Builders cash in on rising accommodation needs of KIA Motors officials
A “mini South Korean township” is coming up in Anantapur town, about 60 km from the under-construction automobile manufacturing facility of South Korean car major, KIA Motors, near Penukonda.
With the work on the KIA factory on the outskirts of Penukonda going on at a fast pace, the arrival of Korean nationals to oversee the work at the site has increased, and so has the demand for accommodation. Signboards in Korean language have sprung up offering such lodging.
“We have no suitable facilities here for foreigners, especially senior and middle management of KIA. Penukonda doesn’t offer good accommodation choices, and the offices at the construction site aren’t good enough to house them,” said a senior Indian official of KIA who did not wish to be identified.
In the initial days, officials were put up in guest houses, government and private, at Puttaparthy and Anantapur. But with more South Korean nationals coming, builders with constructed buildings on the outskirts of Anantapur started to offer apartment complexes as guest houses.
“We cashed in on the opportunity of housing the Korean nationals who would eventually want to bring their families and settle down close to the factory and the nearest city. We then started our new venture at Ramnagar and decided to even advertise in the Korean language,” said Prashant Mallem, who even employed a Korean national as a facilitator-cum-marketing agent for his apartments.
It is estimated that 30 flats on the outskirts have been bought and occupied by Korean nationals, while almost a similar number have booked apartments.
“Once the assembly line installation starts, a lot of South Koreans will be at work and need accommodation for a few months at least,” said Sung Min, a South Korean national, who works with a builder in Anantapur.