Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Before Municipal Corporation! A Reality!!







It’s more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly…Mabel Newcomer.

Mabel Newcomer taught in the Vassar economics department from 1917 to 1957. An outstanding educator, she combines her excellent teaching and faculty leadership with her activities as a professional economist. No wonder she could describe the typical human tendency about any target we set, in such effective words! This time it’s our Pune city & these would be villages merging in the PMC. No, it’s not about whether its right or wrong as the decision has been already done by the "May Baap Govt", so it’s only the way it’s going to happen & ho halla about it. The best part of Pune is whatever happens on the city front, it has to be criticized, in spite of its being good or bad for the city yet there are comments criticizing the issue! In Marathi there is very good saying about this attitude “Wagh mhatala tari khato aani waghya mhatala tari khato” i.e. you call the tiger by any name but end result is he will eat you! I think this attitude goes along when we call ourselves Punekar!

Now when the villages are going to be part of PMC i.e. Pune Municipal Corporation, the criticism is about the latest sanctioning spree of the lands in these villages. Media as well many so called veteran politicians are hell bend to prove that how a racket is behind all the sanction process within the villages which are on the verge of getting merged in Municipal Corporation i.e. PMC! Statistics’ are being produced, how in just few months the plans over the land admeasuring nearly some crores of sq fts has been got sanctioned & how its being done keeping in mind benefit of the builders as usual & how this will ruin the PMC etc etc!

Well, before we analyze the situation lets go in the past & let’s see what has happened some 20/30 years back when then PMC was much smaller & similar expansion of the boundaries has been done. For e.g. take the infamous Dhankavdi, (a village which came in PMC) which when was supposed to be taken in PMC all illegal construction came up with grampanchayt sanctioning the plans before it came in PMC. The grampanchyat wasn’t having any technical criteria & outcome is what we see today, 10 feet wide roads & buildings adjoining to each other with no open spaces or amenity spaces nor any place for plantation & least parking facilities! And yet we have to accept these buildings as it is because under the label of committed development which safe guards the interest of residents. This was totally illegal & wrong sanctioning yet we have accepted as it is.
Then there is the fifteen village’s story, like baner, balewadi, baodhan & other which got merged in PMC some fifteen years back. Here the case wasn’t like dhankawdi & large lands were available for PMC to make their Development Plan i.e. DP. But we all witnessed the mess which we only made of DP & even after fifteen years have been passed, yet the DP is under scanner & issues like River side green belt or hill top hill slopes haven’t been finalized. The TDR is development rights which the land owners get for the reservation on their land was started just four years back & all knows how slow the TDR compensation process is!

Then there were issues of reservations on the plots & debate over the same, as the reservations have been put on the lands whose owners were normal common men & all lands of powerful & politicians got away without any reservation. Agreed these allegations may not be true but that’s what common man thinks about his land & obviously will like to safeguard it from any reservation.

Now think about the infrastructure of these already merged villages. Still the road network isn’t complete, still many lands don’t have any access roads, drainage & water lines haven’t been laid. Not many of the reservation lands have been developed for the purposes for which they have been reserved in DP, and now why media don’t ask to concerned authorities who has stopped them from doing so? There is a foul cry over amenity spaces won’t be available to PMC if the plans have been approved on them by the Hon Collector, but what PMC has done with acquired nearly 160 & above amenity places in last fifteen years, have we asked them about it?  There is a shout of PMC loosing the revenue from the development charges as well premiums on these lands but will anybody provide what has been done with premiums & charges collected by the plans sanctioned in last fifteen years? Yet PMC don’t take any responsibility for supply of water or drainage in these expanded areas & yet people have to pay premiums & development charges. Thanks god PMC don’t take undertaking from the developer for providing schools, shopping malls or hospitals while sanctioning the plans!

Now on this background what’s wrong if people are getting their plans sanctioned from a competent authority like Town Planning & Collector & whose rules are more stringent than even PMC! The media & some politicians are trying hard to show that all this is illegal & even appealed to Hon Chief Minister to revoke the permissions given by Collector! Does this mean Collector has given wrong sanctions? All these permissions are pertaining to Regional Development plans only which super seeds DP, because whatever zoning is in RP has to be honored while making the DP. People are running to get sanctions before the PMC steps in because they don’t believe in the system & justice which they will have to face later. As if so keen we are then stop all sanctions for a fixed time span say for year & then make a DP & get it sanctioned during that year & make it transparent & implement it immediately after sanctioning! We can’t to our job properly have been proved repeatedly & for that we are holding other responsible, that’s so typical of our Govt! Why can’t all the politicians who have approached to the Hon CM for revoking the permission demands all the collected money in Collector limit to hand over to PMC, wouldn’t it be more logical, or put pressure on Collector to provide the infrastructure in these villages from where the revenue has been collected? Doesn’t it make more sense to create the infrastructure from the money collected & the merge these villages in PMC?

If we are so concerned about premium loss of PMC then we can make a policy that the construction which haven’t been commenced & will come to revise their sanctions after the DP is done, at that time make them pay the difference of premium charges! So the issue of loss of premiums can be taken care. Also let’s no forget that land rates goes high as soon some land becomes part of Municipal Corporation; that’s the way with real estate in every city. And right now if at all affordable housing is possible then it’s only in these fringe villages & is possible because of land rates & less premium charges here! So in a way the new sanctions are a boon for millions of citizens who are in need of a simple affordable home which isn’t possible in any suburb which is part of existing limits of PMC. The story is same with every City, though names may vary of villages & the cities!

It’s said that if there is a will there is a way but what we lack is will in itself & then but natural we try to find out a way which is going to go in wrong direction! As the quote says we don’t know where we are going & we are trying to speed up! Even Gods can save this city if we continue the journey like this. Yesterday there were fifteen villages, today its thirty-five villages & tomorrow there may some fifty more villages which we will be going to merge in PMC; question is have we understood what we want to do with our city? As there only lays the fate of this city!

Role of developers along with media as well of the common man is very much important here, as each of us should first understand the grievance of this entire issue & know the truth & then raise our voice wherever we can, as then only we have some hope left for having a good city to live in & a affordable home of our own!


--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
(Click the links below)

http://visonoflife.blogspot.in/2014/06/a-journey-of-decade-named-sanjeevani.html


http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

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, July 26, 2014

A Cancer named Slum!






There shouldn't be two Indias; we need affordable housing. There are projections that by 2017, 18.78 million will be the number of those living in slums…Girija Vyas.

Girija Vyas is an Indian politician, poet and author. She was a Member of the 15th Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, from the Chittorgarh constituency and former president of National Commission for Women of India. Well she is a poet along with being a politician & on the back ground of very recent news of regularizing slums up to 2000 by our State Govt , it may seem on the face that at last the Govt has taking some steps to breech the gap between the two Indias , as Smt Vyas has mentioned! But if we see with open mind & open eyes, there are not two Indias but three Indias around us! First is the one which lives in slums, second is which lives in the sky scrapers with all the amenities at their hand & third is which can’t afford to live in these sky scrapers & is ashamed of living in slums, so trying to chase their dream of owning a home which is getting harder with each passing day!

Well this is not for the first time slums have been regulated , earlier it has been done for the slums up to 1995 & the talks were on since last many days, exactly last ten years, as whenever election comes the State Govt seems to be remembering the slums & their importance. Even a junior kinder garden kid can say the reason behind this sudden awareness of the Govt’s regarding the slums & it’s nothing but the upcoming elections & the vote banks these slums are! Unfortunate part is we always insist on slum regularizing & never slum improvement, which should be the target of any Govt. As first of all study the cause of generation & existence of the slums & then try to curtail the ever growing slums which are like a cancer not to any city but to entire society, even for those who are living in these slums. And then decide a policy which will improve the life of the slum dwellers i.e. residents in them. And all this should be done in a fixed time span with some authority which can be held responsible. Presently any slum in any city or the Metro of this State is like an orphan; no one wants to take responsibility of it.

Truth is no slum can come in existence without a piece of land on which it is standing. Obviously such lands are mostly of Govt ownership or if private then the ownership is either in dispute or the land is under some reservation, because with land rates beating gold rates, only a fool named Govt can be careless about its ownership & allow slum to get build on it or it is any private owner who don’t want to give his land for the reservation purpose for which the land has been reserved. This is a naked truth which every concerned Govt authority knows. Here one interesting thing I remember, long ago some so called dashing & Mr. Clean Minister of the Govt has announced if any new slum has been found in any city then the concerned Police officer as well Local body officer will be suspended from the service! Well very courageous statement & surely it had made headlines as well the Hon Minister must have got lots of applauds from the mob but this all shows we are a repeat run fool; means we get fooled repeatedly by such rulers & their statements. As since last ten years can we remember even one name of any such officer from any department who has been suspended from the service for generation of any new slum? And conveniently the very same Govt authorities publishes the statistics of millions of new slums which have been added in last ten years; so with these figures the entire Govt system should have been suspended by now! Well, that’s not possible so easier way is to regularize the slums!

One simple thing Govt hasn’t understood in so many years that to come up with a clear & workable policy regarding the housing which will assure a supply of affordable housing to all those who wants a good, simple home without any fancy amenities, is the only solution to this problem of slums! As no sane person willingly will go & make a slum as his home. It’s because he understand that in his budget he won’t get a home with any good reputed builder which will be legal & with all basic amenities for living if not for luxury & so finally he settles for the option of slum. So who is the main culprit behind the generation of the slum? It’s the Govt which has repeatedly failed for making provision of such homes & then the very same Govt regularize these slums which in actual are the illegal constructions with no infrastructure for living of any human beings.

And it’s going on since decades in every Metro or town of this State & yet we are turning a blind eye for the solution. Regularizing of the slums will never solve the issue of slums but it will only aggravate it. As by now every slum dweller in this State knows that come what may slums are never going to be removed but are going to be regularized ; in other terms legalized, today or tomorrow. This is very wrong message we are sending in the society. As on one hand we are indirectly giving protection to the illegal structures & on other hand it’s unjust with the builders or developers which are doing their business by following hundreds of NOC’s required to complete a so called legal housing project! Has this happened with any other industry like piracy of a movie or duplicate spare parts of automobile company then there would have been so much of shout & pressure on the Govt that any such act would have been immediately curbed down. But unfortunate neither the builders who are legally doing the business, nor the media understands this very hidden threat under the regularizing slums, to the entire housing industry. And more unfortunate is it’s the rulers are involved most of the time in making a slum & few builders who sees the short term profit in such act also joins the hand in allowing the slum cancer to grow around.

Why in last fifteen years not a single ward member or a MLS or an MP has been summoned for a new slum in his area? Neither didn’t they have raised voice in public against the same nor have put pressure on the administration to remove the slums which are newly made & mushrooming every day under the nose of local body! It’s saddening that we have been independent now more than sixty years & still crores of population has to a hell named slum as their home. As those who haven’t seen a real slum should visit any nearby slum & try living there for few hours if not a day & then we will understand what kind of a life a slum dweller has to live! No water, no drainage arrangement, rain water mixed with sewage flowing freely around, garbage spread everywhere, hanging open electric wires is a threat all time for short circuit, in summer the tin sheets get hot like anything & fire is a constant threat! It’s not a life it’s a punishment which the resident has to bare every day! These are very few factual conditions I have named & by regularizing a slum our Govt indirectly is regularizing all these punishments to the people living in a slum. And that’s why I repeatedly put forward my point is if we can’t curtail a slum at least try to improve the standard of life there & not just regularize the same.

And then comes the issue of third India which presently is homeless i.e. they haven’t yet settled in slum but very soon either they will get in a slum or opt for another type of slums i.e. illegal buildings which in a way are concretized form of a slum. All the buildings which are built without taking any permission & with no safety rules followed are like slums only. The difference is these are vertical slums & more risky as when they fall down they take lives of hundreds of innocent people at a time. But they are in a way form of slum only. Like the issue going in & around Pimpari Chinchwad, where millions of buildings has been declared as illegal. Like slums have been regularized today, tomorrow on the same line these buildings will also be regularized. As our rulers don’t understand that’s its development which should be at the helm & not votes. Unfortunately in our State it seems to be Development for Votes & not vice versa; till then slum named cancer will keep on eating every city & town & that’s the biggest curse to our society.

Here one more aspect is there as by the norms of Environment, any development above 2 lacs sq ft area needs to obtain Environment Clearance i.e. EC, for the impact of such development on the surrounding environment as well infrastructure. Now regularizing of the slums means indirectly we are approving the development of these slums legally, so why Environment Clearance criteria isn’t applicable to this development? & if yes then is Govt in position to obtain it? This is beauty of Govt, as they thinks they are untouchable when it comes to any such law following, as had it been any private development there are hundreds of laws & noc’s but when Govt does it then its conveniently neglected under the name of public interest decision!
Population is one thing which is one of the most neglected yet true virus behind the slum faced cancer. As land is same & our population is growing, so how & where are we going to accommodate this ever growing population is the main question. The simplest answer by the rulers is in form of the slums; though no one will openly acknowledge it, yet the acts of the Govt says so!  Population control seems to be nowhere on the agenda of any Govt & if it is then why slums are growing along with the population residing in them?

It’s high time that every single person in the society should raise his voice against slums & not against the slum dwellers; & shake the Govt to improve the slums & not just regularize them. At the same time urge Govt to see that there won’t be need of the slums as then only we can live as One India or else the day won’t be long that the very beloved country of ours will fall in pieces under the pressure of handling these three India’s at a time! The building industry has to react on this & introspect our own way of business. As it’s up to us to deliver the homes to every single person of this country & fight our way with Govt if there are hitches in doing so. As just saying that Govt don’t support us will put us in same line with the Govt, when it comes to take on the responsibility. Remember if this industry has given us fame & money then it’s our time to pay back to the industry & with ever growing slums in the city we won’t be ever called our self as developers but the destroyers will be the name given to us by the society, mind it friends!
Lastly, there was one more news on the front page, on the very same day when slum regularization news was there. This news was about a lavish palatial residence of one of prominent minister from the State Govt. Nothing wrong in having residence of our own choice & one can spend any amount as per his capacity in this country for ones residence. But when millions of people are living in hell like conditions in thousands of slums, does it morally acceptable for someone representing Govt to live so lavish individually, whose job is to make lives of people living in slums comfortable? Actually this thought should be in minds of each of us as there only lays the way to one India!


--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
(Click the links below)

http://visonoflife.blogspot.in/2014/06/a-journey-of-decade-named-sanjeevani.html


http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

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, July 21, 2014

Know Your Home, Story Continues....






“Home is everything you can talk to.”….Jerry Spinelli.

Jerry Spinelli is an American writer of children's novels & coming to second part of our topic of knowing the home, I think this is the best quote to describe what I want to share. As once we have accepted rather understood our home as a person then it’s the best thing you can talk too. Recently I have seen advertise of a paint company & the tag line is “Diware boal uthegi”, i.e. the wall will start speaking with the application of this particular paint! Well whether the paint can make it or not I don’t know but it’s wonderful concept that, the speaking walls! And then there was another good advertise, I forgot the product but related to home, with punch line “har ghar kuch kahata hai”, i.e. every home has something to say! What the trend shows is, no more the home which you are buying is just another product but it’s been acknowledged as a living object just like you & me! And this means event the manufacturers have accepted that a home is something with which people can relate their emotions. Especially in country like us, home has very high regards even spiritual for most of the clients. For no other product we look for “muhurta”, i.e. auspicious time or date to book a home & to enter in, this itself speaks our feelings for the home!

In continuation of the theme from our topic knowing the home you live in, let’s see further how much we know about this person named home, which actually can speak with us. Like the language of animals & trees, one has to feel language of the home as unless you start knowing your home as a person you won’t be able to understand what it’s saying to you! Many a people complaints after starting to live with their home that it’s giving them problems but as I said if you know about the making of this home rather upbringing is proper word then you won’t be bothered much with these things. As like any other engineering the home is also outcome of good workmanship & most of the problems can be taken care in making level. And then whatever remains can be cleared by our proper understanding about the home. Like we discussed about leakages, seepage's & crack in walls; then come flooring.  

There have been complaints about color shade difference in floor tiles. Let’s understand a home is assembled body where all the spare parts have come from different manufacturers. Many a time’s tiles from the same batch & manufacturer may have slight different properties & color difference is one such. When we use natural stones like marble or kotta then there is natural variation in the shade as well pattern but we accept it. In mechanized product like porcelain or vitrified tiles this percentage of variation is much less yet slight shade difference can be there & it’s difficult to find it during time of fixing as at that time light is poor as well individual tiles looks alike its only when they are set in together & floor is cleaned & full day light you can notice the variation if any. Here one can take care of selection tiles from same manufacturing batch of production to avoid shade difference. Yet there have been incidences where the shade difference has occurred few months after the fixing. It’s mainly because the absorption capacity of individual tiles varies. And the problem can’t be solved by replacing one tile & to replace entire floor is impossible job. Best is to accept if slight variation is there & to visit the site while flooring of your flat is going on so you can dictate the major color difference if any immediately after fixing. But if the shade difference is minor then just let it go as after some time it won’t be that noticeable & especially with furniture filling the room!

Another myth about the flooring is it needed to be washed daily; here people literally flood water on the rooms floors & try to clean it! Well, the modern days flooring like vitrified or porcelain don’t need such type of cleaning. All you are required to do is just clean it dry first & then wipe the floor with wet cloth that’s all. Even with natural stones like marble which has very high water absorption capacity this won’t do any good as the shade of the stone like marble changes with excessive water on its surface! Another major threat is except wet areas like toilet, bath, wc & dry balconies, all other rooms don’t have water proofing treatment to their floors & pouring of water can lead leakage in flats below you. And if you don’t care for your neighbor below then do remember person above you also may not be caring for your decorated false ceiling!  Also unlike the floors of wet areas the other rooms flooring don’t have any slope given to drain out the water on floors so if you pour water on the floor then it won’t drain away but will get accumulated at one place leading a sure water leakage below.

From the slope part I remembered one more thing, many a people complaint that the water doesn’t get drain off from the floors of their bathrooms. Remember keeping your own safety in mind the slope to bath floor isn’t steep like a slide, but it’s very gentle, just to ensure the water flows towards the drain i.e. nahani trap on the floor. And as the bath floor is usually antiskid type i.e. a bit rough, some water may remain in these roughness of the surface, just in the form of a thin film. All you have to do is waiting a bit & just push it towards the nahaini trap which is kept to drain the water. Too much of slope to floor of bathrooms can make you skid while moving on that wet floor.

Similar issues have been observed about kitchen otta, as no need here too for pouring the water & flood the otta. Its waste of water as well again there are chances of leakage of this water from the joints of otta & the wall which isn’t water proof. Now a day’s maximum otta tops are of granite or artificial marble which are non porous & just wiping them with wet cloth can keep them clean. Yet a gentle slope is usually given to the otta top towards the sink to drain of any water spilled on it during cooking.

After flooring & such issues there is another fear about the home & it’s for top floored flats. The roof leaks & the top floor flats get hotter in compare with the flats on floor below. As we have discussed earlier the proper slope & draining out of rain water takes care of the leakage of the roof slab. About heating , yes there are chances of getting the roof slab heated up especially in summer when the mercury sours up to 42 degrees now a days in Pune! Here do ask your builder about the thickness of the slab as normal residential floor slabs are 4”-5” thick, but if we increase thickness of roof slab even by half inch then it helps in absorbing the heat. Also full layer of clay bricks above the slab thickness & then metal (khadi) water proofing makes total thickness of the roof nearly 9” thick which is very much heat absorbent media. And then heat repellent paint on the roof slab surface is very helpful in reflecting the heat from sun-rays, helping in keeping the temperature in rooms below normal. Another aspect one should look is cross ventilation as stagnant air gets heated up faster. If every room has cross ventilation then there is good circulation of air which obviously is more at top floor thus the flat remains cool.

Like human body a home is also made up of hundreds of ingredients & the more we will know about it the better we will understand it. Most of the families buy home once in a life & the four walls become part of us. So many emotions they see & share with us then only it become a home. Actually it’s very difficult to define a home; by me it’s a feeling to experience & not just a term to define an object! How we communicate with a person< it’s by knowing about things about him. What he likes, what he dislikes, what can harm it & things like that! Then only we can share our heart out to a person & vice versa. Same way if we want a home to become part of our family it’s important to know what a home likes & dislikes.

So go ahead & know your home better so as it will also know you better & serve you in the best way it can! What more a home can do as a family member than see the generations grow & prosper within the expand of those walls & being called as “Our Home” by its occupants!! And all this with just little care & understanding, that’s what the home expects from us in return!


--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani ! (Click the links below)

http://visonoflife.blogspot.in/2014/06/a-journey-of-decade-named-sanjeevani.html

http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

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, July 12, 2014

Hon Environement Minsiter Sir, its Call of the City for You!








“The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.” …David Attenborough.

Dear Prakash Javdekar Sir, it’s so much of honor for me as an individual & the Pune city too, as well pride that you have become Environment Minister for a Country which has probably richest biodiversity on the planet & it’s not about just the species of animals but the habitats which includes right from snow covered Himalayas to Desserts to Rainforests too Ocean! The more I think the more I get awe about it! At the same time we are rich in human biodiversity to with nearly twenty nine states & seven union territories & hundreds of languages & thousands of food habits & population nearing one twenty crores! Wow, it indeed is some interesting as well toughest job as this entire together makes environment of this country! Here is where I choose the quote by the famous naturalist as it’s the best one to justify the uphill task you have at hand! Sir David Frederick Attenborough is a naturalist and broadcaster & is most well-known for writing and presenting the nine "Life" series, produced in conjunction with BBC's Natural History Unit. And how perfectly he has put forward the challenges as we are a developing country & the very hundred & twenty crore populations which is strength in itself at one hand but on other hand needs food & home for their survival & that’s why conflict between the nature & human is at peak at present!

And at such stage you have taken the charge of a ministry, which till few years back many even don’t know that it exists! But right now I will be restricting the topic to our Pune city & its environment & real estate, as I deal with both fields, so thought of writing you about as citizen of this city. As rarely I will get a chance rather this city will get a chance to have her citizen at such a position where his jurisdiction is entire country yet his roots are very local. Like any developing country’s major city it’s a like a triangle like situation to handle. A triangle of with three vertex; one is home, which is a basic demand of the people living in this city, then infrastructure or we may call it as development which is essential for making people’s living comfortable in these homes  & in between these two vertexes third is the nature, which we have to preserve while balancing the earlier two! The conflict will always be there & the beauty is we can’t neglect any of the three vertexes of the triangle as only by combining the three can make a healthy city which in a way is society in itself!
Sir, I won’t go out of our Pune city as that’s different subject all together & expand of your duty is too vast to cover in one letter! Pune has very special position in our country, not just as a Punekar I am saying it but considering the various establishments in this city & geographical location as well the educational & cultural heritage the city has, makes it a very special city. Not to forget the rich biodiversity the city once enjoyed due to number of forts around the city & the hills in the city! Not very long back it was considered as pensioners city due to its lazy lay back life & the old charm of wadas as well of camp buildings but suddenly in last two three decades the city under the name of IT & Malls & with huge industrial man power demand has seen tremendous growth on all fronts but environment. The calm & quite streets which witnessed tangaw & bicycles with tree canopies covering them have given up for the millions of two & four wheelers & the tree canopy is being replaced by facades of glass buildings call Malls or Corporate offices or high rise apartments. Leave apart the cycles even there is no place for walking on the streets & what we breathe is now carbon monoxide instead of oxygen! You may wonder being a builder how I can write this but then I am not against the buildings as they are the need of very same citizens of the city but some where we are mistaking our greed as need & here is where role of Environment minister comes in picture, even at city level.
As growth is a natural process but how we allow this rather plan this growth will define that its growth or just increasing in size! We have made two development plans of the city & possibly there will be a third plan & yet we are unable to define hill top hill slopes or green belts along the rivers which will be last hope for habitats of so many birds & other species which also are citizens of this city. We have made mandatory Environment Clearance for projects above two lac sq ft built up area but there is no environment clearance required for the development plan of the city, this must be the biggest joke! It’s like you need to have a drinking lisecence to consume a bottle of beer but you don’t need a license to own a beer bar!
Rather if the Development plans i.e. DP or the Regional plans i.e. RP itself is made with keeping all environment criteria’s in mind, then why we will need then the EC for every individual project, making it a delayed development which in itself is mother of illegal constructions. Any law which is impossible to follow never achieves the purpose for which it has been made! Same is happening with every environmental law as more & more people feel they are just obstacles in the development. It may be wrong but the delay in getting EC makes this a factual thing in the minds of developers. When we know how much area is residential & how much for services such as roads, schools, playgrounds & many others then we have FSI & tenement density norms, so when we design DP or RP we know what impact it will make on the city as well surrounding then why we are not taking care of nature as well natural resources like rivers & water bodies right at root level instead making a mockery of it by asking EC for individual project. And then why criteria of two lac sq ft built up area, as even a small bungalow with thousand sq ft area also has some impact on nature, so make it mandatory for every single new structure including even roads, as millions will be using that road! For e.g. take the latest fad of concreting the roads, even the inner lanes of suburbs; no place for vegetation has been left in doing this work. Another example is of nallah/streams channelizing; the entire vegetation in the naturals nallahs has been knocked out & concreting has been done, thus reducing water absorbing capacity of the floor of the nallah as well demolishing the entire bio-system in & around the banks! Why this doesn’t attract environment clearance is what an environmentalist like me will ask! Hundreds of such examples are around us where the governing bodies themselves take no cognizance of the nature around & then entire city real estate is blamed for ruining the city!
Another issue is need of creating biodiversity zones all around & within the city & protects the existing ones. Not long back the city hills were green & were habitat of many birds as well mammals & now event to conserve the vegetation along these hills is difficult for the civic body, even when there are many NGO’s which are ready to help. Our rivers which could have been best water bodies for biodiversity conservation are nothing but polluted scum & we do nothing about it.
Rather it at city level only we need to identify impact of our overall today’s needs & our planning approach for fulfilling these needs. I know Pune is just one city & your jurisdiction is entire country yet if we can take one city as role model & make the development in tune with nature then we can put forward the example of Pune in front of nation & as you know the city from root level, it will be easier for you to monitor the same. Think of creating a post of Environment Officer at city level who will control all such developments & without any time delay as again then protection of nature is considered as hurdle in the development! Think of Creating a Environment Cadre like IAS, all along the country. These persons should be competent enough to understand the impact of development as well nature from within & must be able to decide what is right & what is wrong for the city as whole & act fast on any proposals!  
First of all make the environment plan for the city incorporating it in DP as well RP & then go to micro level. The policies should be clear & with practical guide lines. Another important aspect is execution of these guide lines & any over ruling should be seriously punished so no one will dare to violate them! But at the same time sanctioning should be streamlined & as fast as possible so nobody will be required to feel them as obstacle for their investment returns. As after all sustainability is term which is equally applicable to any development from financial aspect also.
In all this process two very major aspects are missing & they are awareness amongst the common man & population control. As the needs will keep multiplying if we can’t keep the population under control & then any measure of nature conservation is insignificant. At the same time every single citizen of the city should understand his role in environment conservation then our work will be much easier!
If we can achieve this then the city will really justify to its name as educational as well cultural capitol of the country, or else the saying in Hindi, “Naam bade aur darshan khote” i.e. whatever we are proud of ourselves is just for namesake, will be the condition of this once charming city! And for this mission I assure my all support in whatever way I can offer as the city has fulfilled our every need at her own cost, now it’s time to fulfill her needs, which are very little! This might be final call for the city & who better than you can rise & stand for the city from the position you are at!!
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani ! (Click the links below)

http://visonoflife.blogspot.in/2014/06/a-journey-of-decade-named-sanjeevani.html

http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

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