Sunday, August 25, 2013

Crime & the City!









“For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.”...Noam Chomsky
How perfect this word by the American linguist, philosopher, activists & what not, fits to our present situation! Gone are the days when our beloved city was considered as  “Pensioners Paradise” ! And main reason for which people use to love as well respect it for its basic charm & safe environment as well culture. It’s really interesting to see how the terms like culture, respect; peace gives way to the terms like wealth, growth, prosperity! Like all other major Metros in the country Pune also witnessed rapid growth on all fronts except the earlier three terminologies. All this happened in just span of twenty years i.e. 1900-2010. & the downfall on these fronts is now getting more significant. 

On one hand we have Malls. IT Parks, Large Residential complexes, Multiplexes’, Education Institutes to indicate our growth & their numbers are growing each day. On other hand we the news paper are full with headlines about all sorts of crimes, right from bomb blasts, murders to extortion to hit & run road accidents, rape & what not! Crimes like chain snatchings are so common that nobody now feel anything about the same. At the same time every Police Chief in recent past is crying about the less man power & ill equipped police staff & lacuna on infrastructure for the force. 

Parellely we have witnessed the war between authorities to whom should maintain & take action by millions of pictures taken by hundreds of cameras fitted over the roads for traffic violation by vehicles! And no top boss from the Govt is yet taken any action to sort out this serious issue which is directly linked with the city’s safety!

We keep on reading promises by every leader about things like fixing CC TV camera all around the city & it takes years to decide what should be budget & who will finalize the tender for the same! All this is not new as it’s a common story of every Metro of the country. But when its city like cultural capitol of the State then a basic aspect of the life i.e. safety & peace becomes matter of concern. And especially on the background of bomb blasts such promises are being made & not fulfilled, doesn’t this make our rulers a cheater, which too is a crime!

As mentioned traffic rule breaking, chain snatching, housebreaking, road gang wars & murders have become a common thing for the city but when something like murder of a social figure that too by hired killers happens then it’s high time to think about the entire system as well city’s fate! Though it’s not new to us as Major General Vaidya had been shot dead in similar way on streets & nearly 25 years back but then it was outcome of terrorist act. What happened with Mr. Dabholkar is something very shocking for a society as he wasn’t victim of terrorism but some group which is very lock within the State may be even in city! Let’s speak about Dhabholkar sir's tragic end...
 
Some where fault isn’t only with the killers of Narendra sir, but with the system which allows such easy ways to settle the score. Today its Narendra sir tomorrow someone else, we already have enough of power centers generated crime, applying black oil to the faces of people who write their views in media or few years back a stampede at Bhandarkar institute like events or political karyakarta’s ransacking some college principal’s office ! What all these indicate? Police gave protection to even a lower rank political leader on their own, why such protection wasn’t given to Mr. Dabholkar when there were threats to his life? And if they think its right decision then why suddenly such protection has been offered to some social workers now on back ground of this murder? Why police couldn’t identify such danger earlier & most important where were all these so called “I am Dabholkar” cap bearers before he was killed & has not been given any protection? Why not no protests were made for giving Mr. Dabholkar some protection, so as it could have saved his life? 

There will be lots of reactions on various medias even "Pune band" like things will happen but each time the real criminals behind such acts as well those who actually take part in such acts like killing or assault, unless they get arrested fast & convicted by the law to extreme possible punishments, people like Narendra sir will keep on loosing life for nothing!  Agreed day by day growing population & imbalance is on wealth front in society is bound to make more people to turn towards the crime & police or any system cant give protection to every individual. We on our own are also very negligent on our safety, time & again it has been proved. Society’s residents may spend thousands on their home interiors but won’t get a security camera fixed in entrance or common areas. Neither will they spend for round the clock manual good security service as we expect all this is Govt or Police Dept’s responsibility! 

When its security issue we are extremely negligent & want it to be taken care without getting bothered a bit is a fact. Latest example of FC road parking ban & protests against it is the example of it. There should be alternate arrangement for the parking is true but the safety of thousands who visits such spots & are probable target for bomb blast is more important! Then our reaction at such incidences is another matter of concern, most are busy in clicking the images of such crime scenes & share with so called social media, without even realizing that it’s not legal. Problem is not just with criminals but with us only & our way to fight crime. Always we woke up after a mishap & the awakening is too short! Day by day fear for the law is vanishing fast, may it be parking our vehicle under no parking board or taking "supari" of killing someone for few rupees, the attitude of toying with the law is the main danger to the society! And if it’s not curbed in time the day isn’t long that all the time we will be protesting only for such acts which will be a routine thing.  

As the quote says,like the myth "Bhasmasur", the rulers who are keeping a blind eye on law enforcement & busy in protecting their chair as well vote bank, will themselves become victim one day of their own acts, but then it will be too late for all. Any city’s success is on how much safe & at peace it makes to its residents & that is achieved only by culture of the society of that city. That makes each of us responsible for the cause to make this city safe for a common man & if we don’t act now then there will be no tomorrow for us!

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)

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

Friday, August 23, 2013

"Something Different" Homes!





Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams - they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do - they all contain truths...Muhammad Ali.
The great champion who in his later years turned as a philosopher too, has used above comparison for the different religions but equally applicable to present real estate scene also! As every day we see launching of new projects all around & the marketing gimmicks used for them. Nothing wrong as unless we don’t market our product how we will be able to sale them; the fun is in the way these products are projected! Just like every week we experience a new film being released and the producers are keen to explain how different their production is! Each film maker/director tries to explain from all platforms that how "hatke" from the traditional movies is this one & that’s why audience should watch it!

Singing on the same lines the trend is being followed in real estate too for launching of new project! We have brand ambassadors for the project now, who are celebrities’ in various fields. They also share their views as why they got associated to the particular project & how different it is from the customer’s point of view & things like that. The developers tries to provide many things which they claim has not been in any of other projects available in the market & their project is unique and different from others.
Here let’s look at the scene few years back in real estate i.e. in 80'-90's, when the housing was in changing phase as till late 80's projects were of small size & volume & city was yet to expand. At the same time options were limited for the customer & need for something different wasn’t there. Since 90's the customer has become more aware & the life style started changing. The more prosperity and wealth of the society has brought a sea change in standard of living as well the needs from the life also changed. Time was the key & each facility we want now  at hands distance! We don’t want to go on street for a morning walk as one there isn’t healthy condition to walk on road at many places due to vehicles & pollution & add the encroachment on footpaths & second is time at hand. So gym & jogging tracks within the complex like amenities roped in. Swimming was considered as only for super riches & that too either in personal pool or five star hotels. For masses only option was public pools which can’t be used by decent middle class families & so came along the town-ships or projects with swimming pools. On similar basis club house & gyms were introduced. Slowly all these also become common & the developers were needed to find out the more different thing for their homes. The things like library or meditation rooms or yoga rooms were discovered & introduced with the regular package of swimming pool & gyms. As the customers are also getting exposed to outer world’s developed countries naturally the assistance of architects from foreign lands comes in picture. Now we can see the projects designed by Singapore or Dubai based architecture firms; here the advantage is the developer gets assisted in introducing some more different ideas with the help of exposure these firms have got under their belt.

This is the era of Designer homes as well designer projects where the customer can demand his interiors on the line of a sample flat made ready with state of the art d├ęcor. Now few projects have their own attached terrace swimming pool & fewer claims the parking adjoin to their flat with car lift. Sky garden & gyms at top floor giving you aerial view around while you exercise is no more a new thing! And if someone thinks it’s all for just few super luxurious clients then even the low budget housing schemes also have designer gardens & things like amphee theaters for entertaining of the society. Amenities in form of specially designed spaces under the name Senior Citizens parks have been thought of & presented along with the regular specifications. So the “something different” trend continues with each new project & sure it’s in the benefit of the customer but, it’s this but which the customer should look while going for “something different“offered to them.

Somewhere in the zest of giving something different are we not deviating from the very basics of the home is what I will like to ask. As does a home or a home buyer really needs all these something different touch? Why not think of a plain simple easy to use & dear to pocket type home, which is the main need of many home buyers? If we don’t have luxurious amenities that’s fine but what one need is amenities outside of the complex & they are proper water supply, public transport & then a home with maximum natural light & ventilation along with lots of open spaces around. Why can’t we think of few builders coming together in nearby locality & think of arranging a PMT i.e. public transport route for the locality which eventually will help in a much larger way? On same lines, adopt a public park or reservation land from the governing body & develop it for the entire locality than just limiting our approach for our project? Also think of making a good road accessing to the complexes in surrounding so as the people in the projects won’t have to spend maintenance of their vehicles? Why we have to depend on Govt for doing all this & why we don’t apply our “Something different” funda here? We have Green Rating system by virtue of which we can ascertain that the project is a Green Building but in last 3 years hardly 60 projects have been registered in entire Pune region & only a few are certified under this rating system. Same situation is for such Star rating system started by PMC; so why not thousands of the developers which are launching every day new projects go for making their projects as Green Buildings & name it something different, as this will be eventually for entire society & not for few residents of such projects? Why we are not trying to cut the construction costs instead giving luxurious range specifications & making the end product costly? Isn’t it will be something different if we claim that we are giving cheapest rate per sft for a good quality construction? As for the real needy buyer what he is paying at end is what matters most! There is never a problem for super rich or super poor client in real estate as earlier can dictate his terms & get the home he want; & later category just don’t care what they are getting till it’s in their budget! So at end it’s the middle class & higher middle class who get hooked up in this something different tag!

Somewhere down the line the buyer should also become a bit aware about all these gimmicks’ & read the “something different” tag with open eyes, that whether he really needs it while buying his home? As “no lunch is free” so, what comes in lieu of “something different”, mind it very well! Decide our priorities first & then go for the deal as there is the sure way of getting a good home is what I feel. As the great boxing legend has said ultimately it’s the home of which the four walls & its surroundings is going to matter most & for that one doesn’t need to be different but plain & simple is what going to stay forever! And only the buyers have power to decide what’s truly different & what’s really needed for their home!

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)

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

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Urban face of Rurals !




“There is no logic that can be superimposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit our plans.” … Jane Jacobs..

The Canadian writer who wrote the book “The Death & Life of Great American Cities” has perfectly put the focus on how the urbanization should be done & looks at the contrast we are doing! Recently there was a news in most of the newspapers about allowing High Rise Buildings with increased FSI even in rural i.e. villages all round our Maharashtra State. Our Honorable Chief Minister has cleared the file or proposal for the same. It was also mentioned that like in Metros now the individuals who will be building (here read developer or builder) now can avail all the additional FSI for staircase, passages, balconies etc by paying the premium o the concerned governing body. And further the news said that this will increase the revenue in State Govt’s kitty by nearly   Rs 3000 crores! This is supposed to open up an avenue for more homes in rural i.e. fringe areas around the Metros like Pune, Nagpur, Nashik & which in turn will help in making the same available in affordable prices as the land rates are comparatively low here. Also this will reduce the burden on ever increasing demand for the basic infrastructure in these Metros. Wow, great initiative, solving so many problems of housing in one go, is what as usual the common man will think.

That’s the beauty of our society; we get happy very easily & without really waiting for results from such announcement. Have we not witnessed it right from announcements like cancelling of Urban Land Ceiling act saying it will make homes affordable? And then tons of assurances from every authority related to this city about improving public transport & dreams like Metro have been shown to us; & see the recent news where the top bosses themselves saying that they are not sure when the Metro can come in existence! Well keep Metro aside but who has stopped all these from strengthening the existing bus system i.e. PMPML! But we always believe in new dreams so who cares what has been shown to us earlier?

Coming back to giving more FSI along with height in rural, first we need to understand what this means. All over the State there are three types of building regulating bodies; one is Municipal Corporation for bigger cities i.e. population more than 3 lacs. Second is Nagar Parishad or Municipality for town up to 30,000 populations. And then in rural areas which don’t come in any of these are controlled by Town Planning & Collector. It’s mainly this third segment which was having no defined rules & regulations for building permission & where height, fsi was restricted in compare to first two segments. Those who may not be knowing before 11 stories buildings came in existence in Pune, city like Jalgaon has 17 storied building! This is because of Municipality & Municipal Corporations can make their bylaws & get the same approved from Urban Development Ministry. But no such provision was there in rural & that’s why the growth was restricted.

Especially the fringe area where large land bank is available around the Metros was deprived of proper building rules & the potential of the land was getting wasted. As we can’t increase land nor can create it, all we can do is to use the potential of the land available to fullest so as more & more houses will get available thus making them cheaper! In a way its perfect line of thinking but what about other side of the coin? As you can’t build just homes & make them affordable as the term affordable have many dimensions. Also a home needs basic infrastructure for living or else it becomes botheration for the system. Look at the slums spread all over the Metros like Pune & Mumbai, in one way they too are homes & affordable but are they livable is the question! Similarly by increasing height & giving more FSI, the Govt may create more homes & also have decent income in form of various premiums but what about four very basic things which a home need. And they are Water, Power, Road network & Drainage! Then follows things like Public Transport, Schools, Medical facilities, Markets & the list goes on.

Just take a look in the villages ( Now you even cant them villages as they are very much part of Pune) around our Pune city & you will realize, there are not even defined roads leave apart network, no street lights, no water supply as most of these villages depends on water tankers. Things like drainage not even in existence & power grid isn’t yet established. At many places regional plans have not been made so development is haphazard & social infrastructure like schools & hospitals are not even in planning leave apart in existence! Now if this is the scene then are we not making new vertical concrete slums with just announcing height & additional FSI? Things like biodiversity & environment are not even thought of while doing all this urbanization.

Why rural, even the villages which have been taken in PMC & the new 34 villages which have been announced to be merged in PMC newly, take a look at the condition here. Not even tar roads are there, public transport isn’t in far sight. No water supply scheme have been planned here yet, neither even the water demand has been calculated for the same. The MSECL i.e. power supply company don’t know anything about these merging & the load demand which will be coming from these future urban hubs & have done no ground work that how they will be supplying power to all these new developments! Rather it’s these areas where the growth will be tremendous as the existing city has been reached at its saturation level & the scene is same around all big cities. We are witnessing the chaos of traffic & fights over water in main Pune city itself. Unfortunate that we haven’t learnt anything from our past mistakes about urban planning & started making new ones by announcing such policies. And we think we are developing & making growth!

Yet the time hasn’t gone; the planning as well infrastructure authorities should come together & put their head down & focus on these potential pockets of urbanization. Plan meticulously the infrastructural needs of these areas considering their growth potential & make it in existence, at least the basic needs. Also strengthen the system’s infrastructure for handling such huge work load or else all this will lead to illegal constructions & we won’t be having any system to stop or control the same. And then only allow the growth related policies & do it fast as the growth doesn’t stop for any policy. The ever increasing population & its needs are like a cancer which won’t wait for anybody to announce any policy. It’s up to us whether to wake up & treat it in proper way or to get victimized of this growth & explode in to pieces. It’s high time to understand the problem from within & here role of every person is important, as this is something very important for our future, rather survival!

From Media to NGO's to Associations of Professionals as well The Developer’s, all should unite & pressurize Govt for proper infrastructure within the urban as well rural life. As the gap between the two is fast vanishing & so should be our actions. Mere announcements for making the Govt popular won’t work but the outcome should be seen on ground level & that should be the criteria to rate the efficiency of the Govt. Or else the day to see the Death of the City we love isn’t far & we all will be responsible for that, mind 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)

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

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Environment, Green Tribunal & Real Estate!




The grandest of all laws is the law of progressive development. Under it, in the wide sweep of things, men grow wiser as they grow older, & societies better… Christian Bovee.

Some where we are deviating from the wise philosopher writer’s words & if we read the recent news about some rulings by Green Tribunal & the situation it has created or will create. Before analyzing that, it’s necessary for many to understand what’s Green Tribunal? As its pretty recent development; its formed by Environment Ministry & to ensure the environment balance remains while we develop or progress on every front of the life.
To those who are not aware, here is some brief information about the green tribunal. The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues. The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
 The Tribunal's dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts. The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavor for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same. Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible. New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other 4 place of sitting of the Tribunal. In short any act may it be of Govt or private entity, where any forum, individual feels that its threat to the surrounding environment, he can file his petition against the same in National Green tribunal, under the above provision.
As I have repeatedly said, an act keeping in mind noble purpose or cause but as usual wrongly executed. Keeping full respect for the purpose & jurisdiction of the Tribunal it’s high time that we deicide the priorities of our nation & then make the laws. As of now anybody is free to go to the Tribunal on thing which is related to the environment & under this definition where there is development there will be impact on environment is the fact. As you can’t build even a single room structure without causing impact or harming the environment is a truth. Again many will wonder how?

Take any open land which may be barren yet it has its own life cycle with, may it be of insects like ants or termite & lizards along with some vegetation on it. It’s bound to get disturbed by any human activity like construction. Or take a river flowing with water, it has many water species of animals ranging from fish to snakes & also it supports many plants & weeds. And whenever we are doing activity like sand digging we are bound to disturb this chain. Then leave apart mining but to get metal i.e. khadi which is inherent part of concrete, we have to break the hills or mountains. As these igneous rocks underneath these hills or mountains are the main sources of this metal/ khadi.
All around the nation forest lands are fast getting surrendered for homes, factories, mines & many other purposes of the life which are equally important for human life. Obliviously the NGO’s are going to bang the door of tribunal for rescuing the forests from such activities.

Consider the latest head lines regarding a case about road from river bed of Mula River in our Pune city, where a petition has been filed by NGO’s in Green tribunal about damaging the environment by this road. We won’t go in merits & demerits of the case as this is not the forum for doing so, but the Tribunal have suggested many changes about alignment as well construction of the roads such as level of the road. The authorities unofficially are saying the road is impossible if all these suggestions are to be accommodated. And at present the work of the said road is standstill; this was supposed to be a great relief to all the traffic jams along the Sinhagad road as this road would have been an alternate to Sinhagad road which is serving at its full capacity. And so are all other roads in the city & the situation isn’t different in many Metros.

About sand the tribunal has banned any sand extraction in all the country unless prior permissions has been obtained from environment committees or authorities & all around the country a battle is going on amongst the sand extractors popularly known as sand mafias & the govt officials. Question is not whether we support illegal sand excavation; neither is whether digging of sand is right or wrong for environment, the question I will ask what option we have got for sand? As even for crush sand we have to dig hills or mountains as it comes from the stone only. So today we are targeting river sand tomorrow we will have to protect hills & mountains but then what about the need of thousands of structures which the country needs for providing infrastructure to its billions of residents? From where we are going to get the concrete to build them? I think it’s this question which we should be asking & not to the tribunal but to the Govt who has formed the tribunal. Here no offence against any NGO or the Tribunal as its job of NGO’s to point out any damage happening or may happen in future to our environment & its job of the tribunal to decide the matter in front of them considering that threat. But then whose job it is to balance the development as well environment? Each day while travelling home to work & back, millions of people have to suffer traffic congestion & face air pollution, besides the financial loss due to fuel burning as well man hours lost in travelling! Whose job it is to provide proper public transport & facilitate common man’s life by not requiring using private vehicles, so as the existing roads will be enough for carrying the traffic & we need not have to encroach on hills or rivers for building more roads?

Similarly on one side we are talking about making home which is a basic & primary need as well right of a human, more affordable to all segments of the society. And on other side we are tightening the noose for making them by banning very basic materials like sand, cement & metal! We are  not working on creating alternate option for such materials extraction of which depends om natural resources. And then what’s the fault of millions who has to live in slums where no infrastructure is available for a human being & all this because we can’t provide them proper housing. Why don’t any NGO’s goes to tribunal to make them available proper shelter, as when we are concerned about shelter of some species of plants & animals getting disturbed then what about human beings?

I think it’s high time that we need to carve out a balance between our so called development & our environment so as the tribunal wouldn’t have to face load of cases on all aspects of life. Also the tribunal should urge the Govt to work out on solutions & not just ban this & halt that type judgments. As till we don’t come out with alternate arrangements all these judgments will lead to illegal activities is a fact. Here I am not dishonoring the tribunal but putting out the facts. As take as simple example as of sand excavation from river, why the so called mafia’s can dare to even try to kill a senior official who tries to stop their business? Simple, because there is demand for the sand! And who is demanding this sand & for what? Many will say it’s the builders; well & whose homes are being build & who are the buyers of these homes? The answer of such questions tells the story of the condition of our country & policies we make!

We are too short sighted & that’s the main reason of all our problems! We form tribunals like green tribunal & we think we have saved environment & our job is done! Unless we don’t understand the law of progressive development where we grow by considering all pros & cons, whatever green laws or tribunals we make it is not going to serve the purpose. And again it’s not only the Govt is at blame but every person who is part of this development may it be an engineer or an architect or even developer, we should keep this aspect of environment in our mind while planning or building any structure. Even the associations of the engineers & developers should promote R & D so as to find alternate materials for the conventional one. Let’s acknowledge this & act in accordance as then only we will be securing future of our generation next!


--
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)

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