Sunday, February 23, 2014

Vanaja, the Nature Club!









Friends,

Recently we started an activity  "Vanaja", a nature club for architectural students of Banubai Nanawati Arch College, it's a woman college, popularly known as BNCA. The club activities will involve a lecture about forest from the experts in the field along with a film show related to wild life & conservation once in a month & an outing to various biodiversity spots around Pune. Also once in a year there will be a trip to national parks like kanha or tadoba, where the students will be actually staying with forest around. It's with the thought of cultivating importance of nature conservation right from education level so when these girls will enter in professional world, they will have  Eco friendly attitude developed already for their creations! Principal Mr. Anurag Kashyap & Professor Asmita Diwekar have taken lead in formation of Vanaja along with Anuj Khare from nature walk & Ashwini & Yogesh from RASA foundation are as support team.
Any such concept has to be shared with the students first as why this activity is important & so I wrote down my thoughts regarding the same & here is the sharing.....

Sanjay
*    
*   Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better… Albert Einstein
*    
*   BNCA Girls, long time back our dear Principal Kashyap sir himself has told me that all great names in architecture are philosopher from within, as whenever I come across any quote related to urban planning or design it’s usually by a big name in architecture. Not that there aren’t others who knows or have done something in the field, yet what it makes special to become great is one has to have a thinking side to become real great. Being an engineer by myself yet I respect architecture more than my own field is because its architect who thinks of any structure & then it comes on paper & then we make it in existence. What is more important than any AutoCAD software or drawing sheets, is the canvas of the mind, as here is where the first form of any creation takes place. And for this one has to understand the vastness of our own minds canvas & as it doesn’t happen automatically.

What you will be learning in the course of architecture is drawing lines, what you will have to learn on your own is understand the power of these lines! And this understanding process is like a self soul search & who better than the nature as a teacher in this search! Now how to meet this teacher named Nature? Well very simple, even on a normal day the nature meets us in many forms, it can be a piece of sky we saw from our window, the rising sun, a breeze flowing around, the bright moon on horizon, flowing water of a stream, chirping of a sparrow, new leaves of a tree, blossom of flowers of a plant in your balcony the list is endless! As there thousands of such natural wonders happening around us but how many times we notice it? Just like a routine dialogue by the professor in our class room, which we usually ignore & the lecture ends without adding any knowledge in our minds; same way all above things also passes without we learning anything from nature around us, as we have closed our minds on this front. In recent, many of the times you must be coming across the term Nature Conservation & then there is a term Nature Inspired Designs, in designing any new structures! Well, for knowing that you have to know what is the nature in first place, as without knowing what to conserve how you will conserve it through your designs! One has to have a Guru even in finding a Guru, rather I will say to understand the right Guru for the right course!

Here is where Vanaja comes in picture; which means Daughter of Forest God! Many of you will wonder how it’s related to what you are studying & some unnecessary activity in your already submission burdened life! But here on this platform you will be able to meet people who have been exposed to the nature for most of their life & many of them has made it as their carrier, such is their dedication. Nature is not just forest or a tiger but it’s the term with infinite dimensions, it includes even the people around. And forest is the best place to meet nature because here the intervention of human is least & you can get exposed to the things the way they are i.e. in natural form. Every tree, every leaf, flowing water, calls of different birds & animals, their movement, tracks & pug marks, the sun , the moon & the stars  spread over the vast expand of clear sky all is present in raw form here. And it’s in forest you can experience that nothing happens without cause in nature; here a tiger can pass through heard of dears without even looking at them because there is no greed  but everything is on need base & that’s first thing you should know. In a way forest is display of nature by so many images we called biodiversity. From grass lands to dry forests to wet lands, you can see many forms of life. 

In short it’s a life cycle taking form around these places which we call habitat. The beauty of forest in any form is it’s always alive with some activity; such is the life here & role of every specie in nature. Even it may look silent on top but somewhere termites are building their home under the earth, honeybees are collecting honey from wild flowers, ants are searching their food below the leafs spread on ground, somewhere on the top of a Sal tree silently an eagle is waiting for prey & the list of activities is ever going; it’s a complete habitat with so many occupants which may look still & silent but it’s never that way in actual, rather nature makes one of the most lively habitats in the form of forests! As an architect it’s very important to understand the term habitat as after all whatever we will be designing is going to be part of some habitat & many of you will be designing a habitat for humans, which we call a township or a colony.

Remember whatever structure we will be designing which in end will be an encroachment on some habitat, so it’s very important to know the existing habitat or life cycle, as then only we can design the structure in such a way that it won’t be intrusion in the existing habitat but will end up as part of that habitat. Today it’s ongoing battle between natural habitats like all sorts of grass lands, wet lands, forests, water bodies & human needs rather greed’s! And one need not have to be an astrologer to tell who will be the looser at end; as except human beings no other species have architects & engineers equipped with all sorts of machinery at their service for building their habitats. Every day one or more specie is getting extinct i.e. vanished from the planet just because they have no more their habitat to live or fulfill their day to day needs. Our greed for space for Homes, Roads & Industries, IT parks, Amusement parks & many more is eating out every square inch of greens around & in the process we are driving every other specie away from their habitat. With this speed we don’t need any world war to wipe out the life but our design approach itself is enough to do that, only thing is it will be a bit longer process than the Nuclear Bomb! As today its tiger or vulture, which is in great danger of being extinct, tomorrow it will be any living creature other than human being & one day even we will be our enemy over the habitat then there will be nothing to design for as there will be no life. And that will be biggest defeat of the art & science which you are learning now i.e. Architecture! As it’s you who will be creator of a world without nature in it!

But like each coin has two sides,the very same mind which can destroy the world also can save the world, all depends on our attitude towards the growth as no one will say go back & live in primitive world. We have to balance our needs keeping in mind that others too have the very same need & for them nature is the only architect. So all you have to do is as the great scientist has said, just look deeper in to the nature, feel its beauty & accept the challenge of making it better instead destroying it. Learn to look at a tree or a patch of grass or a water body as a life to many species & then let your creation be part of it. And for that you will have to see around through the eyes of nature god then only you can become a true Architect!

So go ahead & be a good human being who cares about nature at Vanaja, which is a journey to what you want to be! As being a good Architect doesn’t mean you have a first class degree of the said branch or got numbers of projects under your firms name but it means you have understood life a shade better than others!
--
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/72157627904681345/

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, February 17, 2014

Metro, Garbage & The City!





Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare… Japanese proverb.

The above proverb tells us why Japan is not only most advanced country but one of the best living places in the world! As usual recent headlines in newspapers were reminding me the above proverb, as on one side our rulers are happy for showing us dreams of growth by giving us Metro. Which they think is like a magic wand to solve all problems of the traffic of this very city & at the same time every front page is carrying photographs of loads of garbage all along the roads as Phursungi villagers has stopped the garbage depot work. For those who don’t know the back ground our beloved Pune city’s garbage which is supposed to be nearly 1600 tons daily, is dumped or processed at garbage depot which is located near Phursungi village on east of Pune. The villagers are agitated by the nuisance of the garbage treatment as well the traffic of trucks carrying this garbage to the depot enroute their village all around the clock. Also the so called processing plant Hanjer isn’t operating at its fullest capacity & unable to treat all the garbage which comes to the depot. This causes many issues , mainly air & ground water pollution & then frequent garbage fires due to toxic gasses generated by dumped excess garbage thus causing too much of nascence to the residents around. These are few of the issues raised repeatedly by the Phursungi residents & in last few years many a times they have stopped works of the garbage depot by not allowing trucks to download the garbage thus causing tones of garbage laying all across the city. This garbage in the city also many times causes fire or the people around to get rid of the odor & its spread, burn up the garbage bins, result is same, more air pollution in the city!

Every time when there is such "bandh" at the garbage depot, all civic administration as well the leaders , political parties rush to that village, rounds of discussion happens , some promises are made & the protest is taken back for a while & again after few months the same story repeats! I wonder are we really running a system here or is this any game of match fixing type drama goes on? As if we have promised something to those villagers why we don’t fulfill the same & if still the villagers are causing trouble without any reason why strict legal action with police force is not being taken against them, as every time it’s the entire city which is held at stake!

Then in all this chaos every political party tries to show how concerned they are with the garbage issue & makes protest against civic administration & then some senior leader acts as a mediator with the villagers & their protests gets stopped for a while & again the garbage trucks starts moving garbage out of the city & same routine keeps on following! Try to remember how many times this drama we have witnessed in last many years but yet we haven’t come up with concrete solution. Now this time the whole city has witnessed heaps of garbage all around & smoke clad roads by burning of this garbage & in addition to that people were still dumping their garbage in that burning heaps!
We have NOC of vermicomposting for the new buildings to treat wet i.e. perishables i.e. organic waste & it’s being applicable for all the new buildings coming up since last five years at least! Has somebody ever taken efforts that how many such projects are really doing vermicomposting of their wet garbage & if not what action has been take against them? We have 5% property tax rebate also for such projects for the residents but those who can pay nearly Rs 50 lacs & above to buy a flat hardly cares for this 5% rebate in property tax as in actual it comes not even Rs50/month. What we need is good rewards for taking care of their own garbage & equally harsh punishments for not taking care of the same. But here is the major problem, civic administration is not ready to accept any decrease in their revenues so they always opposes for any reward scheme for the citizen as they feel it directly affects their yearly collections of revenues. And on other hand politicians always oppose any punishments to the citizen for not following civic norms like their own garbage treatments as they thinks it will affect their vote banks! So in this tussle nobody cares for strict implementation of the policy regarding managing garbage & then we face the situation which we are facing today i.e. at the mercy of Phursungi villagers!

Then another joke is collection of wet garbage by PMC itself; even from the buildings’ which has provision of vermicomposting, from them also wet garbage is collected. If it is so then who will care to treat their own garbage when it’s taken care at free of cost & if it is not sufficicant, then the residents don’t even bother to segregate even wet & dry garbage also, as that’s being done by the labors on these carriers! The garbage scene is much worse outside of the PMC limit & the city is yet growing! As the boundaries like Collector limit or PMC limit are for administration & not for the people, all they need is someone should take care of their garbage! Years came & went & we haven’t wise enough to see beyond Phursungi or come up with a policy which will be capable enough to take care of our own city’s garbage! There are locations identified for new garbage depots but not yet acquired, god knows why. And even if we create more dumping places then what? Today it’s only Phursungi villagers, tomorrow there will be these new location’s neighbors who will held the city at ransom, as only making new dumping yards isn’t going to solve the garbage issue. But restricting its generation as well treating it at local level is what going to make the difference. Why can’t there be mini plants at ward level by which even the carrying time will be reduced for the garbage, thus reducing fuel costs as well spread of less foul gasses all along the city roads? For this the amenity spaces which the PMC as well Collectorate have acquired can be thought off. Apply latest technology to treat wet garbage at local level & segregate dry garbage which can be treated at the depot with much ease & without causing disturbance to the nearby residents is the solution. All we need is vision & the action, but that it-self seems to be lost!

And on this background we are dreaming for Metro & the four times FSI for all along the track of Metro. If it’s going to be a reality then that makes nearly 32 sq km of belt with thickest ever population in it! Already a lot of debate going on about it & I am no expert on its viability or its use for traffic problem reduction but just on the scale of garbage generation what precaution or arrangement we have planned on this front? As it will be like a thickly populated new city in making within this very city & if we can’t manage garbage of the existing city what about the add-on load? While issuing this huge FSI, the planning for all such problematic fronts which in a way will be byproduct of Metro, needs to be taken in consideration & proper steps for taking care of them has to be taken right now or else Metro may or may not come in existence but the 4 FSI will surely be given & so will come in existence thousands of tons of garbage with no place for it!  

A city does not prosper with only dreams like Metro or BRT or Flyovers but with the entire living conditions around. At the same time it’s not only responsibility of some civic body to provide those living condition, it’s equally of the residents of the city also. As a developer also we should not shrug our shoulders & leave the issue to these two segments but try to implement better techniques in the projects itself for garbage treatment by giving wet garbage treatment plants as amenity for the projects. At the same time it’s equally important to see that such plants are being made in use & not just for our advertise purpose to sale the flats!  Finally garbage is product of the entire society & not some individual, so we need to have a vision for the same & then act up on it fast, being responsible for the same & united or else the city will keep having new buildings along with the Metro but nothing else will change!  And that will be the real nightmare which will be outcome of our own acts without vision!

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/72157627904681345/

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, February 9, 2014

The Commissioner, The King & The People!






Our duty is to encourage everyone in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth...Swami Vivekananda.
No need to introduce who Swami Vivekananda is, though it seems that our rulers need it most as the present act they have done clearly indicates that they have not only ignored the above words of the great man  but totally forgot the history this once honorable State has! Recently in haste of showing that the Govt also can take decisions, reason we all know behind the haste, a news which made head line was       nearly Rs 100 crores has been allotted for constructing memorial of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Arabian Sea, near Mumbai. Nothing wrong as its long pending demand & such memorial is a tribute to Shivaji Maharaj who is icon for our State but at the same time another head line was there & it was transfer of one IAS officer Mr. Shrikar Pardeshi who was Commissioner PCMC i.e. Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. Now people will as what co relation between the two things? Well both are acts by the same ruling Govt & a contrast in it doing so! Still confused?
Here is a famous story about Shivaji Maharaj; during his tenure as King Shivaji Raje has issued strict orders to his entire fort in charges, not to open the fort gate after sun down, for anybody & any reason. It’s keeping in mind security norms of the fort from attack of enemies. Once travelling away from his Capitol with few of his assistants, it was late night & Shivaji Maharaj reached at the entrance of his one of the forts & thought of taking halt there for the night. So the message was sent to fort in charge to open the gate for him, as the gate was locked for by sun down as per the orders of Maharaj himself. The fort in charge came rushing at the gate knowing the king himself as arrived at gate & seeing Maharaj,  saluted from above & politely said with due respect “I can’t open the gate till morning, as the orders are from Maharaj not to open the gates till sunrise.” The assistants with Shivaji Raje scolded at fort in charge reminding him its Maharaj himself at gate so open up the gates at once & even Maharaj introduced himself, yet the fort keeper was very clear & firm that he won’t open the gates. Seeing the dedication of the fort keeper, Mahraj & assistants took rest near the gate in open & spent night like that only. In the morning fort keeper opened the gate at sun rise, took Maharaj in & bent down on knees in front of Maharaj thinking now he is going to get punished for keeping his own king out in open whole night! But to his & all others surprise Mahraj held him up by his shoulder & not only praised him for his sense of duty but rewarded him!
It’s a story telling us how a King should behave with his officers who held the duty above everything & now look at our Govt! It’s high time that the Govt should understand that one should honor great men like Shivaji Maharaj, by following his values & principles & not just by making their memorials! On one side Govt is spending public money for memorial of Shivaji Maharaj & on other side by transferring officers like Shrikar which is act of punishment in a way, the same Govt is directly dishonoring the principles of Shivaji Maharaj! And what is fault of Mr. Commissioner, that he disobeyed personal whims of his Kings which was in actual in accordance with the orders from the same Kings! I deliberately used the word Kings as our present rulers’ thinks that they are the Kings of their constituency & some big leaders consider the whole State as their kingdom. Fault of Mr. Commissioner was, he held his duty above his Kings wish! Issue is not just transfer of the officer, that’s right of Govt & in past also transfers of many officers has happened before competing their tenures; then what so special about Shriakr Pardeshi, that every news paper made it headline , there were protests & still going on? Right from common people to various NGO”s to even Builder lobby (though not openly) supported him & opposed the transfer? For that we need to go in to back ground of the issue.

Since long PCMC is infamous for its illegal constructions, means not following any bylaws or making buildings over the reservations or no development zones like river adjoining green belts. It was all undercover as no one was complaining for simple reason all were beneficiary of this arrangement & then the land rates weren’t so high as well issue of homes wasn’t so serious. But then someone approached in high court for a petition which involved this issue of illegal construction & when high court come down heavily the PCMC itself admitted for over one lac of such structures & the number still growing! Then high court gave the directives about demolishing these illegal structures as well the UD i.e. Urban Development dept which is controlled by the Hon Chief Minister himself also gave the directives for the same. And present Commissioner was unlucky enough to be in the position where he was! And all he started doing is act under the orders from high court as well UD, as that’s what his duty is supposed to be!

Who allowed illegal construction in first place & under whose ownership & whose interests are going to hamper because of the action Mr. Commissioner was taking are not the issues which I think are important; as that’s something even a small kid who reads news paper can tell. What is more important is the way so called assistants of the kings got united & started targeting the Commissioner that all he does is demolishing & no productive work is being done etc etc. Well if demolishing illegal buildings built on various reservation lands; which in a way are like cancer for the entire city isn’t productive then what is productive? If you allow such buildings to stand then what about hundreds of other buildings which are being build with following all rules & by paying all the taxes? What moral right the administration has to ask other builders to follow the rules & do legal work, & ask the other law abiding residents to pay their taxes? Lets understand one thing very clearly fear of law will be there only if illegal acts gets punished & that too in time! And for that basically no one needs any high court or UD dept to pas the order that’s job of the governing body & only it has neglected its own job to such a large extent that’s why they held Mr. Commissioner as direct responsible to take action against such illegality & which he responded!

Now this is something which Govt or shall we say the Kings haven’t expected as they wanted to show that they are against illegal constructions just by issuing orders & didn’t wanted in actual to take any action against them as it would have been directly affected the vote bank. Again a thought process which shows how immature our rulers are as to make few voters happy we are allowing entire city to go illegal way! They seem to want Mr. Commissioner to take the heat of disspobeying their orders or court orders which unfortunately didn’t happen & then there were announcements in public speeches about regularizing the illegal constructions but for that also one has to take legal way, which needs lots of courage, a thing which no political figure possesses now days! So the best way is to pressurize Mr. Commissioner & the entire civic administration that we will issue orders to demolish the illegality but you don’t follow them! This is the thing which is of most concern as it’s not Mr. Shrikar Pardeshi but the post which he was holding is the key here.

Here after the real test is of the person next in queue i.e. who will be going to be the Commissioner as he will have to face the same situation as nothing is changed, the high court sword is still hanging & so as UD dept’s orders! Only thing is what kind of message we are sending by such transfers to the society or to the administration is the question? Seems the rulers want to show that they are the real boss but then that’s the fact, they are boss of the system only thing is they want a puppet to take blame for their wrong doings & not some real human being who does his duty by law & not by any individuals whim & wish. In past also this State has witnessed such transfers & effects of it, sad is neither the rulers nor the society seems to have learnt anything from it. They say history doesn’t repeat but somehow it’s for those who remembers & honored the term history. Here we are on the track where the terms like honor & duty are itself going to become the history!

So at least before it happens, lets wake up & as Vivekananda has said, let’s understand our duty to support                        Mr. Commissioner, not for any post but for the sake of entire city as we need more & more people like Shirkar who understand their duty & keep fighting against all odds. As if such Shrikar’s survives at any post in the system then only there is hope for the system as well the society or else one day there will be no any Shrikar, no system & we will be back to jungle law & we only will be the victims of our silence!!


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/72157627904681345/

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

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

Think Green, Think Life