Friday, January 19, 2018

Dubai, Refueling Passion!






“A few mistakes made by a person working productively cost far less than a person paralyzed by laziness or fear.”… Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
This year marks 11 years since His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE, became the ruler of Dubai. His respect for business-like and service-led government has seen Dubai’s population grow from 1.4 million to 2.8 million during his 11 year rule; he has lead from the front and implemented strong public transport across the city and has seen Dubai Airport become the busiest in the world. And it’s my third trip in last three years to this dessert dream, made me respect Mr. Maktoum more with my every trip, that’s why I used his quote which speaks about his attitude towards not just Dubai which is his country & kingdom but life! And let me remind you, unlike most other middle east countries there is no oil money in Dubai, yet when its middle east first names comes to the mind of any outsider is Dubai & many of middle east rulers are secretly jealous of Dubai’s popularity amongst outer world! And Dubai has reached to this fame hard way as it takes more than just money to create a dream like Dubai amidst the dessert & then Dubai wasn’t cash rich ever like its sister i.e. Abudhbai leave apart its neighbors Qatar, Muscat & Saudi!
So what’s secret behind Dubai, even if you follow Mr. Maktoum’s quotes, you will know the philosophy which is backbone of Dubai’s glittering success, but is it all? No, its vision as well will to execute the vision & a professional dedicated approach which backs up that will to execute is the three legged success mantra of Dubai is what I conclude. And its same all over the world, ask any Singaporean or German citizen, they too have witnessed such transformation, then what special about Dubai? Well, the time span in which it has achieved this status as well the background & culture of the city, which is also equally important. Just few decades back it was settlement of some fishermen & pearl hunting divers, residing in hutments & now is Middle East’s trade center as well one of top tourist destinations of the world. Right from making the locals change their ways to live, to make the outer world confide in this settlement of fishermen & come here for investments is some achievement, which so called cultured & well settled countries like India & Pakistan also are unable to achieve. When I read about our sarkari babu’s (read govt officers) as well political leaders visiting so called forward countries like UK,  Spain & Sweden I always wonder (after visiting Dubai so frequently in recent) that why we restrict Dubai as just shopping destination, it’s actually our short sightedness! The city has done wonders on the front of town planning as well giving best life to its citizens.
During my this visit I spoke with many of my friends who are in different fields & are residing in Dubai over past decades & one common feedback was the city is best for its citizens. The Sheikh tries to do every good rather best thing for its residents, though its ways can be questioned (A thing you can’t afford to do in Dubai as a foreigner) but then ask any Indian, he will say we need a King type ruler though on social media everybody is happy in slamming our present ruler i.e. Mr. Modi, is different story! I agree we are a democratic country & there are limitations but then in one of his quotes Mr. Maktoum himself have said, you can win the people only by love & not by force! Especially when the world is changing fast & internet as well social media has become so powerful in such case to keep a population of some 2.8 millions happy is not an easy task! He has taken some unpleasant decisions, in very recent times from 1st Jan 18, Dubai govt applied 5% VAT on every purchase & not just that its implementation includes book keeping for smallest of trades men with heavy fines (some 25k dirham) for over ruling the law. And when it’s making people respect the law no one can beat Dubai, as that’s why it’s least crime city in world in its size league! Jokingly it’s said in Dubai, that, “Dubai is a fine city, it charges heavy fines for any mistake you make!” It’s said that the VAT has been implemented as Dubai is facing some serious cash crunch (again something no one will acknowledge in open) though only time will tell whether the VAT implementation saves Dubai or worsen the things. But this hasn’t any way affected Mr. Maktoum’s plans to make Dubai number one in world as one look at the developments going around & you know he is a man on mission!
Like many of my friends always are curious about why I always visit forests, many a times same forest repeatedly; my answer is forest is ever changing & you will never find it same, how many times you may visit it. Same thing I feel about Dubai now, each time the city looks different, changing its appearance (needless to say on better side) for the visitors as well its resident. Always trying to offer something better to everybody associated with it & this time also wasn’t exception. I spent my maximum time wandering around the city with my friends who took me to not just popular tourist places but everywhere, even some places haven’t been explored by locals also! To name a few I will share three things, Miracle Garden, Dubai Canal Development & one is private residences colony named Springs. This will make you understand what an ideal city should provide to its residents.
Miracle Garden as the name suggests is a miracle in dessert as I have seen gardens & huge ones, natural as w ell man made but the to build a garden spread over hundreds of hector of sand & to make it sustain extreme weather condition which differs from 10 degrees to fifty degrees is something special. This garden is built over nearly eight lac sq ft area with millions of flowers blossoming, making it one of the largest natural flowers garden. There are many sculptures including a life size Emirates Boeing airplane, decorated with plants all over it. No wonder since its opening four years back the place is a must visit spot for tourists visiting Dubai. Well we too have many gardens in our Pune city but what’s difference is the way they are being presented to the visitors & maintained & marketed too, and we fail on all three fronts is a bitter fact barring some exceptions like Pu La Deshpande garden! Its spots like Miracle Garden which gives face to the city& stood to the expectation of the tourists giving them satisfaction of experiencing something unique! This is what a ruler has to do for the city i.e. seeing the dreams & make them reality!
Then there is one more wonder which came in existence very recent, Dubai Water Canal which is an artificial canal unveiled on 2 October 2013 and inaugurated on 9 November 2016. It comprises one shopping centre, four hotels, 450 restaurants, luxury housing, walkways and cycle paths. It is a three-kilometer long project starting from Business Bay (commercial district) into the Persian Gulf through Safa Park and Jumeirah, which are suburbs of Dubai. The width ranges from 80 meters to 120 meters. It is six meters deep and be crossed by eight-meter high bridges. It creates new public places and facilities with a total area of 80,000 square meters with private marinas for boats and a trade centre at the entrance of the canal. Well, leave apart statistics but would somebody have ever imagined feel like moving in city of canals i.e. Amsterdam while moving in a city in dessert? Yes it has become a reality & I was fortunate to visit this promenade &it has made out of the state way, a Dubai trademark! While walking along the canal, I noticed the minute detailing which has been taken care, along with sit outs on the walk way there are light poles with provision of charging the cell phones of the walkers, even this has been thought of! At evening music is played & at every electric pole, there are speakers, needless to say they are of company like Bose! Looking at these speakers I remembered reading news of theft of LED light fittings on a street in Pune; here in Dubai nobody can dare to think so even about the Bose speakers, rather nobody thinks on these lines. That’s the culture we need to cultivate as its public property & it has to be maintained to serve the city & that’s everybody’s responsibility, hope someday we Punekar’s (read Indians) understands it! The Dubai Canal will not only be a great tourist attraction bas well boost to somewhat down real estate market but it’s a great facility to spend time in open for the citizens of Dubai. Looking at that beautiful canal walk way & its development work, I remembered the dreams shown to us about river beautification & images of citizens throwing garbage in Mula/ Mutha from the bridges over them, flashed in my mind! May be we don’t deserve even such dreams is what I think whenever I look at such developments like Dubai Canal!
The third place I visited was of bungalows & town houses & its private development & on this front we too have any good developers who can match the workmanship but what is special is the scale of development. Springs, the project is of nearly four thousand bungalows & villas & is spread in clusters of three hundred/four hundred bungalows at a stretch. And main aspect is every cluster has a lake of its own, yes a lake! And the biggest lake was of periphery nearly two kilometer, now you can imagine the scale of this development. What such development has made impact is there is bio diversity now here & you can see sparrows, parrots & mainas along with even hoppoos (a bird which eats insects from grass) in the premise of these bungalows. This is very important aspect of development as on one side our Pune city is witnessing loss of sighting of sparrow like common birds & water bodies & here amidst a dessert Mr. Maktoum is busy in building entire life cycle! As do mind you doesn’t build a city with just concrete & steel but a city is build with life in it & that’s exactly what our planners (read rulers) needs to be understood!
One more thing has to be mentioned is Dubai’s synchronized transportation system RTA i.e. Road & Transport Authority which controls Metro, Local Busses & Taxis, making it separate subject of study!  Dubai is lot more than just a shopping destination or trade center & above three places are just at zalak (trailer) of what Dubai has to offer to its residents, as if you build a city keeping in mind citizens then the city is bound to become a worth visiting for the tourists also, is a simple fact about urban planning which our planners has failed to acknowledge repeatedly. By the way something about Mr. Maktoum’s attitude towards the city as a lot has been known about his wealth yet this guy moves in & around city alone, just like a common man, very same like Harun Al Rashid of Baghdad in Arabian Nights. He meets people, speaks with them about their expectations from the city, (btw fires public workers if found absent from their work place). Agreed he is a King & it’s always his way or high way but then one must appreciate his sincere approach to do not just something better but only the best! His ways can be doubted but not intentions & that’s why Dubai citizens respects & loves their King. Though few things like extending resident visa from two years to ten years can be thought of for making people promote to invest in Dubai as well ease of doing business along yet as he says in his quote, unless you are working you can’t do mistakes & he is ready to afford as well correct his mistakes!
What I take back along from Dubai is Mr. Maktoum’s passion to excel in every aspect of life & opting only for the best. Agreed we are a developing, poor country but so was Dubai too just few decades back. And if I alone can’t change my entire country yet I can definitely change my work place as well my individual surrounding; I returned to Pune with my piece of passion which requires no customs duty. Dear Mr. Maktoum, thanks for refilling my brain tank with this fuel of passion, which Dubai probably has biggest storage if not of oil!


-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U-Tube link below..



Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
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http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

A Battleship in Building! (Nikhil's B'day Letter)



Dear Bhikya, You know how I love writing, especially to your genre; 
 Whatsap has its own limitations so the letter sent to you was a bit cut short, here is the original version… mama


4th Jan 2018
..
"Anger is best when you learn to control it within yourself"... sanju mama.

dear bhikya,

 You know my habit of using quotes by writers or thinkers or even from cartoon /super hero movies but when it’s writing a letter to your own nephew, I thought using something of my very own, so used my quote! That way each day not just each year you grow but today you turned 21, an age where people used to be considered as officially grown up in our times! When I was young we used to wait for getting in to  21st for many reasons, voting was the last but then legally you were considered as grown up & I used to think that now my opinion or suggestions people will take seriously (though I was wrong about it)! Today age of grownup has got down to 18 years only, as you get voting right as well driving license, yes drinking age has been increased to 24 but I wonder anybody follows that norm anymore! Bhikya, what I like most  about you is the dedication with which you do anything, may it be body building for six packs or studying for medical, which was your target & it’s this habit of yours which will take you ahead of all! As by me what your genre lacks is setting up goals & work hard towards them, may be its because for many of you, goals were already achieved by our genre making it difficult for you guys to have any choice for selecting your goals.

For my genre there were so many goals for us, right from having a decent shoes pair to having a two wheeler to getting a job, we have set up so many targets which most of you guys have already in your pocket even before you entered in 18's! In such times I am happy my nephew is one of rare species who sets his goals & work hard to get them.  But at the same time what you need to work on is your temper & not being able to accommodate things which you don’t like. Do you know who your biggest enemy is? None other than you yourself as when you set a target then you should make yourself in such a position that nothing can deviate you from your target & two things are any man’s worst enemies, impatientness & short temper! You have watched enough English movies, especially where characters of sniper’s are involved & showed taking aim at the target which is at very long distance. Do you know when it’s a shot at target some hundreds of meters away then however good & powerful rifle you got in your hand, you need to take so many things in consideration for e.g. wind direction & wind speed, as slightest of miscalculation of wind flow can change the course of the bullet! Most importantly a sniper has to be very strong & steady minded & needs to have control on his/her breathing, as even breathing moment can make you miss your aim. What most people will see is just a nice shot & admires the sniper when he shoots a tiny object at distance but how many could understand the hard way the sniper has come through & minute details he has worked on? Life is also taking aims & shooting, as when you are setting target as long as your career or body building, then you can’t afford to allow anything which will affect the course you have chosen! Here is where what habits you have cultivated came in light & like smoking or drinking, being short tempered & impatient too are bad habits which you need to keep away.

Bhikya mind one thing, any ship can sail smoothly with wind in favor & in calm waters but only a battleship is built to sail against the wind & in rough waters, yet to remain on the course it is travelling on! Our human body with a mind in it also is like a ship sailing in the ocean of life which has many ports named career, physical fitness, knowledge, respect, honor, relations which we have to reach at some stage of our life. And for that we need to build our ship so it can travel to all these destinations & for that there are many ways but one sure way is acquire knowledge & adopt humbleness. As like money, knowledge also is a weapon, much powerful. And do you know what any powerful weapon makes to us, it goes in our head from our hands & weapon’s aim is shifted to our own self & that’s the first step of defeat which we write for our-self! Being humble & paying respect to everybody is only way to keep the weapon in our hand & aimed at right target, mind it always.  So it’s up to you what you become by yourself, a battleship or a luxury yacht! That way every generation thinks they went through hardship while the next generation has got easy life because of their efforts but I never think so, as the world is changing fast & your generation will face more challenges & biggest challenge is to survive change as well pace of life. You are in a profession of medical science which is still considered as noble but now people want results & they want it fast & in their way; bhikya, biggest challenge is to stand to the expectations of others & that needs lots of patience! I often wonder about medical profession & English language where "patient" term is so important & directly related to another term i.e.  "Patience"; its irony that a doctor needs both i.e. patients & patience to become successful!
On your b’day I wish you lots of patience as if you achieve it, then patients will follow always! And do mind patience needs practice, just like your profession, the more you practice it the more patient & skill you get!

While you grow do remember, understand the term named success first then try to become successful as many successful people have failed just because they failed to understand success! And yes learn to smile not just laugh as smile comes from within & laugh can be just a surface activity, best way to face defeat is to smile at it & get over it!! There will be times when people will doubt your capacities, don’t ignore them but best way to clear that doubt is prove them wrong by delivering!! Last but most important any beautiful building becomes strong to survive test of the time only if it has solid foundation. And the foundation is always buried under the surface of earth, though the building which people admire is seen above the ground. Same way your success will be standing on many people who will be always in shadow & whom others will never see; your parents, friends, teachers are few of them. Never ever forget those who has been your foundation as many of them has sacrificed a lot for you as that only has made you what you are today & will be; all you have to do is make them proud by your existence, that’s all they will ever want from you!

That’s what I wanted to share & don’t restrict my words to you, as they may be written for you but they are for rohit, rohan, ketki & for all your genre, so do share with them as one more job of battleship is keep other vessels safe too!

njoy…lots of love

mama


-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.
Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U-Tube link below..



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)
 

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For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below
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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Bye, Bye, Year of Tragedies With Hope!







“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”… Desmond Tutu.

“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living”…  Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Once again two quotes by two great thinkers, Tutu as well Cicero for one topic to end the year; unfortunate that death can be only confronted with hope that’s why I used above quotes to describe the passing year! It was year of tragedies rather year of death, as not a single day I opened up news paper or turned on TV & I didn’t get to read or see about death! And death came very cheaply in our beloved country, especially in so called Smart Cities like Pune & Mumbai. Few decades back death was feared only in remote rural parts where people used to die because of epidemic or lack of any medical help to reach to them but today in 2017, nobody seems to be safe as people die here not just because of fire in some illegal factory but people die on roads in this city because of poor road conditions, people die on expressways due to vehicles entering in opposite lanes, people die sitting on steps of a shop due to over speeding trucks, people die in fire in posh restaurants while celebrating birthdays, people die walking on railway bridge in stampede generated out of sheer rumors, people die falling from buildings during work & people die even while sleeping in their bedrooms while the building in which the bedroom is situated, collapses! Never the life has felt such uncertain as you don’t know what way death will approaches you here & I think 2017 will be known for year of mishaps in the history of Pune & Mumbai!

What’s most frustrating is the attitude of the authorities (read govt) as why it’s required to loss of innocent people’s lives to take any action by which such mishap could have been avoided? Why the so called system keepers sleeping (read pretends to be sleeping) over every possible illegalities happening in most of the cases where innocent lives get lost? Read the news in last quarter of 2017 & reactions from the authorities over those incidences & then you will be ashamed of having such rulers though we ourselves are responsible to vote them & pay taxes for paying salaries of “sarkari babus” who are supposed to serve the law, is another bitter truth! It’s only after Elephisten Road railway bridge tragedy where some thirty odd people died, the railway dept directly called Military Engg for building one more pedestrians over bridge at war footing, demand of which has being made from years by the commuters. Had that demand been listened & acted upon & the new bridge has been build then these thirty lives could have been saved. Same way every time some vehicle over speeds, lost control & enters in opposite lane on expressway & commuters dies, the public work dept announces road safety audits, survey of such spots & for some patch of the express way barricades  of brufen ropes barricades are erected & again everything goes stand still till the next accident happens taking more lives! Then every time a building collapses or caught fire (mostly illegal), depending up on the numbers of causalities, announcements are made by the concerned minister or commissioner about taking strict actions on every illegal building as well forming of a special squad for demolishing illegal structures & then after few days you get to read on front page of most news papers that all the illegal buildings till 2015 have been legalized by the govt! On top of it, in such news there is never any mention about safety audit or any such things regarding the dark future which awaits for the residents of such illegal (sorry now legal) buildings neither any concrete action plan to stop generation of illegal buildings is there! Every time there is any accident due to vehicles entering in BRT”s (please don’t ask meaning of this) routes, the PMC officers assures they will ensure no vehicle will enter in BRT dedicated route as well police announces heavy fines or strict action against such vehicles yet next day when you travel along any BRT lane, stranded in traffic jams, you see hundreds of vehicles entering in BRT lanes without any action being taken on them!  I opened today’s news paper & wasn’t surprised to read BMC (for a change its Bombay Municipal Corporation & not our beloved PMC) in one single day has demolished nearly 400 plus illegal restaurants, roof top bars, hukka parlors & by coming week end the figure of such to be demolished joints will go over 1000 is said! All kudos to BMC as it took only 14 lives to make BMC staff understand there are so many illegal restaurants (read death traps) in Mumbai & its BMC’s duty only to demolish them! Worst part is most of the media is already busy in counting the loss in terms of money which these illegal hotel owners will be facing as their joints will be closed on 31st Dec night which is officially a “Wet Day” (just like we have a “Dry Day”) for this poor country which boasts itself as Land of Mahatma Gandhi! Then last week I read in news paper about an elderly couple which died as their two wheelers skidded from a road pot hole & they came under wheels of a truck passing by (dumper). They were going around to distribute their only daughter’s marriage invitation, imagine what a shock would have been come to that poor girl when she would have heard the news of her parents such tragic death! And the road minister announced every road in the State will be pot less by  15th Dec 2017 & declared a price for showing road pot hole after this day, well I am sure there are better & direct ways to make the State bankrupt than this! 

And lastly most shocking way of death happened on the eve before year end night, a young lady software engg (IT industry) got killed under the wheels of a speeding concrete mixer truck; no she wasn’t on road or riding any two wheeler or not even in BRT lane, she was sitting on steps of a shop like other thousand shops in the city & drinking sugar cane juice! The truck driver was speeding, lost control & drove straight in the shop along the road where this poor girl was waiting for her death & died, just like that! Now, tell me whose fault is it in all above cases, that the involved people has to leave this world while they must have been planning for New Year party just like you & me are planning right now. Like you & me, each of above mentioned incidence’s victim must have left his or her home that day or evening but they never imagined they won’t be returning back as they live in a careless , ruthless system named govt, which acts only to show it is acting that to after spending some lives! This is by me just the way in earlier times people used to kill a goat (bali dene) before starting any new work or structure so there should not be any stoppage in the said work, only difference is here scapegoats are living human beings who are tax payers of this city & their only fault is they happened to be at wrong place at wrong time!  How these heavy vehicles enters on internal roads of the city on which only lighter vehicles or two wheelers are supposed to ride, nobody asks or cares for such questions here, leave apart planning for such situation!  Years after years we make provisions in civic body’s budget for HCMTR type infra developments but we don’t build it is a reality neither we provide a safe public transport to the citizens. And it’s this lack of our planning or say will for the accident free planning which makes us number one city in country for road accident deaths! It seems govt may of any political party but it’s too busy in only one agenda & that is how to retain the power in next election & turns a blind eye towards its basic duty i.e. making life of the common man safe if not livable!

And then there is one more way death caught you here & that is financial death; here the victim may not die physically i.e. in normal sense but he or she gets stripped of all their life time savings, making them feel worse than death! I am speaking of thousands of financial scams/frauds where common man get robbed or cheated & govt then arrest few front runners & actual culprits (read criminals) roams freely, to search their new victims! Financial crimes are on rampant & here too govt just announces to make Cyber Crime Stations as well Economic Offense wing effective, where as the main thing i.e. entire financial budget of the family collapses due to cheating by the master minds behind such crimes, which in a way is death only as in today’s world if you don’t have enough money to survive then what’s use of such life? Every day you read about FD scheme frauds or some money double scam or bogus land scams & never the criminals’ gets punishment in time, leave apart recovery of the lost money. This has lead to make common man not to believe in the system named govt or police to such an extent that majority people avoid even to launch complaint of such cheating or theft! As they thinks police are in hand with the criminals & nothing will happen except their own harassment, though there are good cops & this stand isn’t right yet that’s what common man thinks is a fact!  

And yes when we speak about death & tragedy then there is other side of coin too, as it seems most of us just don’t care about the gift of life which we have got! Or else we wouldn’t have been required to be appealed by the govt to wear helmet while we drive two-wheelers! We drive in wrong lane caring a hoot about ours or others life; we take U turns on roads where it’s not allowed. All the time we talk or text on cell phone while we drive even on two wheelers also, risking ours as well others lives. Ask how many of us know how to operate a fire extinguisher cylinder, we go to restaurants or public places without even once caring for taking training regarding disaster management & in case of fire we never know where is emergency exit located while we celebrate at such places! We spend lacs of rupees for interiors of our apartment but when its monthly maintenance contract of society’s fire services or lift type machinery of the building then we choose the cheapest option if at all we choose! It’s us the common people only who forwards rumors of flood or any major road accident or collapse of some bridge ahead, on whats-app group without even confirming the same & helps or supports in spreading panic among the society!

As the Cicero said we our-self create ways to achieve our place in the memory of the living ones by caressing death. But then as Tutu said hope is the only way to beat the death or the grief it cause, so while we say adieu to 2017 which has taken along its death toll way high; let’s hope that we won’t allow hope itself to die in the new year, as what better resolution can there be than this for the New Year!  

-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U-Tube link below..



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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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Where is Swachhata App for Mind?









“Neatness and cleanliness is not a function of how rich or poor you are but that of mentality and principle.”… Ikechukwu Izuakor.

Ikechukwu Izuakor is the author of “Great Reflections on Success” & no wonder that Neatness, cleanliness, mentality, principles as well rich & poor, he understands co-relation of all these terminologies! Why I recalled this quote because two things happened on the cleanliness fronts, one of my cousins who works with Thane Municpal Corporation, posted about downloading “Swachata App” on our families whatsap group. At the same time I read news about PCMC’s Hon Commissioner visiting public toilets in the city to check its condition! Well, there was one more news about nallahs (some years back they were streams carrying fresh water) flowing through our beloved Pune city & restriction on construction from these nallahs. Its move to make them clean, open for water to flow & to conserve biodiversity around the banks of these nallahs is what authorities as well nature lovers claims! Now don’t ask which water is going to flow through these nallahs (read streams) as except rainy seasons, most of these nallahs runs dry or carries drainage water as well are best dumping yards for every possible piece you can find in the garbage! We will come to nallah news later but let’s look at the scene on the front of Swachata App as well our public toilets. When it’s something bad regarding city then Pune  (red PMC) as Pimpri Chinchwad (read PCMC) are really twin cities as take example of encroached footpaths then in both cities you will have to find a footpath which has not been encroached by tea or anda-bhurji stalls along with every possible vendor using this place as his or her birth right! And if at some place by sheer luck the footpath is saved from private encroachments then there are PMT’s bus stops, MSEB”s feeder pillars, Telephone junction boxes, MGNL’s gas pipe line accessories & if nothing then hoardings/banners of our city’s rulers i.e. elected (even defeated also) members of PMC or PCMC! So you won’t feel any difference whether you are in PMC or PCMC while you are walking on footpaths & then this similarity doesn’t stops at footpaths, you can go to any ward office, civic help centers, public hospitals, bus stands, BRT’s routes (please don’t ask means what) & on all these fronts both cities goes hand in hand as all these things listed above won’t make you feel miss your home surroundings, despite your location!

In all the listed aspects above,  one thing is most common & that is public toilets of the cities; as not just by look, you can locate a public toilet by sheer its stench from some distance, such is the condition of most of public toilets or lavatories in PMC or PCMC. Ask any citizen of these two cities about what’s his (I won’t say her, as ladies public toilets is separate subject in itself) opinion about public toilets/ lavatories in the city & I am sure you will get to listen reply full of many un-printable words! On such background I congratulate PCMC Commissioner that at least he acknowledged that public toilets in the city are grave problem & he actually visited few of them! Though all I wish is it should not remain a typical show visit like most political leaders makes & it remains in the form of snaps in their “Karya Ahawal” & now days on FB or Whatsap, that’s all. On very day not even next day you find that  public toilet is in more bad condition than its earlier state, is a fact we all know now. But a visit by civic body’s chief, well, we do expect some real change here after such visit. By the way, I myself under my company has adopted a public toilet at Nal Stop, Karve Road & right now I won’t take that as example as that’s probably the only clean toilet in entire Deccan/Karve road area but let’s see what’s scene of most public toilets & the reason behind their bad status, as then only we can work out solution for the same.

First of all let’s accept public toilets/ lavatories are as important to any city as any other infrastructure facility like public transport, public hospitals, play grounds or public school or even roads! Millions of people who are citizen of this city & tax payers are on road every day for their work or for general cause & they do need to respond nature’s call. Imagine a city without public toilets (though the situation in Pune is just like that even having public toilets which are of no use) as it will create very difficult situation for sanitation & hygiene on roads. Public toilets were part of the Sanitation system even in ancient Rome, often in proximity to or as part of public baths. By the Middle Ages, public toilets became uncommon, with only few attested in Frankfurt in 1348, in London in 1383, and in Basel in 1455. In the early 19th century, large cities in Europe started installing public toilets: first in Paris, then in Berlin in 1820 and in London in 1851. George Jennings, the sanitary engineer, introduced public toilets, which he called "monkey closets", to the Crystal Palace for The Great Exhibition of 1851. He also used the euphemism "halting station", now in use in Indian English for a basic place to stay attached to a railway station. Public toilets were also known as "retiring rooms" ("Drawing room", from "to withdraw", and Waiting room.). The history of toilets in India is as old as the Indus Valley Civilization, which had grown in and around Harappa and Mahenjodaro. The archaeological remains of the Indus Valley Civilization bear evidence to the use of water-borne toilets by the Harappan people living at Lothal, which is only 62 km from Ahmedabad. The architects of the Indus Valley were in the know of sanitary engineering science, which got buried in the grave of the Indus Valley Civilization, thereby leading to the practice of open defecation. Our present ruling govt bombards us with advertising against defecation/urinating in open but the very same govt neglects most effective tool to fight with this attitude of society ie public toilets! Rather instead spending million rupees for advertising on Swachha Bharat, let’s build as many public toilets & make a system to maintain them in usable condition. As no sane person will like to urinate in open & it’s very humiliating thing for women yet if we don’t provide enough public toilets then what citizen on streets are supposed to do about it?

Another important aspect is in our country when it’s a Public Property then everybody thinks it is somebody else’s duty to maintain that property clean & our public toilet is classic example of this attitude of ours, exception people like Adar Poonawala, who spends money from their pocket to keep their city clean! As right from our school days to college we have grown up seeing or using public toilets in our school or colleges which are dirty; so what’s new if the public toilets on roads too are dirty? And most importantly even the civic body cares a hang about the public toilets & this also no body wonders because aesthetics is not our culture. May it be ugliest hoardings which are illegally erected or slums which are mushrooming on public places like hills/ river bed, no civic officer takes cognizance & acts against the same; so how we are going to expect PMC or PCMC to act up on keeping city’s public toilets clean, which unfortunately is their job. Shame is civic body’s chief has to visit one of their very own establishments i.e. public toilets & push them to keep it usable & clean, this can happen only in India! This is like house lady of a house has to urge grown-ups in the house to keep the toilet clean after their use, can we imagine this? And then problem is at most of the public toilets there is not even water supply arrangement to keep it clean neither a janitor to maintain it, so how & who is going to keep these toilets clean & usable? Outcome is public toilets & lavatories have become nuisance to the surroundings & people living around demands demolition of the same which civic body accepts immediately & remover the public toilet itself. A classic example of “na rahega baans na bajegi bansuri” attitude; means remove the problem making public toilet itself instead keeping or maintaining it, so the problem is solved, everybody is happy & people are free to urinate along the road or hold the nature’s call to their physical limits! Public toilets are not just any utility but are face of our city & it’s every persons responsibility to keep in clean & presentable; I wonder how we can we call our self smart city with dirtiest public toilets around!  

And then on the top of it I came across an advertise aired on major FM channels of radio by PMC about participating in a competition of “Swachha Abhiyan” i.e. a clean society or establishment in the city. Why can’t our beloved PMC & PCMC first arrange such competition for their own concerned ward offices especially for public toilets as before you appeal people for cleanliness & hygiene first clean up your own back yard (actually public toilets are right in front yard of the city) is what any sensible citizen will tell to PMC! Rather close lock down every toilet in every govt office in the city & make the officials along with elected members compulsory to use public toilets then only they will understand the pain (discomfort is very mild word) of common citizens while using public toilets! All we need is form a separate team at PMC ward level which will be given task just to keep public toilets clean at the same time appeal individual person as well private companies to come forward & adopt public toilets in their surrounding! It’s a shame for entire Pune that with so many millionaires (who have earned their fortune in this very city) here as well international level companies, we get to see just one Adar Poonawala, extending hand for city’s cleanliness! Why can’t the people residing in surroundings of public toilets as well shop keepers come together & employ any agency to keep the nearby public toilets clean? Why we need always PMC or some Poonawala to make our surrounding clean? I think it’s high time to think what we as a citizens are doing for our city!

Then another news as I mentioned was about nallahs flowing through the city & not allowing construction from 6meters to 15 meters distance on both banks of these nallahs. Well, I know we have illogical planners but now even thoughtless minds also seem to be deciding the fate of this city. As fact is, all the nallahs flowing through city are already marked along with the banks by Primove named agency. Then question is, what about redevelopment of already existing buildings along these nallahs, as hundreds of kilometers length nallahs flows through this city for years. And then when mostly all the nallahs has been concretized what are we going to achieve by reserving no development on such huge areas around the nallahs! First it’s no development along rivers, then on hills, then at the foot of hills, then along Metro corridor (still unclear) & now no development along the nallahs; and at the same time no one speaks about already existing illegal development on all these places! Let me remind when we can’t protect such no-development zones then they become breeding ground for illegal constructions, off course that’s what our rulers want, so they can regularize all such illegal constructions in due course! I am not against conservation of nallahs/rivers/hills, what I am against is the means which we use for the same as one side we ban development along or at these places in the name of conservation of biodiversity but we care a hang to ensure that outcome is a fact! And what about keeping all these nallahs along with the rivers clean, whose responsibility is that & what’s being done on that front, is a question I will like to put forward. As PMC/ UD/ Govt call it by any name, all it does is ban construction (read legal construction) & their job is done! At the same time as citizens our approach towards entire cleanliness of the city, may it be our public toilets or rivers or nallahs needs to be changed.

To conclude all I will say is, need of the time is downloading Swachhata App, not just in our cell phones but in our culture as what is more stinking is not our public toilets or nallahas or rivers but our attitude as a society towards them!



Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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