed in the last few years with regulation and RERA, demonetisation which is affected the real estate sector badly across India and GST. These three were the game changers for us in the last 2-3 years.

As the smart cities mission is launched, what similarities will be there between Bakeri City and smart city missions’ parameters?
Smart city is defined in various ways. Of course, our Government has defined parameters based on our demographics, geography and the culture of city’s residents. In my personal opinion, I feel it is difficult to establish brand new cities in India.
One needs to look at habitable land which is currently scarce, then one needs to identify and use resources which I feel is scarce too. Thereafter, social infrastructure takes another 30-40 years to develop.

Physical infrastructure can be built in five to 10 years depending upon the amount of money one is spending but social infrastructure takes time.
I feel we can spend same amount of time and efforts on making our existing cities smarter, like municipal services, garbage collections and water supply, road network, transportation, electrification, urban transportation, urban waste management, water management using existing technology, we can make bigger impact.

Can you throw some light on the CSR activities carried out by Bakeri Group?
Bakeri Group has always concentrated on contributing and giving back to society. We believe that we should leave a better environment for our children, and taking forward this goal, we have taken care of many city beautification spots like sponsoring municipal gardens, roadside plantations, designing and building traffic police spots, etc.
We have also done a lot in the field of health and education as well.