Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Policy, New Questions!



Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. ..Albert Einstein

This particular quote I always remember when ever I try to analyze any new policy or ruling of the Govt. Not that each time they are wrong, rather the intentions are always good while making any policy. Especially when it deals for the well being of common man! But the problem is in defining the policy as well its implementation! Most of the times when the policy is declared or defined it never reach to the intentions is a proven fact. We all witnessed what happened with the infamous ULC act (Urban Land Ceilling) which was bought in for making homes dearer to the end user & real needy ones! Similar things happened with EWS reservations i.e. economically weaker Sector houses policy in PMC development plan. Have we ever kept record that how many really needy ones got the homes with above mentioned laws or policies? Rather their failure is that the very Govt scrapped them after a while. Joke is when ULC has bought in that time its stated that it will be the best tool to provide homes to common man at affordable rate & the very same logic has been given while scrapping the ULC act, that the homes will be cheaper by doing so! What an irony!

Day by day with growing urbanization home is becoming a most sought after commodity as more & more people are migrating to city's & its a job of Govt to make the policies by virtue of which homes get available to every person. This may sound like “Mungerilal ke hasin sapane" but it’s a fact. As a home of self ownership is a must for every living human being & unfortunate that’s not being possible in our country. Keeping in mind the respectable Govt does keep on beating their head & comes up with various options but whether it works or not & if not why, no one thinks on this aspect!

Keeping something in mind now there has been a new policy by which 20% of the flats will have to be between 20sq m-40sq m in every building/project which is going to be built on plot more than 2000sq m! A very important policy has been crafted by Urban Development & Housing Ministry which has come in existence from last few months. Again when ever any such policy comes why the people related to the particular industry hasn’t taken in consideration neither their expertise is a quiz to me? With all due respect to the people making policy but they have to consider views & difficulties in field while executing such policies! No one is against in making any policy for affordable housing but question is whether such policy can survive?

For e.g. how in a single building such smaller flats can be designed? Even if they are designed what about their maintenance costs as how 20% these smaller flat holders can match up with maintenance which other larger flat holders are going to pay? It’s said that MHADA ( Maharashtra Housing And Developement Authority) will be buying these 20% flats & will be distributing them through themselves & will give additional FSI in lieu of construction cost to the developer for recovering construction cost. Means additional burden of FSI on the same piece of land will be there. And how parking & other such infrastructure will be maintained as the land area will remain same? As no supporting policy has been drafted for such issues. We will need relaxations in side margins, parking as well height of the building norms as we are keeping land area same & increasing the construction area. Also the time span involved in acquiring or handing over these 20% flats to MHADA & their allotment process are also important as they can delay the society conveyance process if not done in time!  The policy specks nothing about these detailing. Again what about the project is of bungalow or row houses? How the smaller flats are going to be accommodated in such cases? This is a common lacuna which is observed while drafting any such policy it’s observed.

The approach is never holistic & that’s another reason for people not welcoming such policies. We all know the need & importance of making homes affordable to the common man but the way has to be well defined & practical & not just hypothetical is what people expect. The time delays in understanding the policy & finding its meaning is also painful as the developer has put his heavy stakes in land buying & every months delay is going to make the product costly! And again who is going to bare the cost rise but the flat buyer! Rather this policy should have been applied for larger plots where separate building for such size homes can be build so their infrastructure also could have been planned accordingly, making them real affordable for living even after possession. Or we can reserve the lands for smaller homes only & apply special rules for them where the occupants as well the developer both can be in win win situation. For e.g. give more FSI & restrict the sale value as well ask developer to keep sinking fund for day to day maintainance of the complex & things like that. And then make such reservations evenly spread all around the city so the wider options will become available to the citizens for choosing their home. What’s need of time is a policy which covers all such practicalities & then aims for the end result which is expected through the same.

It’s high time the Govt policy makers should understand this or as the quote says & like earlier policies & laws, again after some years we will be blaming this policy too for making homes costlier & will scrap it down!

--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

Please do visit my blog to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !

http://visonoflife.blogspot.com/

Social Side of Sanjeevani !

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

Sunday, March 11, 2012

In making of your own home!




The productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker but of the manager...Peter Drucker.

And how apt are the words by the management guru as most of us feel that after booking a flat or a home & entering in to an agreement with some builder our responsibility is over towards the same! Just like many parents around who assures their kids admission to a so called good school & they think they have done their job! And many advertises also scream the same i.e. book a home with us & forget rest of the things! With all due respect to their intentions & marketing strategies adhering to the quote we have to understand a person booking the home with the builder is manager of the task & the developer is merely performing the job of worker! Unfortunately most home buyers forget this very fact & that’s why the recent published stats by "Consumer forum" mentions maximum consumer complaints registered in Pune are about developers! Not a healthy sign for the industry but below the surface some where buyer’s negligence about the product also does matter!

Here many will differ saying what an individual flat holder can do against the builder once  flat is booked & then what’s use of booking a flat with reputed name?  Agreed the brand value has it count yet first thing is not all can afford it & second is even if you have booked with a branded company it it’s your own home which they will be building, so nothing wrong if you show a little bit concern for the same! And if we look with open eyes towards the home which we have bought a lot can be done about the same when it’s in making. I have seen many a customers saying proudly they haven’t gone to site once after booking & directly went for possession! Great & congrates on their achievement but to me a home is far more than just a product & it has sentimental value higher than any thing we buy that’s why its not just  handing over a home we say its possession! Earlier days builder calling the customers at site was unheard of  ( still today many a don’t) but now a days  many reputed firms are known to carry on site get together of the customers who have booked a home with them & inform them about the site workmanship & procedures they are following for the quality assurance.

These get togethers help you to know the making of your own home more specifically & you can suggest what ever changes you want in your home in advance which otherwise will be impossible or too costly to redo later on. Because in this industry there is no undo button! For example if you want a kitchen otta has to made on other wall than whatever standard is then once a otta is made all you can do is break existing one & do again & this process can cost you triple of what it could be if you would have told the change in time! Such many changes are there which you would wish to incorporate & for that being regular in touch with the site work is a must. Not only the changes but one should be well accustomed with the basic quality norms that are followed on site about the workmanship & see that they are being incorporated on working stages.

If your developer is following them then good or you ask for same & you can always use this knowledge to share with your other family members /friends who haven’t yet bought the home for themselves. And these can be very basic questions as what kind of cement has been used? What is the method of water proofing for to terraces as well wet areas? How they assure that water proofing has been done? What are the window sizes & why they are of that size? So many things you can ask if you go to the site regularly & nothing to be ashamed of asking as its your own home which you are trying to know better! Also the joy or pleasure of visiting the on going works brings your home more close to your heart!

Unfortunate the number of developers following such good practices is a bit less yet & those who follow have a complaint that many customers ignores their such effort & remain absent for the events like such. As I mentioned earlier if your developer is not following such practice then surely you can request him so & if he is doing then it’s your duty to attend the same. It’s not only about knowing the home but you come to know your neighbors also through such events & surely it can help in laying a healthy togetherness atmosphere in future. As there may be many decisions like operating a bore well pump or lift mechanism or central solar hot water unit, where the operation may involve joint efforts later, which if you understand today then will be easier to operate in future avoiding many of society's disputes! And it’s not just about the site work but you can take information about the various types of drawings which includes sanctioned as well working drawings, specifications, sanctioning procedures about the project. This will help to avoid many future problems for the project as has been witnessed by some of the infamous cases in the city with real estate industry. Only thing is this has to be done in a friendly & systematic manner in co-ordination with the developer & for win-win situation. Or else what we saw with due respect like the Information act has been used mostly by wrong users, that thing should not happen! A knowledge has to be used to make both the parties better togethereness & should not be cause of disput.

A view which has been shared by many developers about making the customer more exposed to the working procedures is that they may tend to poke their nose unnecessarily more than what they know by the half knowledge & making the situation bitter for both parties! Absolutely agree with this as I myself have experiences with some of the customers for asking erratic questions about the construction process we followed at site & trying to cross argue with me about the same making blame on us for substandard workmanship! But my argument is such types of customers are going to be there always & if we are sure about what we are doing then why to get bothered & if we are doing something really wrong then what’s harm in accepting some good suggestion of our customer as ultimately its for them whom we are building the project & not just to make money! Any new tradition has its own good& bad side; all we have to see is what's the cause behind making it!

After all transparency is not merely a word but it’s an act which should display our intentions clearly towards the relation which we have committed to! And what better act we as a developer can put in than to make our customer fully aware about the product which is going to be his home!

At the end as the famous management Guru has said, remember its you who is manager of your home making, the developer is just a tool to achieve what you have dreamed about it!


Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

Please do visit my blog to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !

http://visonoflife.blogspot.com/

Social Side of Sanjeevani !

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

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tigers, Leopards & Us !



When you drink water, remember where the mountain spring is…Chinese proverb.

Frds,
Recently there was a photograph on Facebook of a leopard beaten by the angry mob & faces in the mob were clearly enjoying beating the trapped animal to death! And many FB users, nature lovers cursed the mob for the act as obiviously the scene was like stab in heart for any wild life lover!
Then there was news in papers about a tigress death near forest research center at Chndrapur district in Maharashtra State. The tigress was with two cubs who become orphan by the death of their mother. One cub was found near the body of the mother & another got lost in forest & as per news the forest officials were searching for the same. Here NGO’s & nature lovers claimed that it was a poacher’s act & the tigress was electrocuted & died out of the electric wire trap laid by poachers. Whereas forest officials didn’t gave any clear statement but quoted vague things like it might have been accident & looking at the injuries the tigress has been hit by some speeding vehicle on road nearby.
And very recently there was news in paper about death of a male tiger again in buffer zone i.e. fringe area outside of Tadoba tiger reserve & the body is found after 7-8 days after the death is what media claimed! This also is said as poachers act but forest department said it’s natural death by aging whereas onlookers & NGO’s said the tiger wasn’t that old to die because of aging!

Well people like us who live in Metro’s i.e. Pune/Mumbai  either mostly ignore such news or post our concern in FB or Twitter & forget about the incidences till again we came across any such news. Even on FB there is usual comment war & blaming & that’s it! Many will say what more we can do & its not our job let the concern people find the solution. I have come across many who even go to argue at such level that what difference it makes if few tigers die or you don’t see sparrows or birds in cities! Aren’t there enough problems we are facing like traffic, water, drainage, home prices! Why to beat our heads over animals & forests which are miles away from the cities & let’s focus on our own problems! I really don’t have proper counter argument when such points are raised except questions like does we as human beings who considers our self as most powerfully developed brains have got no responsibility towards other species that are not developed like us? Isn't being powerful means taking care of others who are weak in comparison to us? And if answer is yes then what are we doing to perform our responsibility towards this cause? Leave apart the platonic ideas like how the world will be without music of birds & fragrance of trees & butterflies etc but shear as our duty towards the weaker ones what are we doing for them?

Some where the answer lays with all of us even those who don’t indulge in such arguments & turns a blind eye on any of the argument. Now here many will say what we as individual can do when there is government for such things? This answer is worst than the people who are enjoying to kill the trapped leopard because what is government but us!
Going case by case yes the faces in the snap killing the leopard may seem to be enjoying the act but then it’s easy to criticize them by sitting in our office space or secured home in city & post of FB. Imagine our self living in hutments in rural areas on fringe of forests where leopards & tigers are roaming around & can lift your kid playing outside of the home or killing your cows which are source of your income which is mere enough to make your family survive.  Then you will understand, this mob considers them as their worst enemy & that’s why if at all you see joy on their faces while killing the entrapped leopards then it’s because they have finally got their enemy! No fault of the poor leopards, I am putting just facts.
Case two & three are bit similar, a tigress with cubs have too many restrictions. She has to protect them from male tiger that can kill them or even smaller predators like wild dogs as well she has to feed them.  And for that she has to roam around to get food for herself as well for the cubs. Similarly tiger leaving nation park & moving in fringe area is not a new thing for the people living around national park as the boundaries are made by human beings & for us to follow & not for the animals.

Exactly this is where the clash of human & animals come. Not only tigers & leopards but the nuisance to the adjoining people’s establishments is from dears, Neel-guy & wild bores too. As their herds can destroy the crops in one night leaving the farmers yearly crop gone for a toss! Naturally you can’t expect these people being friendly all the time with forest or animals. And what they do to protect their assets & life? They destroy the forest i.e. habitats of animals as well they make death traps for the animals killing them by every mean available from electrocuting too crude bombs too poisoning their food as well water! In addition to this when its animal like tiger who’s every part gets sold of there is entity like poachers! These poachers take advantage of knowledge of local people & their hatred for the animals because of nuscence they are causing & use them as assistant for poaching. All this is very logical & known facts! Forests are getting encroached by urban development around them which again is need of time as the ever increasing population needs homes & food & for that land is required.
Here is where the main problem is, whose has first claim on the land, humans or forests? I am saying forest because its not one specie like Tiger or Leopard we are talking about, they are just one link of the entire life cycle but right from the termites too tiger there are thousands of species of other living creature which are associated with the term forest & we have to give them their space. And this is job of human being. As we have different segments of society to whom various responsibilities have been delegated & the incidences mentioned above is indication of failure of the system. For example why the leopards have to come out of forest & hunt easier target like human being? Why the tigress has to move away from the dense forest & come on the road to get hit by speeding vehicle, even if the claim of forest department is accepted that it was an accident? Why the tiger deaths couldn’t notice till 7-8 days when there is full fledged forest department staff deputed over there?
Asking questions is easy but providing solutions & executing them is the main key which all of us forget. Need of the time is define the land use & follow it strictly. Enforce the concern departments to do the job & like in private industry periodical audit of results has to be there & failing in outcome strict & immediate action has to be taken on concerned people, may they be government or private. Even the political interference in such matters has to be stopped & that can happen only by public pressure that is aware for the cause.

There was news about forest department not having even enough cameras because of which the animal census has been getting delayed! Such things have to be planned in financial budgets & given priority. Any land use planning around the forest areas the final say has to be with forest department & not with urban development & the development as well regional plans has to be made jointly by these two departments. Right now no one knows where the boundary of buffer zone meets with boundary of regional plan. Shifting of affected human settlements due to forest has to be enforces & with due compensation & fast as time is the essence in such matters. Same is applicable for the compensation of damage due to animal attack on life or on crops or cattle's. Its not the just amount but the time goes in getting that amount makes people angry with the system & as they cant do any thing to the system that anger triggers on the poor animals or they find easy way to join hands with poachers & get read of the animal. The forest department should have enough funds to have informants like the crime branch of police or RAW of home department has which will make them aware before any killing happens.  Also ensure that the staff working in forest department loves the forest & not just does it for the sake of salary. Like a good teacher & bad teacher, both gets paid for teaching yet it’s the good teacher who makes the difference & converts an average student in to better one, the person who loves forest can do the difference in conservation. There has to be as I mentioned earlier, auditing system with the performance & generous rewards also. At the same time involve the people who are interested in contributing the cause of conservation. What I have observed is forest department's many official's have very closed mind about taking outsiders help or assistance, they may be right with their experience but in Metro’s many NGO’s have worked well with the local bodies & the results are good for the city. Similar things can be implemented at forest for better conservation. As like human population if animal’s population we want to grow then we will need space as well infrastructure for the same & for that we will need expertise also. Try to develop the areas around the forests more sustainable with infrastructure like irrigation, roads & transportation, medical & educational facilities & controlled tourism  which will make the people beneficiary & they will realize it’s because of the forest they are getting benefited & then only they will love the forest & make friends with it. Rather special ECONOMIC packages has to be worked out for people living around forests!

As the proverb says when we enjoy our luxuries we should be responsible enough to know what the source of them is! 

And instead cursing the government don’t forget  each of us has got government in us, we can at least raise our voice & speak what we feel about all such issues as well think what you can do to support the system. Like right from donating many household things to the people residing in or around the forests  to actually go & visit such places & understand the actual facts about them so many things can be done. After all every major change has started from some individual effort & you can be that change, mind it!



--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

Please do visit my blog to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !

http://visonoflife.blogspot.com/

Social Side of Sanjeevani !

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