Monday, December 5, 2016

Pune, from Peti to Khoka!





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

Jane Jacobs was an American-Canadian journalist, author, and activist best known for her influence on urban studies. Her influential book The Death and Life of Great American Cities argued that urban renewal did not respect the needs of most city-dwellers. Jane Jacobs undoubtedly one of the top authorities on urban planning of cities; I remembered here this quote when my veteran reporter friend Sunil Mali asked me to share my views for Sakal News Paper's Wardhapn Din edition about Pune region’s proposed population, which soon will be touching to 10 million i.e. one core in our Desi language! Somehow the term million doesn't excite we Indians, yes its figures in lacs & crores which makes us interested! Though there is one more terminology about lac & crore which I will revel at end of my sharing! With Pune & Pimpri Chinchwad, more commonly known as PMC & PCMC together we are already approximately fift plus lacs & come Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority i.e. PMRDA, we are soon expected combinely to reach magic mark of one crore population city or region whatever you may call it! 

As Jane says it’s the people which makes the city & obviously it’s the people around which the entire planning should be planned but is it happening so? At least the past of Pune region doesn’t indicates planning around people neither the present, as all we think about is traffic, roads, water, drainage & things like that. Agreed all these aspects are important but these things are materialistic, they don’t define life in totality! I personally feel a city should make people at peace & be energetic with their positive vibes & that may be a bit vague target to achieve but all we need is little bit understanding of people’s needs & their life style. One can be at peace in a city by cohesive effect of physical as well social infrastructure i.e. things which I mentioned above like roads, water supply & then right from gardens to play grounds to cultural platforms as they too count most if you want to make citizens at peace. And social outings are the best outlets for citizens’ positive energy, look at Paris, Mother of Arts & not just a tourist place! Most importantly the city should offer its infrastructure to every citizen in equality & not just by his or her paying capacity or status!

So let’s see where we stand on all these aspects & expectations, as I remember my first exposure to dear Pune way back in 86, as a young boy from rural of Vidarbha I got down by Maharashtra Express on a rainy morning at Pune station. For me then also everything was like from story of Gulliver’s voyages i.e. journey to an island where every scale is ten times bigger. Have never seen so big railway stations as my home town has just one platform & a single rail with three coaches connects us to main line. What was more amazing that I haven’t sat in an auto rickshaw as then still in most towns of Vidarbha its man driven rickshaws which were common. But then there were tangaus too i.e. horse cart as well double bus which is called as “Joad Bus”. My first journey on Pune streets from station to my college, MIT which was on Puad road, was by tangua.  And trust me it took so much time as we crossed Nal Stop & then paud phata, buildings started thinning & I thought I am being driven out of Pune! Later on also till nearly 90’s the city used to end by chandani chowk & it’s just once in a month we use to cross river & go to MG road & camp. Traffic was much more then also in comparison to Amraoti or Nagpur but still you can cross the entire city in thirty minutes max! While going to my home town in vacations which is on Nagar road side, once the S.T bus used to cross Agakhan Palace we get to feel Pune has left back! This might seem story of a different era but that was the scene just twenty five years back! Pimpri Chinchwad I have never gone then neither knew that it’s like twin city of Pune as even khadki-dapodi were the terms to call somebody as less sophisticated in compare to Punekars!

And when I roam now for my work from Kiwale which is west side end & to Wagholi i.e. eastern end of city, I don’t believe myself this is same city where I started my career! Now no more one can identify PMC & PCMC separately, the khadki-dapodis are center now & road to my college is all aligned by buildings. One requires more than two hours meeting two ends of the city & all roads are buzzing with traffic till late night right from early mornings. Every young boy graduated from rest of Maharashtra wants job in Pune, even from other States too, is this we call development or progress? PMC & PCMC authorities trying hard to match the living needs of this ever growing city & now there is PMRDA because with sudden rise on education facilities as well jobs in Pune region the next thing is housing in entire country! When I say housing it’s not just homes but as I mentioned earlier homes with basic needs & then affordable to all those who wants to set foot in this city! Since 2000, the city saw rise to new specie i.e. IT’ans, & all thinks money is in ample to IT industry jobs which isn’t true anymore. Ample may be in compare to other industries but the so called progress has also raised expense bar on every front for the resident in Pune region. Right from fuel costs which are huge, thanks to poor public transport to education, health care, entertainment, everything costs here. Gone are the morning show Rs 5 tickets’ of movies, now a family going to movie has to shell out minimum thousand rupees for a movie outing is a fact. And balancing this life style you have to match EMI’s of home loans & that takes out peace of mind for most of the youngsters!

The biggest challenge in front of PMRDA authorities is & will be to take care of this housing need of the citizens of Pune while the city keeps growing. I said deliberately PMRDA as PMC & most part of PCMC has been saturated now with hardly any space for new development & again thanks to ever changing policies of Urban Development, redevelopment is crippled under the rules like TDR use, Height & Parking restrictions as well double staircases etc. So with nearly 3000sq km area under the belt PMRDA is the only hope now for home aspiring migrants in Pune region. By me first step to deal with this challenge for PMRDA is to make a Development Plan i.e. DP of all this area & provide infrastructure to the same. Looking at the speed with which our DP’s are made I think we need to mark deadlines & follow them. Because most unfortunate thing about our Pune city till now is our rulers announce big things in big way, may it be Metro or DP or BRT or HCMTR or 24 Hours Water Supply scheme but fails to plan them in time & none of these big announcements ever comes in reality! Latest entrant on this front is ring road for the city, which will be backbone for PMRDA’s DP. And just following the infamous Pune tradition already this ring road is in trouble even before its alignment gets final as State Road dept also has planned one ring road & now a tussle has been started over which ring road to be finalized & who will make it. Rather before any development starts in Pune region the ring roads existence is very important as the first thing any new development needs is connectivity to work areas as well to core of city & surrounding cities. No doubts about needs of ring road but the doubts are about capacity of the system which is supposed to make it reality! The major problem with present city is haphazard planning with no defined work zones, recreational zones, public places or residential areas. This has made traffic monitoring as well public transport functioning extreme difficult as we don’t know at what time of the day how many people will travel & to which destinations?  So any time of the day every road is crammed with vehicles & you can’t blame traffic police alone for poor traffic management as you can’t have a police behind every vehicle especially when the driver is a Punekar need is so! So PMRDA should not focus its attention to the just ring road but plan extensive road network all across the region right from beginning. Remember, good roads are like veins & arteries of any city & if you make them proper half of your future problems are solved in planning only!

Regarding planning of Metro, let’s not restrict Metro with PMC or PCMC limit, as all over the world major development happens around the Metro terminals or at the end stations & Pune won’t be exception to the rule. If we connect the ends of the Metro in areas which are already developed then we are killing the very purpose of it! Rather best thing will be plan a Metro route along the ring road & extend present Metro tracks to the ring Metro, so as it will help entire Pune region & not just to reduce traffic within the city! The ring road & ring Metro combine will be great advantage to open up thousands of hectors of the land for housing which or else is lying undeveloped due to no connectivity!

Another challenge in front of Pune region is water supply to this one crore population as the present agreement of PMC  with Irrigation Dept barely covers demand of present Pune city & everyday day we keep on reading tussle between the two agencies. With area as vast as PMRDA, two main hurdles I foresee; one is source of water & another is network of water lines. Since ages no new dam has been planned to fulfill future demand for drinking water of Pune region & with nearly 3000 km area, especially the eastern part of PMRDA which don’t have any perennial water source, we need to create new storage as well distribution centers. No more Pune which once was considered as "water heaven', enjoys the said tag. Everyday some or other locality suffers from shortage in water supply & especially the suburbs face acute water problem in summers. PMC has started putting condition on sanction plans that it’s not responsible for water supply, a convenient approach but definitely not a thing of pride for 2nd Smart City of the country. At present PMRDA also has copied what PMC is doing but when we consider ourselves largest planning authority of State we can’t get away shrugging our responsibility especially a essential front like water supply!

One major aspect to be taken in consideration from Delhi pollution problem is maintaining bio-diversity across the Pune region as that’s the only cure for disease named pollution! Knowing Punekar’s if we are thinking one crore population then we might be looking at the same numbers of vehicles; as its jokingly said in Pune that here new born baby before it starts walking learns to drive a two wheeler! Along with controlling air pollution PMRDA has to be very keen about development within all the existing dam’s catchment areas which mostly comes under PMRDA planning. So to maintain the rainfall/ runoff quantum towards these dams as well keep the probable water pollution levels is one main challenge we have to think of. And then there are usual factors like waste water, garbage, electricity network along with recreation as no city prospers without good social exposure avenues & Pune is fortunate on this front. Right from Savai Gandharva type classical music events to NH 7 type modern day rock music events all around the calendar year, the city provides lots of cultural & social appetite to its citizen. PMRDA should create spaces for all such events & many more which will come along as the city grows!

Knowing about working of PMRDS the biggest hurdle is its constitution as for now it’s just a planning authority so the big question is who is responsible for the execution all above fronts which are a must for making living of citizens of Pune region comfortable. Any planning is of some worth only when it gets executed as it has been planned & in specific time limit; so who has the answer on this aspect is what I am interested in! As there only lays fate of Pune’s one crore population or else in local business language code name for money matters, one lac is “one peti” & one crore is “one khoka”! Adhering to this terminology of Peti & Khoka, if PMC/PCMC & PMRDA all of them together along with “Mai Baap” State Govt doesn’t act  fast & deliver then we will end up saying Peti was better than Khoka, means Pune was better what it was with population in digits of lacs than this one crore mark! 

-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=1415&v=blgni8HSfDU


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



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Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)
 

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Delhi Breathless; Pune Be Careful!





“There's so much pollution in the air now that if it weren't for our lungs there'd be no place to put it all”... Robert Orben.

Robert Orben is best known as an American professional comedy writer, though he also worked as a speechwriter for Gerald R. Ford and as a magician. But his above words one can’t take as comedy as even though it has been spoken in light vain but a bitter fact! In the earthquake of Demonetization one thing happened as the Delhi pollution issue took back seat on media because in this country currency is dearer than anything even lives of human beings! As just before announcement of demonetization everyone was talking about Delhi's scene & how even to walk on streets is becoming impossible over there & as usual the blame game was at peak! Delhi State Govt blaming Central Govt & neighboring States for the situation of air quality! Central Govt firing back that it’s local govt’s jurisdiction & finally Supreme Court itself taking cognizance of the situation & summoned both State as well Central Govt to do a fire fighting job as its common man's life which is at stake! So what has suddenly happened in Delhi, let’s have a look at it & then we can think of what’s our dear Pune’s future on these lines.

In every atmosphere there is a scale on which quality of air is measured & it’s obvious as it’s this air which we breathe & if the air contains hazardous particles which are categorized as fine & very fine, then needless to say outcome isn’t good for our health. And the very same particles apart from pulmonary diseases can be very much harmful to our eyes as well ears & skin too! So in Delhi’s air these particle have been found more, much more than permissible in respect to human tolerance & that caused havoc all around the city. The illness of all sorts increased to such a level that entire city came to stand still; schools needed to declare holidays & except essential services majority trade also got shut-off. Certainly not a sign of pride for capitol of a country which is aiming to become a world power! But then Delhi isn’t first such capitol to suffer on account of air pollution, cities like London & Beijing is to name a few which also has gone through same problem. The only difference is those cities learnt their lessons & recovered with immediate as well long term measures of curbing the pollution & emerged as clean cities whereas Delhi has ignored this aspect over a period & even now doesn’t seems to have any concrete plan to overcome pollution! Let’s see what has caused this sudden rise of particle in air of Delhi; as per Delhi State Govt the neighboring State i.e. Haryana, Punjab farmers burnt the dry leftover after harvesting & the northern winds carried all that smoke in Delhi is one of main reasons. I am no expert in Metrology or Weather science but this can’t be main reason, as this must be every years routine with the farmers, so how can suddenly this year it got so aggravated making entire Delhi polluted, is the question I will ask. The main reason is millions of vehicles exhausts & bad traffic management along with thousands of Industries throwing smoke in environment. At the same time reduced tree cover, polluted water bodies including river Jamuna & buildings all over, causing combine effect of pollution! One more aspect is Delhi’s geography i.e. plain terrain causes smog/smoke gets accumulated over the city for a longer time. In addition to all these, the infamous Delhi’s fog in winters surrounds the bad air like blanket to entire city worsening the situation! Delhi Govt is trying to fight this out will all efforts right from odd even number plates vehicles to no vehicles on some road but problem lies somewhere else!

Let’s leave Delhi to better hands & see what our Smart Pune scene is as with nearly 9 million vehicles on Delhi roads where-as Pune is already touching 4 million  vehicles, so we are not far behind. On this background will share an interesting incidence, just few days back was having meeting with my environment activist friend Ranjit Gadgil who is keen of improving city environment through his NGO, “Parisar” at my favorite place Vaishali over a cup of tea. Parisar has been pivotal especially on road safety, traffic management & improving public transport of the city & the members are continuously keeping the civic administration on its toes regarding above aspects. They have even filed cases with Green tribunal against projects like road through river bed as well a road from bal-bharti hill, saying these roads will damage bio-diversity of city! In both above case they have got stay on the said road projects making PMC to take step back even when the work has been started! So when I introduced Ranjit to my Vashali group members their first reaction was Parisar & people like Ranjit are speed breakers to city’s development & why are they not thinking about the common citizens who has to face traffic jams every day? Rather it’s because of cases filed by Parisar traffic scene is deteriorating in the city as PMC can’t develop new roads; also what’s harm in building roads through river bed as where is river left in the city, so why not use the river bed for roads easing out traffic? These are just few of the angry questions thrown at Ranjit.

I don’t blame my friends & Ranjit has faced many such questions but do mind, my friends represents common citizen of Pune & their attitude shows future of Pune is as dark rather more than that of Delhi! Even while the survey which has been conducted for Smart City contest most citizens were concerned about traffic & undoubtedly that’s most dear to heart subject of Pune. Reason is simple, this city lacks public transport & every one living here right from MD of any IT Company to his school going kid depends of private transport & result is every house with family of four has at-least one four wheeler & two to three two wheelers! And outcome is Pune with PCMC jointly has nearly 5 million private vehicles of which most are on roads at peak hours of traffic & that makes Pune number one contestant for pollution affected city after Delhi. All we think about how our traffic will be better but there lays the crux as till we think about just vehicles & plan the city around them we will be never able to make a pollution free city. The efforts should be targeted for reducing the private vehicle as that’s the key to stream line the traffic as whatever fly-overs or new roads we will make or widen the existing roads, that won’t curtail the new vehicles entry in city or use of existing vehicles, this we must understand! Those people who think widening roads or using river road will solve traffic problems are as equal ignorant like a smoker instead quitting smoking, asking to enlarge his respiratory passage! Going ahead I will put it in this way asking for making a road from river bed is like increasing respirator passage by curtailing lungs size & yet continue smoking, such fools we are! As rivers are our best hope for maintaining bio-diversity in the heart of the city & we are reducing them for our vehicles instead using them for plantation & water bodies! And it’s the biodiversity in form of green cover which will protect us from exhausts of vehicles!


Need is strengthen the public transport in such way that it will fulfill needs of every citizens commuting in & around the city. But then this aspect nobody cares not even citizens as here millions can come on road for caste & reservations but no one protest even individually leave apart in numbers for better public transport! All we discuss is about Metro which is just one part of public transport! Though now it’s been a decade we are just debating upon Metro, even about name of it can be ego issue here, such is our poor understanding regarding the grave threat of pollution we face ahead! If we don’t want a future like Delhi then it’s high time to work on both fronts to fight pollution i.e. short term & long term solutions. Widening existing roads, traffic management, more signals, building fly-overs are short term solutions. At the same time more roads & more vehicles means more signals & more traffic police, that too is equally required or else we all know what happens at unmanned signals! Pollutions’ another reason is fire crackers that too the modern one which goes high up in air & blows with bang, spreading hazardous particles in surrounding. Putting restriction on burning fire crackers won’t work, but ban sale itself of any fire crackers in the city as we already have enough fronts creating pollution. In first place why we need fire crackers & what we are going to celebrate by polluting the environment, ask this question to every citizen.

Long term solution is get enough numbers of busses on roads & make as many new routes we can. As less private vehicles means less exhausts from fuel burning. Try to bring more & more vehicles under use of green fuel like electric energy or CNG fuel. For that we will need to have battery charging stations & enough CNG pumps all across the city. Most important factor is increase green cover in the city as much we can. Conserve green belts, water bodies & bio-diversity parks as these are our lungs & last hope against polluted future. Think of moving every industry small or large outside of city from right now! In the city planning itself we have failed as the growth of the city is haphazard i.e. no clear division between business district & residential areas. All we know is paint the map yellow i.e. buildable & build any structure over there. I am not blaming our city planners nor the builders, it’s just that we all are so short sighted  that un-till someone doesn’t choke our throat we just doesn’t acknowledge that we need air to breathe! Such is our attitude to city planning so at-least in long term lets wake up & see that we plan a city where people don’t have to start their bike every now & then for their daily needs as that’s one sure way of curtailing pollution. And then when some officer tries to reduce drive ways & increase walk ways /cycle ways then all our party leaders come together along with so called aware citizens & make him scrap his ideas! Again I can’t blame these people also as they are more concerned about their vehicles & traffic, who cares for walkers or cyclists here! I agree in one night we can’t wipe out all the vehicles & ask people to start walking or cycling but some where the direction should be towards that target which unfortunately is not happening! What we need is to strike a balance between development & environment.

Lastly when I visited my family doctor Uday Gokhle for my routine checkup, at reception desk of his clinic he has put up a chart of comparison between Delhi pollution levels & Pune’s; you need not have to be Nostradamus to read our future as one look at that chart & the patients in his waiting room is enough as maximum of them are already suffering from air pollution borne diseases! Wish all are aware like Dr Gokhle as today its Delhi which has got choked, are we waiting for the air around us gets so polluted that it will chock us permanently! I know we Punekars consider our-self as wisest in the country, so let’s remind ourselves that wisdom is in acting wisely & not in uttering mere words of wisdom copied from Goggle!


-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=1415&v=blgni8HSfDU

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



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

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Surgical Strike on Currency & Real Estate Future!




“Money is the worst currency that ever grew among mankind. This sacks cities, this drives men from their homes, and this teaches and corrupts the worthiest minds to turn base deeds”… Sophocles

Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides & was a great economist also! I think 8th Nov 16 is a day which will be long remembered in minds of most Indians for the so called historic demonetization (I hope I spelled it right) or in simple words banning on Rs 500 & Ra 1000 currency notes by our Hon PM! Long back when I was a kid, a film named Sholay got released & it created a history too! Such was the popularity of Sholay that its said there are only two categories of Indians, one who has seen Sholay & other who hasn’t! Same way at present there are only two types of Indians, one who are less affected by demonetization of notes & other who has more affected & there will be very less in later category, like those who hasn’t seen Sholay! Some way or other everyone is affected by currency ban i.e. either because of having banned notes in excess or not having anything, both categories has suffered! Going a step ahead, I am sure here after there will be same terminology like “before AD after AD”, getting replaced by the term “before Demonetization & after Demonetization”! At the same time this must be the most talked incidence of post independence as last fifteen days right from social media to print or electronic media, demonetization & it’s after effects is the only topic! My whats-app hasn’t stop buzzing about the jokes which features both sides of the currency ban! Opposition Political parties also taking this issue like threat to entire Indian economy & firing from ruling as well opposition parties is on ever since!

Well is the decision of Hon PM right or wrong, that time will decide as nobody is arguing about the intentions but the way it’s being executed along with success of pulling black money out, is being doubted for sure! But then this is Indian Democracy at its best as here everyone has his or her say on everything & this is something where right from the street beggar to a billionaire, all are affected for their own reasons! Though the target of demonetization was, one to eradicate fake currency which was in mainly in the form of  1000/- & 500/- rupee notes & second is give some air to billions of dead stock of above notes in form of what is popularly known as black money! As now the only way to get rid of these notes is to make them to banks that too nationalized banks only! I repeat I am no financial wizard, not even self proclaimed money expert but as a businessman & engineer by myself felt like sharing my views regarding impact of this on real estate, which is my field! And since last days many wrong messages are being circulated regarding real estate which made me pen down my logic!

Ever since the announcement of banning currency the social media is full of all sorts of messages many claiming that right from gold to petrol to homes i.e. real estate prices will fall drastically! I don’t know about gold or petrol but let’s see what effect real estate will have due to banning of present currency notes! For that first of all lets understand the role of these notes in real estate as unless we analyze that part we won’t be able to understand the effect too! Let me make a bold statement here, of late there was no role left that of  the so called high value notes in finish product of real estate which is a flat may it be 3/2 or 1 bhk in common language! Many won’t agree but as a developer in Pune who has seen the spectrum for last 25 years I am making this statement with full responsibility. And not just finish product i.e. homes but the cash transactions are out of real estate industry right from material purchasing to labor payments, nobody wants to touch the cash is fact. At the same time this is buyers market & buyers are mostly salaried class who don’t have access to cash, here cash means black money is what I meant! Rather more & more people are buying their homes with help of home loans so they can’t afford to pay the cash & devalue their home as it means less loan amount! May be a decade back scene was different as that time loan amount was less than sixty percent of flat value so  people used to pay they part in terms of cash & even developers were also happy in accepting cash but no more it works today! This means black money is out from real estate already when its making or selling the finished product, so where is cash in real estate?

Answer is simple, it’s in land! One look at ready reckoner values of lands around & actual market rate of the same will reveal the facts. And you can’t blame builders for cash in land deals as it’s the landlords who control land prices & mode of payment! Let’s remember a builder is responsible for flat prices & its mode of payment but he has no role in land purchase & in our country everyone has right to decide how he or she has to sale their own land, no govt can force them to sale at some fixed rate! The landlord’s reasons may be many, right from mode of acquiring the said land to avoid the heavy property gain tax to family distribution of payment type issues; many aspects are involved for existence of cash in land deals. Now the only way left for the builder is either fulfill this demand of landlord & pay him cash or leave the land deal. Because even you agree to pay the cash part how to generate is one issue & then the profit figures sour up due to this hidden land cost as income is in full check! Outcome is many sane builders are opting out of such land deals where cash is demanded by the landlords than entering in rat race of acquiring land at any cost. So where this cash comes in land is what one will ask; answer even a school going kid in this country knows, this is black money outlet & the cash holders too are known, surely not the professional developers!

Another aspect where cash or black money is involved in not only real estate but any business in our country is corruption, as you can’t ask money in check for sanctioning a file or giving some noc! And real estate has got hundreds of such opportunities for the system, so here is where cash enters in real estate but this again I will dare to say is just small part in comparison to entire turnover of real estate! And again most of this kind of money generated comes back in land only, so in a way real estate has always helped to recycle the cash, funny it may sound but a fact!
Now after knowing the role of cash or say black money in real estate logically tell me how banning of few notes is going to reduce home prices? As you haven’t reduced gain tax; neither the sanctioning procedure has been made transparent nor the number of noc’s have been reduced, so from where the cost of all these will be curtailed which in turn will reduce land prices which is raw material for the real estate? One sure thing everyone is agreeing is banning of notes is not going to reduce the corruption then how we are going to assure no entry of cash in real estate, is what I will like to ask. Rather I suspect more cash whatever will be generated in all over the country will flow in to real estate in land buying as with currency notes has no surety & expected restrictions on gold buying, land remains the only open & safe field for all the black money & this will rather increase rates of land whatsoever available!

After reading this one might think what else can be expected by a developer, always speculative about their product; but if we really want to have homes to be available at reduced rates, just banning some currency can’t be the way, let’s accept it! All those who are still thinking I am speaking like a builder & still feel that property prices will come down by currency banning, answer my simple question; why no one is saying that rates of steel or cement or tiles will be reduced by this move of the govt? Or even why nobody is claiming lap-tops or cell phones will become cheaper by banning these notes? Simple because people feel that so called black money or cash isn’t involved in making of above products & that’s why nobody makes claims about effect of prices of these items! But at the same time nobody can’t assure about stoppage on generation of black money in future & entry of this cash in land deals, so the only way to make homes cheaper is make more raw material available at cheaper rate to the real estate! And you need not to be a great finance master for that as in any industry its making raw material available at cheaper rate along with infrastructure & finance to that industry is the way to make its end product cheaper; and real estate too isn’t exception to this logic!  Means we need to make more & more land available for housing & that too land with proper infrastructure like roads, water, drainage etc which will make people’s life easy by living in the homes build on those lands! At present every essential ingredients required for making a home is available in ample thought there too is high need for controlling rates of basic material like cement & steel & most importantly the land. At the same time streamlining the procedures involved in clearing the land proposals & having a uniform & consistent policy for real estate is must. Because the interest burden created due to time lag in making a home is also a major aspect which the end user only has to carry making homes costly! 

We can use the huge fund flow which is now available to the banks to finance the housing projects at lower interest rate, at the same time make entire sanction process involved in real estate online i.e. without any human interference, that’s the key to reduction of home prices! Or else like the famous mythological story of demon Bhasmasur, this move may make homes go further beyond the reach of real needy ones as let’s not forget that we need a piece of land to build any home & there won’t be left any such piece of land while we just demonetize some currency & keeping ways of black money generation open!

--


Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=1415&v=blgni8HSfDU

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

http://visonoflife.blogspot.in/2015/06/agreement-ho-gaya-rabba-rabba-permanent.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

www.punecorporation.org

Think Green, Think Life

www.sanjeevanideve.com

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Goa, Heritage Yet Happening!


















“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.”… Alan Keightle

 

It’s on streets of Goa I recalled this quote by Alan who is author of a book like, In to Every Life a Little Zen Must Fall” as what this city makes to the tourists visiting here no other quote could describe it better way! I love to wander by feet in not only Goa but any city I am visiting as it makes you actually feel the city by being part of it! I never liked the concept of taking ride in some open too bus & move on the roads which most tourists do as that makes them able to see more of the city. But by me what I feel from the city is more important than the just quantum of what I see & no better way than to be on roads & inhale the fragrance of the city in your lungs, yes then you see what the city is in reality!


‘’Come look at my Shop, here everyone can be what he wants”, says a billboard at a shop in Goa, displaying Goan attitude towards life in perfect way! Like Pune, Goans shop keepers too are famous for their boards but the major difference is, here at Goa shops the boards reflects Goan cheerful attitude towards the life & witty too, where as Pune shopkeeper’s boards are famous for their curtness & typical serious attitude towards business! I had been to Goa number of times & every time the city makes me love it more, this trip also wasn’t exception. All my earlier trips I have stayed in South Goa & this time deliberately I booked myself in North Goa which is happening as per my veteran Goa lover friends & even my sons & nephews’ also recommended it! Here, one will ask what the term happening means? Well it differs from person to person but when its describing Goa, mostly it’s the vibrant beaches where people are drinking, dancing & that too in colorful apparels or skimpiest of clothes & these are people from all age groups as well from not just India but all over the world. The streets here are narrow, aligned with shops selling everything right from florescent bikinis to leather goods to fashion accessories. Here every third shop out of four is a liquor shop & every fifth joint is some Goan specialty cuisine serving restaurant, needless to say with a bar! And all these shops are full with bargaining tourists & so are the bar counters. Here the beaches come alive as the orange sun sets in the sea, the famous shacks i.e. food & drink joints aligned right on the beach starts playing popular Bollywood/Hollywood songs, beer starts flowing on every table & the feet starts dancing;  this is called as happening! In the contrast the South Goa has calm & quite beaches with white sand but less habituated & for miles of stretches on roads you won’t find much shopping or restaurants, that’s what meant less happening!

I always wonder what it makes people go wild in Goa forgetting their age, gender or position, it’s here people get dressed in funkiest way which they wouldn’t even imagine back in their home town. Even women from the so called respected or let’s say orthodox communities dare to go bare here; I think that’s what makes Goa very special! We all need some outlet for our hidden desires which in our daily routine we keep suppressed but it’s very much alive & kicking inside. And it’s all those hidden desire which may include wearing red colored shorts & move around bare chest without worrying about bulging belly or caring for what people will say & Goa allows each of us to do what we desire to do! Here  I have seen people wearing weirdest looking outfits & getting themselves clicked proudly, rather happily will be more appropriate word for the expression those faces carry. There is something in the air of Goa which makes to the tourists to behave in such way. In no other city in our country I have experienced people especially tourists behaving so natural to their own self, carefree is the only term I can think of to describe this behavior! This must be main reason for Goa becoming dearest destination for the foreigners especially westerners as when they have best of the beaches in Florida, California, Greece or France, yet Goa remains on top as a freak out holiday destination where you can let your hair down & just party! Here the westerners must be feeling much at home as nobody cares what you are wearing & how you are dancing unless & until you don’t bump physically on others & even that can be forgiven here with a smile! In a way its West of East, you can call it! And to add the fizz, Goa offers minimum rate for the booze in country, as already when converted to USD or Euro India is very affordable for the foreigners & on top of it in Goa liquor is nearly two third cheaper than any of the States! On one side many States are taking pride in banning sale of alcohol & look at Goa, it’s like having flooded by every sort of Beer, Wine, Whisky or Rum & yet it has retained its cultural values. Imagine any city in any of the State starts giving permission to liquor shops so liberally; there will be processions against the Govt saying its killing our culture & younger generations, destroying families with booze! But at the same time Goa is free from the biggest curse this country has i.e. chewing pan or tobacco selling thelas i.e. stalls! This has helped a lot in keeping city free of spitting or else the whole city would have got colored in tobacco spitting by the millions of tourists! Surprisingly in Goa you never feel insecure even with so much alcohol flowing around, which is supposed to be main cause of crime, making people especially men to behave like animal!

May be alcohol is part of the culture of Goans so they know to drink responsibly from their childhood & then to fight seems to be last thing on their agenda. This makes Goa one of the least crime cities in country. And if you are a keen observer then you will surely notice while roaming on the roads of the city that height of compound walls of the homes is hardly three feet! Those walls are not built for security but they are just to define the boundary of the property. In a way these walls tells us welcoming nature of Goans as if they are saying “here we don’t believe in keeping visitors away but welcome them whole heartedly & with colors!” As the best thing I like about Goa is the way bright colors like Red, Yellow & Violet are abundantly used here for decorating exteriors of the homes! These colors no modern day architect will dare to use in any of our so called Metros like Mumbai or Bangalore but then that’s why Goa is special! One more fact is these colors looks more beautiful on the backdrop of greenery & white sand which Goa has in ample. At the same time one more important aspect making Goa get cozy feel is most of the Goan homes are ground storied or two storied & not sky-scrappers which cut us off from the earth!

One more thing is Garbage management of the city, as knowing habits of we the Indians, by now the city should have got flooded with every sort of thrash right from beer cans to pizza boxes. But with very effective garbage collecting & disposal system in place, you find Goan streets pretty clean all the time. And yes there are no hoardings or cutouts or banners of any political figure or party or the so called social workers in Goa. This allows visitors to enjoy charm of the nature around than looking at ugliest faces in the hoardings which we are so used to in our Smart City! If Goa can achieve it why we the so called Smart City couldn’t make it on hording front, is what the question did cheeped in my mind!

One main lacuna Goa has is poor public transport, as any city will buckle with so much number of visitors along with their vehicles & the narrow streets; traffic is major concern in last few years in Goa. But in comparison to other popular tourist destination across the world Goa don’t have any public transport system in place, high time the govt should look in it. The only possible threat Goa possess is rampant buildings encroaching on greens. With the popularity it has gained, everyone wants to have a piece of land here & we all know what happens with such greed! The steps should be taken right from today to curb this greed & plan the city accordingly as the greens, the white sand & blue water of sea are the backbone of Goan heritage & they need to be conserved at any cost.

Looking at what Goa has achieved, few things for our dear Maharashtra State needs to learn & adopt, provided we want to! Goa is world’s tourist destination & major flow is from Mumbai or Pune side & condition of both highways is horrible especially Pune Goa; for ages work is going on & the moment we enter in Karnatak State road conditions improves drastically! Road widening work between Pune to Satara is seems to cross  first “Five Years Plan” & heading for next such plan but no one is bothered except the commuters & govt is busy in just collecting toll! Our State Tourism Dept i.e. MTDC must have their presence at prominent locations in Goa where the tourists visiting Goa can get information of better beaches in our State. Also MTDC must open outlets in the form of eating joints & stay arrangements on regular intervals on both the highways leading to Goa, which will be great publicity as well, facility to the tourists! I must also mention the police force in Goa, whose presence can be seen on roads but only as service provider to the tourists & not causing any nuisance to them. MTDC can think of conducting training program for the local police at our tourists spots to teach them how to handle tourists load as well how to behave with them!

Lastly on one of my walks I stumbled up on gallery of Mario Miranda, famous cartoonist from Goa. It’s a place made in honor of Mario, displaying most of his paintings, books & many items featuring his work. I myself am die-hard fan of Mario as he has seen & shown us true colors of Goa which gets reflected in his hundreds of paintings. Those who claims they have seen whole of Goa should visit Mario’s gallery to understand how little they have seen Goa as Goa is not a place to see but it’s a place to feel & that’s what Mario’s works teaches us! This city makes every visitor feel young again making him or her forgetting their all worries back at home & it’s our duty towards Goa to keep its charm & happening mode always on. As then only true Goa will be always in our heart even when we head back to our gray ocean, with a promise to come back again very soon! 

-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

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