Sunday, April 27, 2014

Being A Builder!






It's tangible, it's solid, and it’s beautiful. It's artistic, from my standpoint, and I just love real estate…Donald Trump

Well coming from one of the biggest name in the real estate I am sure many will join his opinion. Well not sure about the later part i.e. being artistic, beautiful & solid but yes tangible by view of many who looks at real estate as well to the builders or we can say developers which is a modern term! As many people in the real estate don’t like to be called as “builder”, they feel it’s too raw or primitive. Now many of them call themselves as “Developer” or “Infrastructure Company”. Agreed, homes are one of the primary pillars of infrastructure though our Govt or society has failed to acknowledge this very fact. Recently during an informal meet of few fellow developers, one of them was telling that he has been supposed to attend a function at his son’s school & his son specifically told him not to mention in school that his profession is builder, as then the fellow friends makes too much of fun over his father’s profession! Joke apart builders have been always at the helm of critics after politicians in this country. And not for our country, all over the world the real estate & the people in has been always talk of the town.

A builder is very rich, he has liking for all fancy things in the world like big new car, latest of cell phones, branded watches, designer shoes & exclusive clothes. He always takes fancy number for his car as well for his cell, which are trademark of him. The builder travels all around the world most of the year & travels only in business class though he doesn’t make any business there. A builder lives, eat & drink only in five stars or above category hotels. A builder throws party for least of the reasons such as his son passing out of junior school & the party’s are always talk of the town & covered at page 3.
A builder rarely has to work actual & just uses others money. A builder has to have a lavish farm house where each week end is a party time for his friends. A builder need not have to be qualified rather less educated is the better for the profession or more successful on money front he is. This list can go on & on & people eagerly read about all the personal things of the builder.

Then there are myths on work or professional which are not that false in many cases. It's said about Zen (I am referring to the Zen religion & not car) that’s its most non religious religion. On the same line with all due respect to my fellow builders that real estate is most non professional profession. Reasons are simple; there is no value of any commitment in this industry. That’s why the myths or the experiences of the people associated with the builders have been accepted immediately by common man. Few of them are, a builder never delivers what he commits. Then a builder is never available in his office for his customers except when it’s time to receive some money. Same way he isn’t available for his contractors or suppliers. A builder never follow any time schedule, may it be handing over of the project or appointment with even his consultants. A builder pays very poorly to all his staff but make them work round the clock. A builder follows no rules or regulations & is above any law. A builder never builds what is sanctioned & never sell what is built. Encroachment on others land is most favorite thing for builder. A builder can vacate or clear any land may it be of Govt or private person. A builder’s file gets cleared from all tables in any Govt office in overnight. A builder can give power supply to over hundred flats from one electric meter. A builder is always being financed by some political person. A builder can get any Govt policy drafted from the top officials in his favor. And lastly a builder has to have connections with underworld.

I think only the famous Rajnikanth can beat the builder community on the myths front! Many will laugh or think I am exaggerating the things, and then trust me, you can go to any common man of the society & open a casual discussion about this topic & see what you get to hear! Also refer our Bollywood movies which are in a way our society’s mirror, they also display the builder as a villain & with all above characteristics.  All this indicates what? Nothing but what common man thinks about real estate & people associated with it. Well part of it may be truth & there are few personalities in the profession with these characteristics but that doesn’t meant the entire industry is like what people think. The era of above types builders have gone long back. Now with the internet & education people have exposure to lot of good things around & you can’t fool them that easily.

The truth is real estate industry is one of the most risk carrying industries in the country. First & foremost important thing is it doesn’t have the separate status of an industry itself. In actual its one of the biggest revenue generating industry for mostly all departments of the Govt & in a way is like a basic infrastructure segment. As a home is first & very basic need of any human being & the real estate industry is fulfilling that need. Yet it’s the wrong policies regarding the land & urban development by central as well individual states, the scene is worsening each day. Right from acquiring the land to get its clear title to get it demarcated & then carries out the sanctioning process; everything has been so tedious that even a builder gets frustrated like any other common man. Then the industry is never dear to banking segment & is considered as non priority segment. You need maximum funds to acquire the land & no bank gives money to acquire or buy the land. But the same bankers are laying red carpet for the flat holders of the project for home finance! So the builder has to borrow from private entities & here is where all the bad or ill nexus comes in the picture. And sure these are not saints who comes forward to finance the builder for the land, they charge heaviest interest rates & who at the end is going to bare that burden but flat buyer! Why can’t finance ministry take lead & come up with special finance for real estate & prioritizes the same?

Similarly fast track clearance for all types of sanctions are must & everybody speaks about it but in reality even a school going boy can tell the way Govt machinery works! Main thing is about policy making for real estate; her even God will get scared as what lies next when it comes to ever changing rules & regulations for the industry. May it be TDR or height of the building type basic rules; they are not fixed even for a city. And the vagueness in which they are drafted, for every other case one has to go to higher authority for the discretion & we know nothing comes free here! The price paid is not only the money but the unending hours lost in wait & tension & stress for getting the clearances. The land lord is all together different specie now a day’s & he cares a hang about what’s going in market. This must be the only industry where MRP is not applicable as anyone can demand any ransom for his piece of land & yet we expect the end product i.e. the home to be affordable to common man!

After the Govt clearances then it comes to actual construction. With ever increasing labor problem, you never know when you labor force is going to run away from the site for a meager increase in wages they are going to get on some other site. Accommodation of the labors is a big problem with land becoming scarce & with the kind of labor laws we have like identification & registration of every individual labor, it’s just impossible to get & retain a good labor gang. Fortunately the scene in material market is much better & a relief for the builders. At least you can get whatever material you want by paying proper money.

If we want the industry to deliver then it can’t be done one way. We need to understand the ground realities of the business & then make the policies & see that they are effective to deliver the results. The target should be easy production of the homes & better people should join the industry. Now a day’s many qualified youngsters are joining their family business & no more its uneducated person’s type proprietary business. Terms like customer care & quality control unit are filtering in the industry & many builders keep direct contact with their customers or associates to understand their needs. Also there are many who are contributing to various social cause as well needs of the society too. But the customers should also reciprocate & try to question the builder & make him feel answerable. At the same time understand his limitations too & make pressure group for such limitations so the Govt will come up with proper policies for the same.

Ultimately a builder is as much important segment of the society as a teacher or a banker, so making him alien won’t solve the problem but the more we will try to make builder community human the better results we will have! And what more a society can expect than having a family builder like a family doctor, to have its own 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/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

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jago Voter Jago!






One of the penalties for refusing to participate in voting is, you end up being ruled by your inferiors…Plato.

As expected since last full month every human being of the country & the media’s attention is on only one thing & that is general elections of assembly & why not, it’s something which happens after five years & we are proudly largest democracy in the world. With nearly fifty crore of Indians having cell phones & sure half of them with internet & with millions of FB & Twitter accounts in the country, this time election has very much reached to end level. What more important is effort of not just Govt but every ones to appeal the people to vote & it that context I came across the above quote of the great Greek philosopher.

Agreed first step of any change or development starts from the vote but is that all? This is what intrigues me more as by now most of the major parties have published their manifestos i.e. agendas of what their priorities will be if they come in power. Similarly in our city Pune also individual candidates have published their individual agendas for the voters. Needless to say Corruption, Inflation (mahangai) seems to be the major issues for the opposition & ruling party hasn’t touched it as that means acknowledging their role in the same! Roads, Public Transport, Water, Slum-Rehabilitation, Employment & Affordable Housing in Metros are common on every body’s agenda. There are Clean River promise & infamous BDP i.e. Bio Diversity park topic in few agendas but that’s all about environment. 

Are we not forgetting something very important as a voter of the country not just our city? If you see the issues as well aspects mentioned in these agendas all are speaking like the elections are of local body? As giving water, road & infrastructure is job of Municipality & electricity comes via MSEB. The BDP is part of Development Plan of the city & so is river improvement so what these things have to do with General Elections? Again we may think what it has to do with real estate & the city, well real estate deals with land use & for that every policy counts, especially infrastructure & environment related. Only those cities have prospered which have been successful to accommodate the ever migrating load of population or else they have just swelled & failed as a city for giving good living atmosphere to its residents!

We are electing people who will be representing the city at national level & will be part of National Level policy making. Agreed we can’t segregate the local issues & follow up at top level is expected by the MP but what about local issues like connectivity to other cities, condition of state as well national highways & railways? What will be the elected members stand on environment issues like forest conservation & green cover? As all around the city forests are being cut & man –animal conflicts with wild animals like panther entering in to city & villages are becoming more & more common! What about tourism development of the city as well conservation of heritage structures like Sinhagd fort around the city? Then the city has many defense establishments & their ever changing policies for the surrounding areas, is always a threat for the development. Simple thing like tree census hasn’t been done for years & nobody cares a hang for it! City is fast losing its biodiversity index & common city birds like sparrow are getting rare due to no place to live. We are human & we too have problems but the problem with tress & hundreds of species like sparrows is we acknowledge that they have life in them but we don’t allow them to vote! So who will represent them & solve their problems? Then everyone is silent about the issues like garbage which is becoming grave with each passing day & no surrounding village allowing place for dumping the garbage. The list of all such issues can go on & on!

No candidate has mentioned what will be his stand on issues which may not be concerning directly with this city but after all the city isn’t an island; we are some way related to Nation also. So what about unconventional sources of energy generation & research about the same? Biodiversity sensitive zones like Western Ghats are also very much important for development of Pune as well surrounding areas. How we are going to protect these zones without affecting development is the main question. Conservation of forests along with strengthening of forest department, it is very important for the future of entire forests of the country. And for that lots of reformations are required like redrafting of age old forest act! Similarly for proper growth of the cities with balanced biodiversity within the city Urban Development related acts for acquisition of lands for such purposes is very vital as the more delay in such process the more chances of these lands getting surrendered for encroachment & illegal structures are there! 

What will be role of the MP for getting long delayed PMRDA i.e. Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority, as promising affordable housing is one thing but how it’s becoming a reality? People want that answer from the candidates. Apart from this, what happens to these agenda post election is a well known truth! Why these agendas or manifestos can’t become a binding contract on the elected member & a periodical review of the same should be made mandatory for them. As it will ensure the voters that they have not been cheated by false promises!

Unfortunately candidates are silent about all these & more unfortunate is no voter is interested in asking all such questions. It’s nearly 70 years now to our independence & yet we have to make people aware even for very basic thing of democracy i.e. to vote in first place! No political party or NGO took any awareness campaign of voters prior to elections for what they should expect from the candidates! As for a country of seventy years of age we are too immature to vote judiciously & time is running fast! Mind it friends & get aware or else there won’t be much time left to save the largest democracy to be named as largest doomocorosy!
 
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



Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Mirror Named City!





In fact, a city is nothing more than a solution to a problem that in turn creates more problems that need more solutions…Neal Shusterman.

Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. In the years since, Neal has made his mark as a successful novelist, screenwriter, and television writer. And looking at the scene all around the city we call Pune, I am sure we are living by quote of this young writer! Somewhere I have read that to know a city you need to walk along the streets of the city & feel them in & around you! Well, I am part of Pune for more than 28 years now & yet I take on walking to know it better. While we walk we see so many things happening around at a close range which otherwise we miss while driving our vehicle safe from the outside pollution, heat & traffic noise; tucked in car with glasses rolled up & air conditioning on with our favorite music playing & eyes on mobile phone! We really miss lots of fun around, rather pain is proper word. And if its two wheeler then all your attention is on saving your bike from PMT busses & auto rickshaws & speeding vehicles as well the pot holes on the roads & speed breakers which in actual are vehicle breakers & then you never have time to see around.

It’s at walk you are actually exposing the scenes around & think about them though that doesn’t mean you are safe even you are on footpath! On such walk I saw a signage board fallen down & laying on foot path, the board was in good condition with names of nearby destination on it & PMC logo displayed along. I was seeing that board nearly four days as it was near my residence & on every day walks I used to came across the same. It’s this board which made me to remind the quote of Neal Shuterman, as who is responsible for this. Falling of board is accepted as it can be an accident but then laying it like a neglected object with City Civic Body’s logo on it, isn’t it a shame to all of us?

In our daily life so many such scenes we see around for e.g. a stray dog getting killed by some speeding vehicle on road & the body remains there for a day long with every passer by just somehow avoids it & go away; but no one comes to drag the dead body of the dog which kept rotting there for days. Then there is sign board by PMC on a bridge across our river for appealing citizen not to throw garbage or “nirmalya” is left over from pooja at home, in the river & we see under the very same board garbage laying as well people throwing “nirmalya” in the river! We see electrical DB’s i.e. distribution boxes of MSEB occupying space on foot path & with stickers of all sorts of advertisement on it. Then the newly paved roads getting dug for N numbers of reason & for the days after that the patchwork not being done giving every vehicle bump while passing over it & even causing accidents also; nobody cares to make the road as it was earlier. Thousands of vehicles bumping while crossing the dug part of the road & cursing civic body with each bump & we still just keep looking at the poor vehicle riders. The flex war going all around the city with every “tom, dick & harry” having his snap on the cutout with so called karyakartas blessing him for whatever great achievement he has made by becoming some party’s ward level chief!

We all know the condition of public toilets & lavatories, even the beggars’ who lives on foot paths won’t like to use it, and such is their condition. The taps are missing, they stinks so much that even one has to walk by keeping distance from them while crossing any such structure, leave apart using them! Worst came when I was walking right from the city’s most busy main road i.e. Jangali Maharaj road, which is supposed to be pride of Pune with all major outlets & offices on it as well our civic body i.e. PMC head quarter is at stone throw distance; here at Sambhaji gardens entrance there is a citizen interaction center. Now don’t ask what its mean or being installed for, still for those who are interested as this column is for aware citizens, interaction center is a concept copied from cities like Singapore, and where in this center the citizen as well tourist visiting the very city will get all the information about city & services it offers to the citizens. But like all so called initiatives it started but never took off! The present scene is the citizen information center is locked & in dilapidated state with beggars & hawkers blocking its view as well entrance.  The sign board of PMC is still on it making the city to more shame & what more in this very Shambhaji garden city’s garden chief seats who also is supposed to be in charge for the city beautification! So many officers must be passing from this site but nobody bothers even to remove that structure which is in actual disgrace to the city civic body.

Every day while moving on streets of this very city we all came across all such scenes & what we do rather does we ever notice them? Most of us took these scenes as part of our life like the cup of morning tea we have in our home. All they will ask what big deal is & what they have to do with it! Well, imagine a road with clean foot paths & proper signage’s & trees blossoming all along the roads with no dug out patches or bumps. Imagine no garbage has been dumped any where & a clean & clear water in the river which flows through right from the heart of the city! Visualize the chowks with no faces looking at you from the hundreds of flexes or cutouts barring your vision of skyline. Imagine a citizen interaction center in well maintained condition with a smiling attendant in it & displaying all the information about the city. Think MSEB’s feeder pillar boxes well painted & in duly protected condition. Have ever thought of clean & fresh smelling public lavatories along the street?

Well all seems like a dream scene, isn’t it? Speaking about facts, it’s not a dream but right of every citizen as we pay taxes but we think that’s all our responsibility ends there! Agreed its civic body & various departments of Govt which should be doing these jobs but then if they are not doing it or have any limitation why we can’t reach out & try to take some load is my question? Do we wait for someone to come & maintain our home or colony we are leaving in, when the house maids don’t turn up?  I don’t say go ahead & do the job of sweeper but at-least raise your voice on every platform & reach out to the authorities instead of turning blind eye on them when you see such scenes as well get united & think of solutions as what can be done for the scenes which are around your residence or work place.

This city has hundreds of corporate & business houses & there are many organizations of professional, why can’t they adopt the public toilets & citizen interaction center like structures? Though the above scenes are a common sight in any of budding city in our country as unfortunately aesthetics was never our strong aspect in town planning, especially when it comes to public places! But it’s high time as these issues are no more just aesthetics trouble but they create nascence on hygiene as well giving much needed service to the citizen as well visitors of the city also. Ask any lady on street about her needs regarding ladies public toilets & she will come down heavily with her anger on this front for the city & infrastructure. As I always say any city is good or bad, not by the sky scrapers or malls or hotels but the way it offers service to its residents! Especially the real estate developer’s associations should think on these lines as the city is in demand for real estate because people around feels it’s a livable city in comparison to other cities. If we want this city to flourish then while focusing inside of our projects we must not forget what’s going on outside of four walls of the very projects too. As remember however beautiful complex we build but it’s equally important what the residents are having view from the inside!

Take example of the Tajmahal, it looks beautiful because it’s been set on the banks of river Yamuna; imagine Tajmahal right in the heart of slum like Dharavi & then see how many people visits it! Ultimately city public places are mirrors of the society, they shows what we are as a citizen collectively! So before the whole city turns up in a big slum, rise up of else these scenes will block even our dreams & then we will be never able to rise from that darkness!!


--
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