With the advent of new technologies and state of the art infrastructure, Kolkata has indeed come of age. The real estate developers of Bengal have brought a huge change in a disproportionately small period of time. One such group which has set a mark in this field with its fine quality, style and affordable prices is the Sandhu Group.
The Sandhu group is one of the rapidly growing business conglomerates in the Eastern Region of India. Established in 1948, the Group operates across Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal and has set the pace in sustainable development since then.
Having drawn inspiration from his father, LATE, Sarup Singh Sandhu, Inderpal Singh Sandhu, the present Chairman of the group, picked up the torch and lit the lamps of diversification – logistics, Mining of Iron Ore, Coal & Sand, Real Estate, Cement manufacturing, Hotel & Resorts to name a few. From family managed company, he transformed the group to a professionally managed corporate house. With a turnover of Rs 200 crores, Sandhu group continues to expand its growth efforts by meeting customer needs today and anticipating the future. In a conversation with Shayani Mukherjee, Singh opens up about his diversified business, success story and their big plans ahead.
Tell us about your first venture?
Born in business family, I had the acumen of doing business from school days. After completing my college from Chandigarh, I used to go to Tata Steel Coal Mines in Dhanbad with my father. The basic training I got about work culture was from Tata Steel. Starting off early in life, my first personal venture was of Rs. 15,500 in Dhanbad. After having completed the project, the response was extremely satisfying and we made a profit of Rs 5000. That was the first time; I felt the rush to continue with such ventures in bulk. Also, my family was a big support and I owe a big part of my success to my father.
Is affordable Housing a challenge in Bengal?
At present affordable housing is difficult due to high land prices. It is difficult for us to start off with affordable residential projects in places like Park Street, Ballygunge, Howrah or those which are the commercial centres of Bengal. Hence, we have to makes houses in faraway places where the cost involved will be less. As a result, it will inevitably become inconvenient for LIGs, for they would have to travel all the way to these centres for work. I believe cheaper mode of transport should increase. First, the state government has to look after it, only then we can go ahead with such a concept. However, the State Government is already taking lot of efforts to boost affordable housing in Bengal.
How will the real estate bill affect Bengal?
The bill will bring a lot of transparency to the business because real estate promoters will become accountable. There will be a body to regulate everything and not let things happen under the nose. As a result, we will gain customers' confidence and demands will go higher, benefitting our industry directly.
Your take on Bengal's real estate scene...
Bengal real estate scene is stable. The business has not gone down like it has happened in Gurgaon or Noida. They are facing massive oversupply. However, the case is different in Bengal. The market here is both investment as well as user friendly. Rather, it has been more of an end-user's market and that's why it doesn't face such acute demand-supply problems. In addition, promoters of Bengal are very conservative. Although, it will not go up very fast, it will be stable.
What holds you back in Kolkata?
Our major business is in the Eastern India, Kolkata being the centre and Bengal provides us with the perfect infrastructure. Once we are done with all the projects lined up in Bengal, we are looking forward to start off with a project in Gurgaon soon. Although we have plans to expand our business across the country gradually, Kolkata will remain our base. Life is good here.
Tell us about your future projects
Recently, we have entered into sand mining and will start off with the projects within no time. We have also got some other new contracts in coal / Iron ore mining from which we are expecting high revenues. For cement manufacturing, we are shifting our plant to Durgapur because currently Bengal is our major centre of operation.
In real estate sector, we have several projects coming up. Some of them are : Commercial Project at 42, S.N.Banerjee Road, Kolkata, Duplex Bunglows in Narendrapur, High end Bunglows at J.C.
Mallik Road, Dhanbad, Ekam Park View at Nakuleshwar Bhattacharya Road, Ekam Amar Sansaar in Picnic Garden, and Elliot Enclave in Park Street among others. Apart from these projects, we are already working on Residential flats and Bungalows in Rajpur and Durgapur and work is in progress for a Luxurious 4 star hotel in Dhanbad.
What separates Sandhu group from other Real Estate groups?
Like other real estate groups in Bengal, we do not depend solely on this business. Being into diversified business helps us to keep our revenues at place. Suppose one sector of mining or the real estate business doesn't do well in the market, then we can bank on the other sectors to garner revenue needed to run our business. Apart from that, our customer driven service, quality at affordable prices and response to changing market conditions set us apart.