Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Drought of Water or Will Power?






In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference... Rachel Carson.

The famous American Marine Biologist most of whose life has been spent in water has picked the nerve in few words which are perfect when we see the present drought scene in our State. In recent I attended two conferences on the subject which is talk of the State, both has been organized by reputed media news publishing houses. And let me confess I am neither an expert on water management nor an agriculturist yet I had been there as an engineer & representing urban developers who creates homes & water is inherent part of any home! The agenda was common though the scale was different. Many speakers were common & so was the issue i.e. Drought of 2013! A lot has been talked as well written on this by now & still news papers are carrying the stories of drought hit areas. Sad part is on one side so much is being published yet those who have it in abundant are either deaf or blind or all senses have been dead. I am making this statement in context of the people who live in cities as well for rulers who make the policies & supposed to work on them.

Some where we are repeatedly failure on certain issues related to basic infrastructure of the society & they are affordable homes, traffic, good road, water, hygiene or public health & education. Out of above all list the failure wasn't that strongly taken or reacted by the common man as we can do without roads, education, public health & even home of our own but when it comes to water there is no substitute! Here I remember a dialogue from a famous old movie Wakt...
 " Samay suabse balwan hota hai, har kisiko ek satahpe le aata hi, uske same koi jada ya kum takdwar nahi"  i.e. "Time is a great leveler & it makes all feel equal as no one is more powerful than time!".  Well here water has taken the place of time, making all segments in society equal by not being available to any of them, such is the situation in many districts of the State. However rich a person may be but he too has to search for a gallon of water in the same way like a poor guy has to, is the fact & as usual right from Govt to media all are reactive. Why we fail to be proactive is a question which always haunts me.

Take the present drought situation, it hasn't happened in single night, we all know that most of our rural are depending on rain fall for agriculture as well drinking purpose & rain fall is something only Gods control. All we can do is utilize whatever he gives us to the last drop. This is very basic of water management may it be urban or rural & one need not have to be an expert for knowing this. Then what are we doing all year long when we have enough rains is my next question? The failure is there as drought is a fact so whose failure is this? Govt, Politicians, Media, Bureaucrats, well to me it’s every bodies failure. As well all have been neglecting our responsibility towards the cause & end result is a worst drought of history. As everybody is pointing now the difference between other earlier droughts & this one is, there is enough food around as well jobs & money but no water! Its single point drought i.e. scarcity of water & which is being reflected on issues related to it such as food for animals i.e. grass & the next effect is going to be more long lasting & that is reduction is production of crops. Also many questions are still unanswered like this is just end of April, the full fledged rains starts after mid June so what till then & what if the rains are not enough this year too? We are really totally off guard on this front & have paid for our negligence.

There are departments like Irrigation, Water Supply, Environment, Rural Development, Ground Water Survey, Agriculture, Revenue, Forest & Urban Development & equal number of authorities for running these departments show but no single control on the subject as important of water especially its conservation & use. Why can’t be there only one authority to decide the policy of water management & works related to the cause. Here all above mentioned departments are some way or other responsible for present drought condition & now nobody is taking responsibility of the situation. Sending water tankers & building "Chara Chavnis" ( grass shelters i.e. providing grass for the cattle's) is not accepting responsibility neither giving package to drought hit areas is, rather that's patch up on the wound. We need to take proper measures which will be long lasting & full proof. No one is saying that Govt is responsible for less rain fall, though some where deforestation & loss of green cover is surely has its impact on rain fall but major failure is because of not making a proper policy for utilizing every available drop of water & executing the policy accordingly that too till root level.

Drinking water for the Metros like Pune & Mumbai is a major subject as all around urban population is increasing & this population need lot of water for their daily use & no one denies that but who ensures that the water supplied or reserved for this population is being utilized judiciously as we are unable to make a metered water supply like basic thing in these cities? Rain water harvesting or water recycling, these terms are just on paper as even PMC's drainage treatment plants are not functioning to their fullest is an accepted truth. And the condition is true all around the State so why blame just builders or common man for wastage of water? The rivers which were used to run even half full few years back now either running dry or so much polluted due to Cities on up-stream that it’s the nuisance for people on down streams to live along them. Who is responsible for situation like this is the question?

We are in 2013 & in thousands of village or hundreds of towns there isn't any perennial water supply scheme is a fact & we call our self advanced State! Who is responsible for this? Why can't we make a module first in each region categorizing the areas as per average rain fall as well geography & study this as a proto-type water model, study its outcome & then repeat the module all along the region in time bound program. As this problem doesn't have a single point answer like Crosin tablet works on any headache! Rather water is not the problem, water is the solution, problem is our attitude looking at this solution is what we need to understand. This drought is just tip of the iceberg is what I personally feel as if we don't wake up & act then the real drought & its aftereffects are yet to be experienced. Already there are fights over the water amongst the people in adjoining districts & towns who were happy neighbors for years! The day won't be long that these fights get converted in to riots all around the State & then it will be too late for everybody. It’s high time to check our attitude towards use of water & responsibility is more with those who are fortunate to have water in abundance. Here the needle points to the Metros who have perennial water supply schemes as well the dedicated source of water.

Lastly let’s understand that we all have a role to play in this war against the drought. Helping in any way to the drought hit people is just one side of it, but not letting such situation arise should be the main goal of each of us. At least if we learn this much then the God will be happy that some wisdom is still alive in the so called wisest specie he has created! As it’s not the drought of water but of will power to fight with it!

--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

MSEDCL (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.in/2013/01/identifying-good-builder.html


Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

DP, deciding fate of the city!





All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work...Calvin Coolidge

How important these lines are especially when we are defining or forecasting development of a city like Pune which has a long standing history & culture which very few cities in the country has. Obvious the essence of the statement is the DP i.e. Development Plan of the city which has been published & open for suggestion/objection of the stake holders. Many will say whats they have to do with it? Isn't it like a cricket or football match which has been already fixed by builders, politicians or civic body officials? And apart from it what difference it makes if whatever DP gets finalised? I don't blame these remarks as I have seen them coming even from educated ones also. Rather most are not even aware that any such procedures are followed where any citizen of this city can suggest his ideas about provisions made in DP or object whatever has been published! Even those who have been going to be affected are ignorant about the DP & its making, such is the scene of this so called education capitol of the east & its people about the thing which is going to define the future of their coming generations!

For this we have to understand what is a DP? DP ie development plan & is a process carried out after every 20 years  which defines the course of the growth of the city for coming 20 years. It covers basic infrastructure like public transport & roads, drainage, water & along with many other things which are a must for a good city life. Such as recreation which includes theaters, parks, gardens & public health, eduction & the list goes on. It is a plan as well agenda in actual to execute the plan & the span expands over the coming 20 years ie a generation to pass by during its tenure. And that's why whatever we will freeze today will be faith of the city for coming 20 years. These 20 years are very important as in last two DP's ie in approximately 40 years the city has sen many changes; from the identity of pensioner's city & bicycle's city, it has become IT hub & now the travel will be towards becoming Metro. But in the process a lot has been sacrificed & we all have witnessed it. The needs of the city have changed & bicycles have been replaced by two wheelers & four wheelers. Gone are the days of calm & quite mornings & equally calm evening, now its all chaos & rush to reach work place, schools right from early morning hours. The streets are never empty except very late hours & night & hardly for 2-3 hours that too. The population has been increased in multi folds & still growing. We need to accommodate all this & coming new migrants. Despite all such problems the city still draws thousand each year as they feel there is prospect here & its true. The city offer probably best education in the country & jobs are there. From IT to automobile to education & service industry , they all need good technical man power which is the backbone of growth of real estate of the city.

This all is very much dependent on DP as that's what is going to make city better. The city as I have always said, its the life which the city offers decides the city is good or bad, so its very important to plan the city for coming challenges & that work can be done through properly drafted DP only. However technically competent people may have engaged in making of DP yet they are not God neither they claim so. Obviously there can be many dimensions the DP can be improved in & these dimensions are expected to come from all segments of the society, that's why suggestion objection are being called from citizens. Unfortunate part is most of the people are ignorant just like they are about the voting & even the affected ones are not bothered to study the contents of the DP. Its been put on web site pf PMC as well large size printouts are being displayed in the PMC main building for viewing of the people.

Now again many will ask what difference its going to be? Well, my answer is why you vote for? This is your only chance to participate in your own city development & its worth giving a try. Many things are there which we can do. Those whose property or existing buildings have been affected by some reservation can suggest alternate or if you observe any reservation for public use which was there in earlier DP & now been omitted or changed the purpose then you can object. Similarly what has been observed in this DP is mostly all existing roads have been widened  & agreed that will make more space for ever increasing traffic but at the same time it means destruction of large number of trees which are presently along the existing boundaries of the roads. And we all know once a tree is cut its rarely replaced by new tree & apart from it a new tree takes years to give the shade & greenery which the existing tree is giving now. A threat is this will make the city baron! And if we don't cut the tree then whats the use of widening the road. Basically is it required to increase all road widths, I feel only the main & major roads should be increased as its not true that just increasing road width the traffic scene will improve. We need to strengthen the public transport which will be the proper solution. Instead at many places the PMPML ie public transport's reservation have been converted in residential zones is the information. Similar things have been happened about educational as well garden & play area reservations which are equally essential for the city.

As a common citizen one thing I couldn't understand is there should be increase in numbers & purposes of the reservations instead omitting the existing reservations as then whats the use of existing DP if we are not going to follow it. As it also means that after 20 years reservations shown in this DP will also be omitted if not executed accordingly! So whats important is whatever we are proposing in this DP should be made rational so it can be executed with our resources. It has been now a fact that the existing DP has been executed only 35% , mean in last 20 years we could hardly utilize the reserved places which has been proposed in the DP just 35%. Imagine the city is living on hardly 35% of what is essential & coming years will be more difficult with increase in population & same space for this population as we cant increase the land. The DP should be backed by proper land acquisition laws & at times forceful acquisition powers should be utilized for reservations. As no person will like to surrender his/her land for any reservation but then if he is getting enough compensation for the same why he will object? But if that's not going to happen the the land acquisition for the reservations will be a big problem defeating the purpose of DP. For example in Patwardhan baug area current plat rates are nearly 7000/- per sft & if we say are giving TDR i.e. transfer of devlopment rights, to the land-lord whose land is coming under some reservation, he wont agree as TDR rate is 3000/- per sft, so why he will accept the TDR? I think the administration should think of such cases. 
Similarly in Green belts which are lungs of the city there only 4% build-able is allowed that too if the plat is more than 40000sft, making it non viable to maintain the land for the people who have smaller size plots. in such cases they are going to start miss use of the land like illegal structures or godowns or parking type uses which will be defeating again the cause of making the land green.

There are so many such cases & you need not have to be an engineer or town planner for understanding such things, as these are common sense. One more thing you also need not have to be actually affected party for suggestions or objections as you are very much party to the DP by being citizen of this city & its high time that we all should understand our responsibility in this process of city planning. Or else in coming years we will not have any moral right to criticize for the down fall of the city. Just the way the Superstar Rajnikant says, " Mind It !"


--
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.in/2013/01/identifying-good-builder.html


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

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Friday, April 12, 2013

How Many Lives We Need To Curb Illegal Constructions?




Common sense and history tell you that rewarding illegal behavior will only encourage more of it....Ric Keller
Put in very simple way by the Republican Party's USA politician about making laws for illegal trade practices. And they are applicable Globally & not just for any single country as after all law may be different at places but definition of the term illegal is same world wide. Problem is at our end we not only neglect illegality but rewards it most of the time by our acts & its not just govt or politicians but the entire society seems to be victim of the trend. Recent example of Thane building mishap is a classic example of this attitude. Now when the building has collapsed taking more than seventy lives & numbers of injured there is  a race to prove how every individual or organization wasn't part of the illegality of the building. What's shocking is the first reaction of every concerned was, may it be Municipal Corporation or Forest Department or Police or Local Politicians, that its not their responsibility. Nobody was saying yes its his or his organizations responsibility & they will try to do whatever best they can to help the victims & see that there will be no more such mishaps or illegal buildings! Here I cant stop praising USA & the way they learn from their mistakes, though the example of 26/11 of fall of Twin Towers isn't applicable here but after than in last ten years there wasn't a single terrorist attack in USA is a fact. And look on that background situation here in our own State leave apart country, each time such mishap happens Govt organizations cry over each others, media unleash their attack on everybody including politicians, municipal authorities & builders, few more such structures are demolished with lots of publicity through well organized press conferences. The State Govt promptly pays compensation to the victims & in few days every thing settles down like the dust of the fallen building!

One thing I always wonder after reading this compensation thing that had the Govt paid these people when they were alive then surely with that amount they could have bought their home with some legal developer saving their lives! Well but in our country we all value life when its put out of the body & this Thane mishap wasn't exception to it as immediately Chief Minister's office declared some lacs of rupees to each victim as well injured. Whats use of this money to them when they have lost all of their life's savings? .

Once again as usual Municipal Bodies all over the State got shaken awake & the Chiefs were busy in conducting meetings of their concerned building permission as well encroachment departments & a big drive was taken up against the illegal construction & we all read the news about it. So the show of action against illegal construction is on. Now nobody is asking question whose responsibility is it or the land on which such buildings are their comes under jurisdiction of Irrigation Dept or Forest Dept or Municipal Corporation! Well for a while the scene looks real soothing for common man's eyes but we all know how much time it will last, hardly a month & then again we all we forget illegal constructions till the next building cracks up & again there will few more deaths! Exactly how many deaths Govt wants to finally clear the issue of illegal construction is the question people & media should ask?

Long back in my school days in Chemistry I have leaned about a thing like byproduct i.e. its a outcome of chemical reaction in acquiring some main product. On similar concept all along the country especially in so called growing & prospering state like Maharashtra Urbanization is very fast & illegal construction is like a byproduct of this growth & prosperity. The Govt or the system which governs or boasts themselves as cause for this prosperity have been a complete failure to curtail or tackle this byproduct of the growth.As the outcome was urbanization that too at very fast rate making land prices in City's & Metros shot like rocket so whatever land is available becomes the gold mines for the people whom media & common man may call builder but I wont. As these are not builders but persons at par with gangsters or terrorists as no sane builder who wants to make money will go & build on any land available not checking its legality or status & build something in haste over here & the sell it to the ignorant people & fly away with their hard earned money. This is act of a criminal & should be named as criminal only not builder or developer & the punishments should be also accordingly, then only next time no person will dare to do something like this under the name of the developer!

Now coming to the main question why the people book their home in such buildings & come to live even after seeing the way it has being constructed, risking their & their dear one's lives? Well by me, need is the only answer to this question. As the population of cities growing our Govt is total failure to accommodate this population. At Govt level there is a housing department for name sake & so is urban development but what they are interested is in making the rules so stringent that no developer can build the building on whatever little clear title land is available & then the product when gone through number of NOC's get so costly that hardly 1% people who are in need of home can afford it. The policies seems to be for those 1% only but we are forgetting the target should be making the homes available for those who need them & not for those who has just buying power at market rate. I always wonder whenever I read the news about regularizing the illegal buildings made on Govt lands may it be forest or irrigation , if a private person can encroach them & build a building & sale then why the Govt on its own build buildings there & sale to the needy ones , making it legal? There we need all the procedure & documentation & red tape process but for encroachment the very same system just become blind & only opens the eyes when we loss lives of innocent people! I think the concerned departments should be working on the ways to make more & more unused land come under used for building homes & make policies to see that these homes get delivered to people who cant afford to buy a home in some real builders project. For this we need to have a detailed information all such lands & get them marked on site & take in proper protected possession & for any illegal encroachment their should be shoot at sight like laws. As the problem is not with any criminal getting hold of such lands & build illegal building over there, the problem is he knows he will get client for such illegal structure & get away with it. As any building whatever fastest way its build cant be done in over night, so what all the agencies are doing till this time we all know that. Rather illegal building construction has become a big money earning business not just the so called builder but its racket  involving number of Govt organizations as well political people is a known fact now. And its this systems protection which makes the criminal named builder dare to do such act.

Its high time even the developers who work genuinely should unite & join the social forces for the fight against illegal construction & the whole real estate is getting blamed for the acts of these kind of people who plays with the lives of needy people under the name of being a builder. The job is not just Govt's but every body's & its high time to look at the price we are quoting our product & margin of profit. Agreed every business is done for making money only but how much that money should be , its the time to decide it & act. This must be the only trade or business where the lower price of selling is fixed by ready reckoner which is like a MRP for homes. And joke is while all other products are sold below MRP by law here in real estate we cant sale below MRP, making sky is the limit for land price as well flat price! Its job of Govt to control land prices as then only the finish product which is home can be make affordable to all & that's the solution to stop illegal construction as if ever one is getting home by his capacity in legal way then who will go for illegal home? If we don't act fast then today there are few people who are encroaching the lands & buildings buildings over them tomorrow there will be millions of needy people who will be doing that & then there will be no real estate like industry is a writing on the wall.
--
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.in/2013/01/identifying-good-builder.html


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