Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year & fate of the City!







First sign of an idiot is he accepts the fate.. Dostoevsky.

I read this quote in a column by Preetish Nandi in Times on the eve of year ending. For me when you define an idiot there has to be definition of the wise also & it will be something like "A wise is the one who acknowledges the fate but never succumb to it!"  On the ending of a year & start of yet another New Year, let’s see on this scale where our city rulers stand on the front of this city's fate especially from the view of real estate? Because it’s the city which keeps gathering more & more people here for education, for work & it’s the city's rulers as well people related to real estate only who has the responsibility to ensure that these people gets a proper accommodation here as then only the city will grow & not just swell! Well no need to take any time for reaching the outcome here; even a small kid who read few lines of any news paper & can move around the city can tell it! We are idiots & shameless enough not to accept it, rather pretend to be wise!

As I have repeatedly said the city is growing like an orphan, its growing because that is fact & no one to look after it is its fate! See the issues right from the start of the passing year, the new elected body has come in place so first few months went in settling them but what about administration? It’s same for years long now & yet we are unable to locate the problematic zones leave apart acting on them. The DP i.e. infamous Development Plan of extended villages (Now even that term is old) haven’t yet through despite even when the honorable Chief Minister himself has promised about it. The "hill top hill slope" issue is still haunting the entire development plan & we are not wise enough to conclude on any concrete solution even after eight years of DP making. And our rulers have announced rather taken already steps also by issuing GR about acquiring new 28 villages in PMC! What we should call this?

The city traffic is in chaos & we rank number one in road accidents in the country with over 300 deaths & uncountable injured due to same per year. We have more than 20 lacs of private vehicles on road which includes two wheelers & four wheelers. What we should do? Boost our self as rich & developed economy for this or a failure on giving proper solution for our own traffic problems? We required to follow a Bus Day where A to Z dignitaries from the city social circle participated & made statements about strengthening the public transport, what next? The so called Metro was all along the year in news but just like a heroine who is always in news on pg 3 without any of her picture releasing ever! Each day we keep on reading something new about Metro & each day the dream seems going more far off from reality. Well when ever Metro will come we will welcome it but what about present public transport system & the PMPML or BRTS? Nobody is ready to speak or comment what to do till the Metro comes in existence & no one is coming forward to take responsibility of present traffic as well public transport system. The elected members curse civic administration, the administration don't make any statement, the police keep crying about less man force, the NGO's keeps naming everybody & the builders as well people who are making money through the city are busy in their balance sheet! It’s high time that while planning new development in the fringe areas of the city at least the developers should come together from same locality & think of developing their private public transport system for their projects. The city was few years back cycle's city; look at the scene, show me a single cycle track which is in place & usable. There are signages on many footpaths oops cycle tracks saying that they are dedicated cycle tracks but one has to search for actual space for riding a cycle is the fact. What fate we should acknowledge from this? Keep apart the traffic congestion for a while, courtesy over 20 lacs vehicles & public vehicles but what about the pollution they are creating on road & surroundings? We need bigger & wider roads for that & fly over’s too which are challenged by NGO"s as more fly over’s means more vehicles; true in a séance but till the public transport isn't in place we need roads to drive these vehicles to reach at our various destinations within the city. It’s like a fraze in Marathi "Aai jeu deina an bap bhik magu deina" means "mother isn't feeding the child & father isn't allowing him to beg" type situation! Who has stopped administration to make the roads at war level in the acquired villages is a big question to me & why they have to wait till the land lord hands over the land under road widening? Why we are always reactive on such vital front of the city development & not become proactive? Well it’s this attitude which is the fate of this city!

When the issue is of pollution from the exhausts of millions of vehicles, if we can’t control the vehicles at least we can take measures against curtailing this pollution & for that increasing tree cover is the most important factor. Unfortunately we are far behind on that front. Agreed we have progressed a lot on developing gardens in various parts of the city but they are not enough Have a look at present JM road or Ferguson College road, in 90's there were large trees making canopy on either sides of these roads & today its malls & shops & restaurants aligned with parking's on both sides. Same is situation at MG road, Karve road or any major road of the city. We have cut down the trees in the name of infrastructure development but we forgot the importance of trees in the same. Growing big tress & making the lungs of the city stronger is the most important infrastructure of any city which we have ignored totally. And result is city temperature has raised a lot in last few years as well every rainfall brings flash flood as water absorbing capacity of the city is dying because of absence of trees. There are norms for tree cutting as well plantation for new buildings sanctions but where is the check on the entire process? It’s a shame that High Court has intervened the tree cutting permission process & since last two years every single tree cutting permission however legitimate it may be has to be obtained from Honorable High Court! Why? Because our civic body has repeatedly failed to satisfy the High Court's demands for tree census outcome & monitoring the same! Apart from pollution control another important job of these trees was they were home to so many species of birds which are nearly instinct from the city now. Now we saw only pigeons or crows not even sparrows! Here the role of developers is very important as not only they should ensure plantation of biodiversity balancing trees in the new construction as well urge their customer to plant trees in the existing societies also. And the responsibility should not end in just urging the residents but a financial hand also should be given for this cause. As if the city survives the real estate is going to survive is a fact or else we all can see the fate on this front also!

Another topic which has become now a joke in my view is water! We are unable to decide how much quantity of water we need for the city & no one claims that these are the figures & facts & takes its responsibility & we are talking of converting the city in to a major Metro of the country! We are lucky to have nearby 5 dams surrounding Pune & Pimpri-Chinchwad yet we are unable to provide a system which will ensure proper water supply to all parts of the city. We have best technical brains available with budget then what’s the problem? This must be the question in mind of every citizen. We are unable to implement a basic thing like metered water supply despite every wise man has been opted for it. Why just new projects even we don't have a complete factual map of existing grid of the water lines laid years back & that is leading to major water leakages is a known truth which has been accepted by even authorities. What next? Is this accepting the fate of water supply of the city?

Unfortunately when it comes to infrastructure our list starts at traffic & water & ends at traffic & water! We boost to have best sports facility in country in the form of Balewadi Stadium but what's its utility to common citizen of the city? We don't have proper sports facilities in radius of many kilometers in many parts of the city. The administration has acquired many reserved spaces in the form of amenity spaces in newly sanctioned projects, why can’t on war level their uses been defined & these spaces being taken for the development? Many of them are large enough to have good sports facilities & can be helpful for the locality in surrounding of them. A healthy society needs fit youngster's & for that we need to provide them that infrastructure. Here also the role of developers is very important as only giving gym & club house as amenity for selling the project if they pressurize the civic administration for developing the amenity place as sports facility & get the FSI for the same the problem will be solved much faster. Here the developer will say what we can do the PMC makes compulsory acquisition of the reserved amenity space? Well no rule in this country, save those made by British, has been made automatically, not even laws about punishing rape victims! But it took life of the poor girl from Delhi for Govt to rethink the law about crime like Rape, till so many years it’s there but the Govt never thought of improvising it! And we are expecting laws about amenity space to come automatically! Well if it’s our attitude then fate is clear on front of sports culture of the city!

On the same line is the condition of medical & educational facilities in the city. Public health issues like public toilets, garbage, drainage, power supply keeps coming in news turn by turn like a comet & vanishes. Rising slums is another area of concern keeping in mind city's condition, remember no one willingly goes & live in a slum! The problem is this city offers a job for living for all classes of the society but not the home! Affordable housing for every segment of the city now seems to be a mirage( mrugajal). And this is the main reason of rising slums or illegal construction mushrooming all around the city & problems like site accidents & workers safety are the byproduct of it. We are forgetting that just IT Parks or Shopping Malls doesn't mean the city but any city's true face is the basic facilities mentioned above which are more essential in the eyes of a common man. It’s very much important how the city serves to all of its citizen than just few upper calls for whom money isn’t the issue, not all are fortunate like that. Then comes facilities like library's, theaters, museums or art galleries which are getting vanished  from the city. Actually our city's back bone is our culture & what we are doing to conserve the same? Since when you have last heard of a new drama theater or art gallery getting opened in the city? When I came in this city in late 80's in every chowk I could see a library however small it may be but no one has to search for it. This is not a sign of healthy city which boosts itself as cultural capitol of the State! Well if we are fool enough not to see all these writings on the wall then our fate is decided!

All is not lost yet, as I mentioned to change the fate we have to first acknowledge the fate! The city does have many people who are capable of changing the fate, need is to unite & make a strong effort to change that fate. And here role of every individual is equally important as this city has given each of us too many good moments & it’s our time to give the city back something in lieu of them! I think if at all we can acknowledge this responsibility of ours then it will be best New Year gift the city can have & that much the poor thing definitely deserves! So let’s welcome the New Year on this note is all I can say!

--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani ! (Click the links below)

http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/


http://visonoflife.blogspot.com/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157628805700569/

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

http://www.punecorporation.org/GRS/Complaint/LaunchComplaintCitizen.aspx

Think Green, Think Life

www.sanjeevanideve.com

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Growing Up!













Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder what's to come. But at some night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn't have to hate each other for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves... for growing up.”...Dalai Lama.

Tomorrow I will be entering to other half of 40's & while looking at my blog I realized its more than 4 years I am writing the blog, earlier the intervals were a bit more but then later pretty steady & continuous just like the way I grew. Looking back I asked myself am I really growing? Well if passing of year’s is considered then the time don't speak lie ever so I am but then its aging, what about growing? Remembered one advertise of some Viscki where prominent celebrities like Saif Ali Khan, Gautam Gambhir have shown doing their things & asking a question to themselves at the end of the advertise, "Have I made it large?" The journey which has started nearly 44 years back from a small town Khamgaon, now has been settled on a lot steadier path in happening place like Pune. I can still remember my first visit as becoming Punekar in 1986, a typical rainy season morning & travel from Pune station to Kothrud, where my hostel has been located &  now I myself don't believe it was in a "Tanga" ie Horse driven cart! A boy of 16 years looking around with fascinating eyes, as from Khamgaon to Pune was a big shift then! Now from Khamgaon you will get people migrated all over the world but some 28 years back even 500 odd kilometers from town was like going abroad & still today culture wise Pune is abroad for us who have come from that part of the State. Still in my town in talkies i.e. cinema hall there are separate sections for ladies & gents, a thing which we can’t even imagine in our dreams here in Pune. Still in that town of mine there are human driven rickshaws which we will consider as barbarian if we see the poor guy pulling it in a summer which take the mercury as high as 48 degrees!

That boy who has come in Pune in 86 had a Luna which was luxury then at my town but looking at the vehicles around I realized my Luna was a laughing stock though there were many bicycles around then yet they too were in far better condition than my Luna. Well considering the journey, I have grown up in stature, is what people around me will say, as now I drive a fairly good car with a driver round the clock & need not have to worry the temperature outside with AC on but is this mean growing? I asked to myself.

From where I have come even speaking fluent Puneri marathi wasn't taught & here English was flowing like a native tongue! I remembered once sitting amongst  friends in college a local Pune girl asked our group where is her class room & she used English; none of us could guide her instead we sheepishly smiled & looked away! Such was the condition of our lingual skills! And now I go to institutes lecturing even post grads for hours in English  & wrote a blog of my own, again the same question come to my mind, does this mean have I really grown?

That boy was so shy of his limitations & back ground that for first one or two years his friend circle was limited to few boys from rural having back-ground similar to him & where ever they go they used to stick together like rabbits in open forest & felt secure within premise of their hostel. The only travels were from hostel to college to mess & sometimes to movie & window shopping at Deccan or Laxmi road. I remember once we managed to go to Sinhagd by PMT in heavy rains, slept in a school at the base of Sinhagad & in early morning as no one couldn't sleep due to rains & cold, started climbing up & reached at top at sun rise. My only shoe pair of duplicate Adidas got torn in the climb & next six months I was kept looking at shoes in show case in shops at Deccan. Not that the money was that scarce its just not done in those days & now I have separate shoe for jogging, for gym, for badminton, for site going, for office & casual wear! I have friend circle as wide as I could imagine, from all classes of society & now that boy isn't afraid to travel in any part of world & need not have to take rest in any school for night but can afford any hotel! Again the same question, does this mean I have grown up?

That boy used to enjoy watching movies & reading books & playing badminton also. The travels to the cinema halls was mostly standing in a crowded PMT bus & many a times  walking back as tickets used to consume all the money & a cutting tea with vada pav used to be that days dinner as mess would have got close till the movie ends. Reading was mostly borrowed books or a cheapest marathi library in the locality. Playing badminton was out of imagination as it was then also a costly affair with court rents & shuttle prices yet he used to manage for finding a group occasionally who will accommodate his limited resources & allowed him to play with them! And now I have a library of my own, now there are movies in multiplexes with dinner which cost what can be a month’s salary of a middle class family & game of badminton in the best of the courts the city can have! Is it what growing up means?

Back then that boy had less money & few friends yet except the pressure of exam which also we used to enjoy there wasn't any worry or even time to worry & now when I have got everything around, I have hundreds of worries & time for them also. Right from whether a land deal will be through at end & will there be any problem in title of the land to whether my grown up son will be back from his college safely, so many of them & feeling the pressure these thoughts build in the back of the head. My most famous quote from Spider man haunts me always "With great power come along great responsibilities"; similarly is it, with growing up comes along big worries? And then again same sawal, have I really grown up, if yes why?

I think one should ask our own self this question then only we will be able to know the meaning of growing up as for me it has to be an individual’s definition. The answer lies within that how & what way we define growing up? So many things around us keep us changing & so does we, along with the surrounding. But not allowing changing the basic of us & not losing the charm of living in the process, I think is the growing up. Age does brings many experiences to us but what we gain & what loose in that process is like a balance sheet of life & its outcome decides whether you have grown up or you have just aged! I am not sure yet I have grown up but am happy that at least I started thinking on these lines & maybe that's the start of growing. Now I can see the world around with more clear eyes; feel the pain around more sharply & know my responsibility towards others problems more strongly. I have started understanding joy has to be looked out in even smallest of the things happening around me; and for that I have to ignore my own ego most of the times. It's high time to understand my greed's as well my needs & more important my duties as well feelings & act up on them, is what I have started thinking. I have started understanding that there sure is a difference between growing & aging. That boy within, keeps looking at me in my dreams as well even when I am awake but I no more miss him as I know he may have been away for a while but I haven't lost him!


And am happy that in the process I still have you with who I can share this feeling which one may call foolishness or wisdom or childishness of mind but which may be the first step of growing up. An at last what more fun there can be if you know you are growing up & there is someone with whom you can share your growing ! Well that's it!

Frds, thanks  a lot for giving me that fun is all I can say !


--
Sanjay

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani ! (Click the links below)

http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

http://visonoflife.blogspot.com/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157628805700569/

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

http://www.punecorporation.org/GRS/Complaint/LaunchComplaintCitizen.aspx

Think Green, Think Life

www.sanjeevanideve.com

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Corruption, Real Estate & Common Man!







If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher...
Dr. Abdul Kalam

While reading the recent news about corruption about real estate in city, in all the news papers this quote strikes a very imposing note on my mind. In our society three things are strictly taboo when it’s sharing personal experiences & they are Personal Earning, Sex life of a man & Corruption confrontation of an individual! Many will frown up on my observation but we are very vocal & expressive when speaking on above three issues but in general only! Never a guy will tell his real income nor his love life & surely not to whom he has bribed or from whom he has accepted if any & the quantum of the same.

Well first two are not the concern of us here but the last one sure is as that's the dark side of real estate today. Whatever fame this industry has earned, corruption has main role in earning it! Let me
very start clear the thing  that this article is not to change the or to blame the system nor I am some Ramshastri Prabhune (a very upright & non corrupt figure in history), it’s just to make common man aware how things move here & why it is so & how it can be really curtailed. I am deliberately using the term curtailed & not stopped as to me Corruption is an Attitude or Tendency & not just an act of reflex! Like the famous Akbar Birbal story where the corrupt officer when put in charge of a job like counting waves of ocean, there also he manages to get bribe from the people threatening them under the name of Badshah, it’s the tendency of a person which makes a system corrupt & not the system. Unfortunately more & more people in the system are thinking about individual benefits from the post they are holding, forgetting that's it for serving the society & not an individual!

Many will say what’s new, we
know most of the story as its teaming up of Builders, Politicians & Govt officers & all are equally involved in corruption. Well in some way its true; everybody associated with this industry is well aware about the corruption involved at every step of the industry & the black money involved yet no one acknowledges the same in public or even in close circles too! Because so strong are the roots of this cancer spread all over the industry that if you want to stay in the business then either you have to accept it or leave the industry is simple funda. You can live inside by ignoring it or saying that you won’t be part of it & with all due respect if anybody is saying that he hasn’t paid a single rupee for any of his work then he is telling a lie! Nothing moves here without money is a well known unsaid fact. Agreed there are few people in the system which we call Government who are non corrupt but percentage of such personalities is very less & getting obsolete every day or they get such a post which is non executive or on their name the subordinates takes the share. The system right from land purchasing is set in such a way that either the person has to surrender in the process of leave the project. The term transparency, single window, online clearance, fast track are just name sake & to make the image of concern organizations look rosy. In fact when you go to buy a piece of land to get the documents of that land like 7/12 extract & demarcation which are very basic ownership papers, you have to face the difficulties like the person isn’t at the chair or he isn’t finding some record or you have to feel N numbers of forms to prove that it’s your land & then in Govt record there is something else which isn’t matching to your claim of land belongs to you & the list goes on. Then there is earlier pending files, so how can be your application considered when there are so many earlier proposals awaiting the action! Why can’t the Govt itself measures all the land on their own & issue the demarcation to the individual, at least give a try from any district to do so. As for any land buyer time is the essence with the stakes involved & to save that he surrenders to the system even though there isn’t any lacuna with the documents.

Then there is registering the deal of any land, here too one has to pay! I can think of no any bigger joke than to pay the money just to register deal of my own land! But it happens here & for that we have online re
gistration of documents with a central server for each revenue region yet the system gets hanged or the concern person finds some discrepancy in the title of the document or the costing of the deal & unless you wet his hands the deal don’t get registered is experience of every individual going to registration. In state like Gujarat you can enter registration deal by sitting at your home & sure we can find out ways to reduce the manual interference in the entire process; like earlier the entire process was manual making things far more person oriented but now at least numbering of the documentation as well getting originals & true copies of the same is much faster & cheaper is a truth!

Then comes the most
difficult part of real estate i.e. getting sanctions for your building; the issue for which the whole topic once again came in lime light is arrest of a officer from local body who was working with building permission department! Here every one knows how the things moves & for whom! There are good top bosses as well few lower cadre officers who are clean but unfortunately again number is poor of such people & the whole system has got rotten in the past. I am not trying to blame just the system but the worst effect of corruption is when you know that even if you are following every rule still you have to pay then you try to take advantage of system & once a person has accepted some money in form of bribe his moral to control the law is finished & that is what happening around. I know many developers who break the law & their justification is any way we are paying ransom then why not take some advantage for our own sake! There is very nice fraze in marathi "Ekani gay marali mhanun dusaryane wasru maru naye" means, if one commits some crime & get away doesn’t mean you should also commit the same crime! But then it’s for those who are bound by morals & values, terms which are just for the sake of books now!

Most will say, it’s easier to say
don’t pay bribe but then who is going to face the music at the end? And from where all this money is going to be recovered? Needless to say from the pocket of the end user i.e. the common man whose dream of affordable home keeps going in costlier. Again not only the money but the tendency of breaking the law which this corruption generates is equally dangerous which in a way is byproduct of corruption. Issue is now not the corruption, it’s how we are going to stop this demon which is rather has spread like a cancer in every segment of real estate. It’s even in private also, may be a bit less percentage as there is an individual beneficiary who keeps close eye on the transaction but where ever there is chance people do try as they too have seen their owner doing the same with the Govt. recently in news there was a fraud of large amount by entire chain of high ranking officers of a well known construction firm! So what it indicates? The corruption now isn’t restricted to Govt authorities in real estate but spreading in private sector too!

As I mentioned the key is making crystal clear rules & guide lines & their implementation in s
trictest way & earliest. The major reason non accountability for the proposals pending at particular table. There has to be tracking system & regularly monitored by vigilance department, this is lacking from most of the Govt organizations. As I mentioned earlier it’s the delay of which a common man or business man is afraid of because of the stakes involved & finally agrees to settle for a ransom. Corruption won’t go in a single day as it’s now deeply rooted in the entire system; we need to find our short term as well long term solutions to minimize it. On long term front, it’s the monopoly which is making the Govt agencies feel that they are supreme authority & people have to come to them only for any clearances’, this feel is making them behaving as per their will & demand ransom for performing their duty. Like we have only MSEDCL formerly MSEB to give us power supply which is a must for making able any home livable. But in Mumbai there is Tata power, Reliance as well MSEDCL so obviously there is a healthy competition between them to give better service to the customer & you need not have to pay any bribe for power supply. The same example we witnessed in telephone, few years back when there wasn’t any mobile getting land line phone connection was like building a Taj Mahal & now BSNL is behind you to get the connection. Similar steps have been taken by Railways where online reservation has bought down corruption in reservation of the travel, ultimately making journey of common man easy. What I strongly feel is trying to form a system with target base & making it multi face can surely make the difference in reducing corruption in real estate. Like why we need registrar office only to register the document? Why can’t there be number of licensed registrar offices privately run? Similarly if we have proper bylaws framed giving clear meaning, why we need only a Town Planning office or PMC to sanction these plans? Why can’t we appoint number of architects/engineers to do the same on commission basis with panel of advocates to certify the land title & ask them to issue building permission as well NA orders? Also we can put all this on web site making the same available for scrutiny for any eye. And then as mentioned put some vigilance body above all them whether they are doing the job properly or not & if found guilty punish them hard & fast! This is just one of the suggestions which will come to any common man's mind.

Ultimately when we all know & agree that corruption is wrong & should be stopped, the question is then why it’s still there & going strong? Somewhere as Dr Kalam says each of us is father, mother or a teacher to somebody; unfortunate we are forgetting what we are & till then this cancer will keep eating the society making each of us victim in some way or other!


Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani ! (Click the links below)

http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/


http://visonoflife.blogspot.com/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157628805700569/

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

http://www.punecorporation.org/GRS/Complaint/LaunchComplaintCitizen.aspx

Think Green, Think Life

www.sanjeevanideve.com