Thursday, November 27, 2014

LBT Vs City Development!






Deficit:  What you have left after paying your taxes…. Arnold Glasow.

An American businessman and humorist; Arnold was cited frequently in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the Chicago Tribune and many other major organs. The witty businessman has summated the entire taxation rather financial functioning of any organization is just one sentence & that’s why he is one of the all time greats in finance world!  Well, I am not a finance guy rather taxation is one thing I am still trying to understand even after so many years in the business & I am sure there are thousands or millions of alike me around! So when my writing idol Mukund Sangoraam, who is editor of Loksatta & whose editors columns has been inspiration for my writing, called me up about asking me someone who can write an article about the infamous LBT & models of revenue generation for other city’s councils around the world i.e. like we have municipal corporations, I referred name of few of my friends in the field who can write about the subject. We did discuss few aspects of the subject & he hung up. Yet the topic remained in my mind as its background is somewhere related to the city & in indirect way to the real estate of the city! Agreed, I won’t be able to analyze the LBT or any tax module as that’s job of a financial men & we have many around yet as a common citizen of the city, I am always curious about the functioning of the system which we call PMC i.e. Pune Municipal Corporation & which is supposedly responsible for the entire infrastructure; rather infrastructure is just one aspect, its entire well being of the city. It engulfs right from education to traffic to every essential service an urban citizen needs to the planning of growth of the city. In nutshell job of PMC for the city is like managing a home where the head person of the family has to think of earnings of the family & balancing the same with the needs of every family member for its living in good state.

On this background a common citizen is always confused just the way I am over the news like Municipal Corporation Staff will go to strike if LBT is waved of as was promised by the present state govt & on other side the trading community, popularly quoted as “wypari warg” i.e.  Business men who majorly are shop keepers from all sort of commodities, will be going on strike from 31st Dec; if the LBT is not waved off! Interesting, isn’t it? So what’s LBT in first place & why it has become so vital for our beloved Pune city suddenly? On a very general definition LBT is local body tax, means on any sale of a commodity in the city limits, some percentage of the sale amount has to be paid to the local body which in our case is PMC. This money is supposedly to be collected for the day to day operating of PMC as well it’s the major revenue for the services i.e. infrastructure which PMC is supposed to provide its citizens. Here many will ask how the revenue was being generated before then, when LBT wasn’t there. Then there was famous “Octroy” i.e. “Jakat”, which was imposed on entry of any domestic goods to be utilized within the PMC limits. It was charged again on basis of some percentage of the purchase receipt value of the goods. But then it’s outdated system of revenue & has been removed from most of the cities in the country & to my knowledge it was another condition put of PMC to remove Octroy for getting funds from central govt under various schemes like JNNURM, a central govt funding scheme for the urban cities! And then the system of octroy was always in grey shade i.e. the way it’s been implemented & the way few people were operating as octroy agents & can get anything in the city without paying nothing or minimum octroy on goods. Whatever was said about the octroy yet it contributed to nearly one third of the revenue of the PMC budget & as it’s removed the PMC required to have another option to fill up the hole in their pocket by removing octroy & here comes LBT in picture!

As octroy was contributing nearly one third of the entire revenue of PMC, it came up with LBT from the traders in the city & this is what being opposed now. Now let’s see first why PMC needs the money in first place? To run a city of size Pune is huge task, it’s like running a large industry as city needs services right from road to drainage to water supply, public health, education, recreation & many such. And all these services needs money on two fronts, first is for keeping them in operation i.e. salaries of the doctors & all the staff as well teachers in municipal school & along with salaries of the staffs in administration in various departments. At the same time to keep the services in operation we need electric supply & lots of maintenance material & all this needs money. Public transport is also funded through the revenue only. Second is city is ever growing so new infrastructure has to be added always & that needs money for acquisition of the land for the same as well construction cost of the services like roads, drainage treatment plants, water treatment plants, school as well hospital buildings, roads & the list is on. Now we are talking about Metro & it will also need thousands of crores of rupees, so from where all these money is going to come? And ultimately all these services are what make life of a citizen good, which is in the end buyer of real estate industry.

Let’s see what other sources of revenues PMC has, as its not only Octroy or LBT which will be sufficient for the needs of the city. We have revenues coming from the various premiums for the new constructions coming up in the city & we have property tax which is generated from the residents of the city. And here is where main concern is. As firstly if we fail to provide good infrastructure then people will keep away from the city, which is what happening now as PCMC i.e. pimpri chinchwad corporation is in our neighborhood & many people are opting to reside there for better infrastructure & then due to very high land costs many people are opting to reside in collector area i.e. area which is out of PMC limits. And lesser buildings mean lesser revenue from building premiums. Second is property tax & here by PMC survey itself nearly 40% people stays is slums who hardly pay any property tax & then nearly 20% people stays in illegal buildings so they too don’t have any property tax as the buildings themselves are illegal! But the slums as well illegal buildings residents are using all the civic services right from roads to water to drainage & not paying anything for the same! This means 40% of citizens are paying for the services which are being used by 100% citizens of the city, which is unjust!

So first of all we need to ensure every person who is using the services of the city is paying for it, this will increase revenue in large way & for that if they are not paying property tax by the present model then come out with some other means by which the revenue for enjoying the civic services will be ensured. Like tie up with their salary or daily earnings the property tax & get it cut directly on monthly basis if they are not paying by property tax bills. I know this is just a wild thought but worth thinking of as any way we are not getting a single rupee from this sector against property tax is a fact! Then look out what other such cities not only in other States but other countries are doing for their revenues. Like in USA if the plot has been kept vacant & not being used for the purpose it has been reserved then the plot owner has to pay nearly ten times property tax. This ensures the plot is being used for the development & comes in the use for the purpose; thus either residential or for any service but it comes under use.  Another important aspect in western countries is, services like water supply as well public transport has been privatized so they are being run like a private corporate & revenue as well quality of service is assured. For e.g. providing water via meters is a prolonged issue which our rulers i.e. elected members are not acting upon just to make their voters happy & we are losing revenue in huge way on the same. In most of the western countries water supply is by some private company which charges rationally for every drop being used by the resident of the city. Same is the story with public transport as we keep on reading hundreds of crores of rupees spent on the PMPML i.e. our public transport system, yet it’s in loss & nobody is happy with its service to the commuters! In all other cities in western countries & even in Singapore, public transport is run by private companies, ensuring revenues as well its good service.

Recently the news was PMC has appealed to State as well Central govt for funding them for acquiring lands for various purposes as the new acquisition law makes it mandatory to pay double the land rate to the owner. Here why can’t we make TDR i.e. FSI given in lieu of the land thrice making more people go for the TDR option & again this TDR will be put to use in city construction only? Every time when the FSI or TDR terms are mentioned its hohallah that it’s in favor of builders, well then even one FSI or TDR is also in favor of builders only so abolish it & stop all the construction in the city! Do remember it’s not the FSI or TDR but it’s the infrastructure of the city which makes a city good or bad & if that itself is not being achieved by our policies then it’s high time to look inwardly & then make new policies!

Right now we are in vicious circle as no infrastructure so no additional FSI, no additional FSI so no more numbers of home & no more numbers of home so the cost of available homes is going high & so people are opting to stay in illegal buildings or slums which again ends up in loss of revenue & then things like LBT came which again are opposed by the traders or the respective community. Let’s remember no tax can be justifiable if it’s not being put equally on all the segments. At the same time there was a sess (a form of lavy or tax) put in the form of stamp duty in the properties which are in PMC limit, again what happened to the amount collected from this sess & what’s its utilization in civic works is a  mystery! This is era of information & transparency is the word! People don’t mind paying taxes provided they know what happened to the money they paid in the form of tax & on this front also PMC is lacking very much. Years after years projects like BRT i.e. bus rapid transport, keep on going & never come in full form to serve the citizens. The way a project like cycle tracks is being executed is the biggest joke of the city & because of this when we try to put on new means of revenue, oppose is going to be there!

See that more & more people comes to reside in this city & for that faster, transparent system of sanctioning new homes has to be in place, making the homes affordable to all classes of the society! Need of the time is make a single tax system which will be uniform for all segments of the city & then see that it works. Also give every rupees accounts earned as well spent & let the results speak & not the balance sheet as the common man is more interested in outcome of what he has paid in taxes! Real estate is not an enemy of this city but is very much part of the city; actually it’s the system which has made it look like biggest enemy of the city! And all this is needed to be done in fastest possible time span; as the time has already gone & making more delay in deciding means of revenues means a sure end of the city. This truth is what our rulers have to understand than just thinking of their respective vote banks. Or else the day isn’t away when voters will be there but nothing left to vote for!


Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

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


http://visonoflife.blogspot.in/2014/10/know-your-neighbor.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

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Whose Forest Is It?









Sometimes having ability to understand the responsibility you carry can be your worst curse…Chanakya.

It’s November & yet the winter hasn’t really started in central India, it’s cloudy & windy, even a bit dull & gloomy a times! But sals of kanha & teaks of tadoba will never make you feel that when you are with them! Suddenly sun breaks through the clouds & when you are waiting on a red dusty road you spot a tigress walking straight towards your gipsy & all you can hear is clicking of the camera shutter & your own heart beats, for a while time has stopped & within few minutes she crosses your gipsy & walk past you & lost in the vastness of jungle around, leaving behind life time memories! Yes, the season of jungle has started & I happy to be part of it! Friends, forest is full of such moments & all you have to do is go there & live them at fullest! And yes one more thing, to return with a promise that I owe this forest something, though it won’t ever ask for yet it’s my duty to take my share in keeping it in its best form for all others too!

But then visiting forests is always a new experience for me as it gives me a chance to break free from my city life routine. Many will wonder to read the quote which I am using for the topic of forest as instead starting with a quote related to the nature how I choose something so philosophical, that too from the person which is in my top three idols i.e. The Chanakya! But then nature is not just all about fun & enjoyment, especially when you are director of a national park that too of a park which enjoys position of one of top tiger sighting destinations in the world! I am referring to Kanha Tiger Project & Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve & their respective directors, with whom I was lucky to spend some real good time! What I like about visiting forests is not just sighting of  tigers, I have enough of them though each time it’s a new thrill yet visiting forests gives me an opportunity to meet the people who resides in & around the forests & who are equal part of the forest just the way the trees & animals of that forests are! And by meeting them every time you get a new dimension to look at the forest & then I like the forests more!

That way when we call a piece of land as forest the along with various flora & fauna we need to consider all the villagers residing inside & outside of forest, the tribes which are just as much part of the forest, the numbers of agencies like guides to gipsy drivers to dhabawalas to staff of hotels & resorts around the park, the tourists visiting the forests, forest labors & the forest staff; wow the list is long & big! But all these people are links of the chain named forest. And like tiger is at apex of any animal chain; one person is at apex of this human links of the chain & he is the Director of the park! Most of the tourists rarely knew about the organizational functioning of the forest department though they may have visited several times the forest. That’s sad part of it as all we are interested in the tiger when we go to forest & are least bothered about knowing anything other than its sighting! Though for all the people I mentioned above except tourists (few of the regulars do know), the director is like king & the forest i.e. park is his kingdom. One has to see the scene when the director’s vehicle arrives at the gate of the park & the aura he carries; all the guides to guards, everyone related to forest is at attention & you can see from their face expression as well the body language, its same like the chitals & languor reacting in the presence of a tiger. And do forgive me it’s not fear I am referring but the respect the post carries in the eyes of all these people who works for the forest in their respective roles. Many will be happy to have that post as all they can see is  “ ji hujur” types order following & salutes from everyone coming in his way & not to forget a free license to move in the wild life heavens like kanha & tadoba for which people are ready to spend millions of rupees! And then the directors stay arrangements inside the forest, the palatial rest house with the best view forest can offer & a fleet of orderlies i.e. servants commonly we can call them, at his service to catch any demand which is an order! Well, do mind no respect comes at free! Behind all this curtain of luxury & position lies the chair full of thrones. Let’s have a look what a tiger park director is supposed to do rather what he is responsible for? 

Forest as we shared above is made of numbers of elements & it includes every single animal right from tiger to a tiny bird like bee-eater. Then there are thousands of types of tress, creepers & grasses too along with hundreds of water bodies which are habitats of many species like water birds & fish. Then there are all the human elements which I have listed above & job of the director is to see every single segment of this chain is happy & at peace at his position as then only the chain is going to be intact! Just imagine the task as it’s nice to visit a forest by sitting in gipsy & click beauty around but then you need not have to bother about the responsibility of their well being as there is a man posted as director of the park whose shoulders are supposed to carry that responsibility.

One will always criticize as what’s the big deal, doesn’t he has so many men as well machinery at his assistance for the job? Well he has, but a forest is a natural habitat created by the gods & nothing works there as per your wish but by natures wish! And there anything can go wrong for e.g. a tiger can wander from the forest as he don’t know park boundaries & move in the village nearby & can kill any villager or get killed by the villagers. Or a heard of chitals i.e. dears can eat up the entire crop of a farmer whose only fault is his farm is adjoining to the forest & the obviously he is not going to be friend of the forests as well the animals. Then there can be a collared tigress whose collar has become tight & needs to be replaced & for that you need to locate that tigress in the vastness of the forest before she gets hurt by her collar. At the same the director has to care for survival of the cubs of a tigress & see that they remain safe while their mother goes hunting around. There are hundreds of vehicles moving inside the park & they can collide with any animal in the forest causing a serious mishap & as a director he is supposed to monitor all these vehicles at proper & safe speed. The director has to ensure there are not any forest fires which are nightmare for any wild life lover & can cause huge damage to the flora & fauna. Again the critics will say why he has to bother it, the forests are here since ages & have they not survived on their own till now, along with the animals? Again answer is yes but in past the human interference rather encroachment is proper word wasn’t so much on the forests! The biggest task in front of the park director is the man animal conflict & reason is the question, who owns the forest? Means, who has first right of the land on which forests are standing peacefully for ages, is it human or animals?  

The land is limited & population of human is ever increasing & so are our needs; obviously we need more land for our farms, factories, recreational activities & what not! So where we go for fulfilling our needs & greed; we go to the lands on which forest were standing for years without any threat of the worst animal named a human! ; as if the young tiger cubs were there, then the essential survival things like prey base as well water was easily available to the tigress so she need not have to roam far away from her cubs leaving them vulnerable from dangers like other male tiger or jackal etc. If there were forest fires then there was enough land for new forests to grow. As there was no farming immediately near to the forest no threat of any tiger or dear herds drifting in human settlement was there. The humans then were not killing the tigers for his skin of nails so there was no threat of poaching. In short the biggest task of the director of any park today is to reduce this encroachment on the forest & its occupants by humans. Still in kanha as well tadoba & many other such forests there are some villages’ right within or adjoining the park where this man animal conflict is a hanging sword &the respective directors are trying their best to sort this out.
Problems in this process are immense as the villagers thinks they have their right on the land in forest & not easily ready to move to new locations offered by the Govt. The spread & the job of guarding the hundreds of square kilometers of forests are very tough & manpower isn’t often enough. On top of it the infrastructure is poor to the staffers & this leads to frustration of many forest guards & to boost their moral is again a big job for the director. As I said it’s easy to visit the forests for a week with every luxury at your service & then like the forest but think yourself in the position of a lone forest guard residing deep within the forest in a chowki, cutoff from outer world, even from his family & facing extreme dark nights, harsh heat of sun or downpour of rain. At the same time to face the danger of attack by animals around & of poachers too! There have been many incidences of forest guards been injured, a time even got killed by attack from animals like sloth bear or shot dead by poachers. And this is not the routine for just a week but it’s an endless situation, months after months; even year after year & now try liking the forests! I am sure most people even wont like forest by just imagining this & then the director is supposed to make these people work for the conservation of forest.

What is the solution for this then? Unfortunately there is no immediate solution but all we can think is first decide whose forest it is & then work out a strategy to give the right to the rightful entity. At present by me forest belongs to the trees, the tigers , the dears & thousands of species who resides there & all we can do is try to keep our interference as less as we can from their world. This doesn’t mean we don’t enter in to forest as gone are the days to let the forest survive on their own, if there is no guarding of the forests trust me in one year the entire forests will get wiped out along with the animals, such is the greed of human beings. So each of us should do the role of park director i.e. develop the attitude like him. Even when we are visiting the forests as a tourists see that we don’t become nuisance to the forest or its systems & enjoy the beauty of nature by following its rules. Don’t rush for just clicking the sight of the tiger but enjoy & feel his presence around by pug marks & alarm calls, even if you don’t see him actually. See every minute detail in the nature & learn to preserve it. Remember forest is to felt by all senses & not by just sight of animals. Right from the fragrance of crushed grass to calls of several birds around forest is a living object in itself, so feel that aliveness around when you are in forest. Think of the way we can assist the forest as well its keepers i.e. people like forest guards or the villagers around or the guides. Any help to them will boost their moral for keeping the forest in better shape & by doing this you are reducing some burden from the shoulders of the director who is like guardian of this heaven we call forest! 

As a city resident by myself, many a times I came across the question that we live in Pune & Mumbai so what we can do & why we should do anything about forests which are far away from us? Well no one of us have seen the God & certainly by all religions he lives in the heaven yet we warship him, because somewhere we feel it’s that power which keeps us in good shape. Same is with forest, somewhere a good forest exists & you can visit it once a while & get rejuvenated, I think that’s the sole reason we should do our best to conserve the forests not just near to us but even those which are away from us also!

So go ahead friends, you also can become the director of the park as for that you need not have to be in Indian Forest Services; as I always say, being a forester is an attitude you have towards the forest& not just the post, mind it! If you can do this then only I will say you have understood the forest & then you have created your right on the forests as forest belongs only to those who belongs to forest!


--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

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


http://visonoflife.blogspot.in/2014/10/know-your-neighbor.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

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ambegaon mishap; How many more lives to lost?








A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his powers….Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, artist, and writer. He has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades & needless to say the above quote tells us why he is so popular! It’s been nearly an year when last building has collapsed in taljai taking nearly eleven lives & that time only I have said this may be first but surely not last building to meet such fate & the ambegoan building proved me right within an years span; though I am not at all happy for being proved right for such a cause! Friends lots of things have already been written in every media as usual, a scene which we all have so much used to now that its feels like watching a soap opera or a serial on TV channels where channel may be different, characters may be different, name of serial may be different but the audience & the script is same! In our case even the characters are also same, only the faces which are playing the characters have changed!

Yes the name of building is different & fortunately this time only one life has been lost but then that one was only son of some old parents who were seeing dreams of his marriage & life ahead, which got shattered in one single act of sheer negligence of a system which we call real estate! At the same time nearly fifteen families which are typical middle class who buys a home once in their life time have lost everything & literally are on streets now for not even knowing whose fault it is? Here is where the quote by Mr. Dylan hits us, as what the real estate has today is heroes who wants the power but denies the responsibility with it! Many will counter argue or differ with what I say but no single person is taking the responsibility of this incidence where as every single person in for their different roles wants every benefit from the real estate booming around! For e.g. when we say a building has collapsed & made losses, then let’s see had it not been collapsed & made money; then who would have earned what?
Obviously the developer comes top in the list, who makes money by selling the flats & earns his profit. Then comes the land lord who has no credit to his belt yet just land is scarce he enjoys the appreciation. Then the consultants in form of structural consultants as well architect who has role in designing & planning & makes money in the process from the developer. Then comes the various contractors & the suppliers who has been associated with the building by selling their material as well providing labors & gets paid for the same. Then come along the various authorities which in this case are town planning, collector; as these govt agencies do get their share in form of various development charges & premiums which are collected from the developer. And then there are financial institutes which earn their money by financing the builder as well the flat purchasers of the building! These are main beneficiaries & the list is on like MSEB which gets paid for the infrastructure, the grampanchayt for its noc’s. The state govt itself get paid via revenues collected by stamp duty on all such dealings of homes as well VAT & service taxes; then comes the income tax also which gets their cuts from the profit the developer makes & charted accountants as well advocates who makes various legal documentations for the projects & in all this we are referring to official money, leave apart the infamous black money & its uses involved in real estate!

Well so many agencies makes their fortune via a single building which is actually coming from the pockets of a family who pays their life time to get a home & now when the thing collapsed & gone to dust taking a life & all the hard earned money of these fifteen families, not single person or agency is taking the responsibility of this loss! Rather everybody is keen as our usual daily soap serial to prove other agency guilty! So I said its entire real estate which is at guilt as if no one is taking the responsibility of this accident then let’s hang the entire system!

That is why as a real estate person by myself I thought of writing my views to the authorities & sharing the same with you…

Ambgeaon Mishap!

First off all I won’t call this as an accident as its sheer act of negligence of one or more agencies related with the building & do mind, it’s not first & certainly not last building which has met such fate! It’s high time to look in the matter of illegal as well unsafe buildings before we lose more life & wealth which is mainly of middle class! And mostly trust or faith of common man on the entire system which is supposed to work to give them their hard earned home in safe mode! I am sure thousands of families living around that building must be having sleepless nights by worrying about their own homes status now!
For this let’s analyze the present scene of permission as well controlling the given permission for new building. Categorize the illegal constructions as mainly such incidences occurs in the buildings which are build by non professional & money minded builders! No harm in making money but at whose risk we make it is certainly matter of concern! A professional person not only will take necessary permission but will see that he builds a safe & good building.

So we have two categories here
1. Builders which has taken sanctions but that’s it nothing has been done like plinth checking as well occupation certificate.
Here we can check records of last five years where permission of building as well NA has given but nothing on record regarding plinth checking or occupation certificate. This means builder hasn’t done the job as per sanction. Make a team of one talathi i.e. lowest rank of revenue system & a person on field who knows the ground realities best, along with final year students of govt engg collage, allot them the sectors & provide them list of such sites along with plans sanctioned & ask them to visit the site & note down the physical site progress, with digital cameras crate a record first. And then we can issue notice as well take action for violation. Simultaneously once we have this data form a panel of technical experts & asses the workmanship of these sites so we can decide the fate of the building.
2. Builders who haven’t got any sanction yet buildings are there.
This is very tricky case as we have to divide entire collectorate in small squares like we do in survey & start noting down actual work at site & its quantum. This can be done by appointing professional surveyor agencies. All they have to do is first create a square map on regional plan & move square by square gathering data. And then we can put in technical team for workmanship & notices & procedures can follow.
In both the cases at least we can make aware the residents as court matters may take years & demolition of buildings which are occupied can be a impossible task but by making residents aware we can save lives from such mishap. Stick notices in red about technically unsafe buildings on the buildings itself as well publish their names & address in news papers!
At the same time if we don’t want to get such things repeated then we need to streamline the procedures & pinpoint the responsibility of every individual associated with building the project. To start with first & most important step is cut down the finances of the illegal structures, i.e. make all those financial institute party to the crime which finance such illegal structure by giving home loans when there is no sanction & if sanction is there then no plinth checking or occupation has get obtained, yet full disbursement happens. If you file police cases against such institutes which usually are “pat pedhis” or cooperative banks then it will cut down directly the inflow. A standard pattern observed is get a sanction for 4 storied building as it don’t need a lift & two staircases by law & then add 2/3 floors on it illegally, as for first 4 stories you get loan from any institute as its sanctioned & above floors they look for people without loan by selling them at cheaper rate or get loans from “pat pedhis” or private or cooperative banks which don’t go in details of sanctioning is the fact.
About assuring the workmanship we can ask for the record of foundation strata checking as well structural designers’ certificate for the same before getting plinth checking. Also get physical foundation photographs at site & keep it as record.
First of all, ask the concerned structural designer to submit periodical site checking reports especially of RCC work with stability certificate for occupancy certificate. Or make a panel of structural designers & get it done from them like we get search title report from lawyers on panel! And any violation or wrong doing at site will have to result in straight breaking of that slab!

Second is structural designer can give the designs of structure but the work has to be carried up on them & he has no control on that front, so make registered engineer or at least a qualified engg/ firm is a must for supervision. For e.g. if a slab has designed for M20 grade concrete then what if the developer & his contractor casts it below that level say M10 & then it’s not capable of taking the designated load? Similarly if the structural designer has given a design for 4 floors & on the site if the developer builds additional floors, then he will be helpless! So see that whatever the consultants have given is being constructed at site by professional agency.
  
In nutshell it’s most important to pin point the responsibilities of every individual associated with the project, i.e. developer, structural designer, architect & supervisor. Usually the contractors are non technical & just follow the orders from anyone above without applying their mind so what orders are reaching to them & via which agency is more important. And all above responsibilities must well documented & made available to the public on a website.
At the same time it’s been seen a typical stand by govt agencies that they shrug the shoulders by saying they have less man power & excuses like that; I think this has to be stopped. As if you want to have all controls of sanctioning in your hand then how can you deny the responsibility of the monitoring the same? Or else don’t sanction any project & outsource the sanctioning authority to the agencies who can take responsibility of monitoring their execution as per the sanctions! Govt happily takes all the huge revenue generated via real estate  but why can it provides necessary infrastructure like man power & technology to its agencies like town planning & revenue who has the sanctioning authority!
Here we can apply a survey agency to configure data from latest Google earth images for recording at present site conditions sector by sector, this is very important to know the level of site progress, it’s a mammoth job & correlating Google earth data will ease out location sites for ground team. But with all modern days technology at our assistance I don’t think it’s impossible.
Will be sending a list of five very vital & visible signs of poor concrete structure, we can publish those in news paper & make a separate cell at your end for this & appeal the people to contact this cell with exact address & snaps if possible if any three signs of above faults are noticed in their buildings where it’s been occupied already. This will save our time to locate these buildings & I am sure many people will come forward & mainly such faults occurs during first year of the occupation only.
Media also needs to dig in properly & go the root of such incidences & let people see truth instead just targeting some segment! After all what the common man should do in such times is all we want to know. At the same time as a fault buyer don’t go on saving few rupees by neglecting the structural aspects & for that ask for these details to your developer & talk with the consultants. Don’t ignore the faults like cracks in beams & columns & floor sinking in parking level! Inform the authorities immediately about the same & most important understand what is an illegal structure & ask for all the legal documents & for that do take help of professional people, as this is your responsibility towards your home! Equally important is role of real estate developers associations like CREDAI or MBVA, as they need to make home buyers aware on these issues, as when a building collapses then it’s not the member or non member of any organization but entire real estate’s reputation gets damaged! Let’s remember accidents one can understand but negligence & crime is something for which we are responsible only! And punishments to the guilty & justice in time are two things which only can check negligence & crime, & exactly these two are missing right now! We are not dealing with people’s life & life time earnings only, but their faith in the entire system & it’s this faith we should value most, if we don’t want another taljai or ambegoan incidence! As then only we will be able to call ourselves a hero or else needless to say we all will be the worst ever villains in the eyes of common man!




Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

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


http://visonoflife.blogspot.in/2014/10/know-your-neighbor.html

http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157627904681345/

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