Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tadoba Stories: Forest Has Place For Everybody!







“All forests have their own personality. I don't just mean the obvious differences, like how an English woodland is different from a Central American rain forest, or comparing tracts of West Coast redwoods to the saguaro forests of the American Southwest... they each have their own gossip, their own sound, their own rustling whispers and smells. A voice speaks up when you enter their acres that can't be mistaken for one you'd hear anyplace else, a voice true to those particular tress, individual rather than of their species.” …Charles de Lint

Charles de Lint is a Canadian writer of Dutch Origins, live in Canada. Primarily a writer of fantasy fiction, he has written widely in the subgenres of urban fantasy. Besides being an author, he is also a musician, together with his wife MaryAnn. He plays multiple instruments and sings and writes his own songs. And how correct Charles is in defining forests as not just every forest but every part of even one single forest is also different like human beings! I have been to same forest repeatedly & yet I have found the personality of the forest ever changing, like we find same person different on different occasions! Every tree looks new on every new day & the wind blows new tune each time I enter in those greens. 

Come March & the incoming summer makes my fingers started feeling urge to hold camera, the forest gear at home looks at me & says silently “boss its forest time, enough of rest time, now we need that red dust to cover us”, & I lift the phone to make my forest bookings. And nothing better start than to visit my favorite Tadoba, which one of my friend call now it’s "Ladoba" (pet or favorite) for me! Though it was mid March the summers can be very tricky in Central Indian forests as if at noon the temperature can go to 40 degrees the mornings can be as chilling as 10 degrees so it’s better to brace yourself for both extremes as the first hour of morning can be very cold! At the same time you should have proper information of weather conditions & tiger sightings which can be easily available by calling the locals at the forest you are visiting. This time my ace wild life photographer friend Sanjay Shrishrimal was with me & Nitin my partner & Sanjay has updated us about tigress & cubs’ moment which are in kolsa range. Agreed we have seen enough tigers but in central part of India, this time of year is mainly best for tigers because bird sightings are rare due to harsh summer & water holes stars drying up. Also the grass becomes yellow, camouflaging the tiger best making hunting easier & as the prey base also comes in open in search of water.

Another thing is I decided to travel to Tadoba by road as I wanted to go via my home town Khamgaon near Shegaon & I love road trips as they make you get real feel of the terrain you are traveling through. So sipping chull made chays (wood fire tea) & having lunches at dhabas on way, testing local meals I reached Tadoba after fifteen hours travel & it’s the effect of liking for forests as well high oxygen level in air one never feel tiered in forests is my experience. In the forests even five hours sleep at night also is enough as our lungs are not used to such pollution free air.

Just three days back there was heavy rains at Tadoba & surrounding & it does have its impact on moments as well sightings of animals. Though there are many disputes over this aspect, that does untimely rain or cloudy weather really affects tiger sighting; as few experts says it doesn’t while the locals i.e. guides does mention this thing that because of rains tiger sightings gets disturbed. Though tigers do enjoy rains & there have been many instances of capturing in camera tiger especially cubs playing happily in rains. After first day of safari we get to know that in kolsa range there are four tigresses which are having cubs & in such situation sighting are surer. As those who complain they have haven’t seen a tiger for them I will share something from my exposure to tigers. To sight a tiger in vast jungle is never easy as each male tiger has territory of nearly fifty sq km, means imagine to locate a single person in Pune right from Deccan to Kothrud that too you are in gypsy & on road where as tiger need not have to follow roads. A male tiger can walk even 20 km in a day & unless there isn’t any water hole left deep inside his territory he won’t easily come & sit in an open water hole. The only surety for male tigers sighting is in summer when he prefers some particular water hole or if there is a kill around. As after eating the raw meat it generates heat in the body & tiger needs to cool down by sitting in water preferably near by the kill! Except these two situations the chances of sighting a male tiger are very rare in compare to the tigress, as there can be three to four tigresses in territory of male tiger. And especially when the tigress is with cubs then she need to restrict her moments keeping the cubs always under reachable distance. And this is why when the cubs are around the sighting of tigress is more sure though again very small cubs she usually keeps inside thickset of bamboos or shrubs. Yet the cubs need to be taken for a walk or to the kill & to the water holes & they also need to play with their mother, making them exposed to outer world i.e. us! What weather can make difference is sudden rain might disturb dears & they get scattered & in locating tigers other animals does play very important role by their alarm calls. You can find tiger only by two things; one is its pug marks & second is by alarm calls of animals & birds. And then as I mentioned if you can locate the cubs then sure the tigress is around & here is where one should inquire about sightings or moments of the cubs if any before visiting forests or selecting routes while safari. Agreed after doing all this then there is luck factor but then that’s factor is everywhere any way as I know people who has seen eight to ten tigers in their  first & only one safari while there are many who hasn’t had glimpse of tiger even after five to six safaris!

Best part of visiting forests is not just meeting the personality of forests but you get to meet many tourists also & many of them have become friends with me over the period as common factor is wilderness. And best place for making new friends in forest is over the cup of tea at the dhabas outside of entry gate after the safari! Here you can just watch the faces or chats among the groups & you get to know entire forest sightings. The faces which are glowing with joy & eager to tell their encounter with tiger & then the faces which are down & trying to hide their frustration of not being able to see the tiger, all I enjoy equally. Usually I start conversations with those who haven’t seen the tiger, in one such incidence I met Abhishek Chaudhari & his wife over the cup of tea after one safari. They both are work in research with a political party in Delhi & has come to the forest for the first time as a holiday break after hectic work schedule. Unfortunately they weren’t able to see tiger even in three safaris & I explained them all above my tiger theory & assured them they will get to see the tiger as well first enjoy the wilderness of which tiger is one part! They were satisfied & we promised to be in touch which they did. After coming back I got whats-ap from Abhishek saying next day also they didn’t get to see the tiger & they were a bit disappointed & felt it was their bad luck! So I again messaged them there always is first time for every sighting & they too will be lucky as forest never disappoints anybody is what my experience is! I think this aspect needs to be looked after by the forest as well tourism dept i.e. counseling of the tourists which hasn’t been able to see the tiger as they went back with negative mind sets & lost the liking for wild life, just because they are not aware about the facts regarding tiger sighting! We need to start this activity & sure many NGO’s can join hands to meet & speak with such tourists making them not only feel better but make them wild life lover even they haven’t seen the tiger but they will come back some day! We need to tell them wild life is not just tigers & there are many things they have seen which in their city life they wouldn’t ever have experienced!

Then I met Nirmalya Chakrborti who is software engg from Kolkata & now working with an MNC in Pune & is a regular visitor of Tadoba. He has clicked six tigers in a frame in kolsa range & hats off to this guy as he was staying at Moharli gate & every day morning he wakes up at 3.30 am & went all way round to kolsa which entry is by zari gate & again come back in noon & goes back for evening safari, travelling nearly 200 km in a day! That’s most tiring & only a die-hard wild lifer can do such heroics without getting fatigued!

Interestingly we were staying at Moahrli & we too wanted to go to kolsa as to capture tigresses with cubs but we were lucky to get a place to stay at kolsa zari gate & here I got introduced to another character Kalpak Sawlikar & his wife who has started a cozy rest house at zari gate. Let me tell you how difficult that is to run something like a rest house at zari gate which is right on the border of forest & at such places you get nothing in the name of infrastructure. You don’t even get milk there such is the scene leave apart any essential things like mosquito coils & stuff like that. Everything you have to get from Chandrapur which is some 30 km away & man power that too trained for running a rest house is rarest thing! On such background this young couple has taken challenge of running a guest house & with no background of hospitality industry it’s just Kalpaak’s passion for wild life has made him to dare this venture. It was so heartening to experience the stay at their rest house & its youngsters like Kalpak who are real hope for wild life conservation! Speaking about infrastructure, barring Moharli & Kolara gates there is nothing to assist the tourists on other gates which our beloved MTDC i.e. State Tourism dept must take cognizance of. Especially when on one side we call Tadoba as Jewel of State Forests & at entry gates the tourists can’t gate even mineral water bottle is the scene! I think this front forest dept & MTDC should work on as this can be an opportunity to create some means of earnings for locals also & agreed the tourists foot-fall is less so survival of business is difficult but the tourist’s assistance activities are equally necessary which can’t be worked on just scale of profit making, that’s the job of govt!

Then next two days we were tracking hirdi nallah tigress (these names are arrived from name of the location around which said tiger is seen often) which was having three cubs of age approximately five to six months. At such times the cubs are most playful & as they are small, the tigress usually doesn’t move much. So we finally get to see the family in thick bamboo plantation where we could see them with naked eyes as that’s probably best camera invented but difficult to click them in our normal cameras. At such times I always feel the camera is a burden as instead enjoying the playing cubs we use to crib about not getting good snaps & I wasn’t the exception to this feel! Yet with years of forest travels have taught me that forest always fulfills my wish someday & may be today isn’t that day! With that thought I left the tigress & the cubs & the Tadoba with a promise to come back soon to meet those trees newly! After meeting so many new friends as well the trees, the tigers, the birds & many more species which actually are personalities as Mr. Charles has described, I have learnt one more thing this time about forests & that is, the forest has a space for everybody who comes to it! All you have to do is identify your place in the forest & then you will be never disappointed with any forest, I think that’s the best gain we can have by visiting forests!

To conclude when I reached after travelling some fifteen odd hours to Pune, there was huge traffic jam at Nagar road near Mundhava crossing & I got stuck in for one hour in the traffic jam at 11pm, just because the signals were off & no police-man was there to control the traffic making the mess of it! It’s the indication for me of returning back to my concrete jungle which we call Smart City! I wonder why can’t we even keep the traffic signals on for twenty four hours at-least on major roads; well, may be our personality is never meant for Smartness is the answer!

-- 

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 !
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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Green Cities Are Here, Where Are Green Citizens?






“The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit”… Moliere

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. And indeed while making people laugh he can make them thinks too via is above quote! Three things happened to make me use his quote for our sharing, as many might not know to bother 3rdMarch is Wild Life Day, we celebrate in India. It’s to make common man aware about the importance of wild life around us. Then my friend Sunil Limaye who himself is die hard forest officer called me for forest departments efforts to make common sparrow along with some other birds restoration in the cities & third is on this background I came across two news contradictory to each other in news paper regarding city greening! Now, one will ask except the Sunil’s thing what’s relevance between my work i.e. real estate, wild life & green cities; & I won’t blame most people asking this question as in our daily EMI or turnover of business we rarely have time to think for sparrows or wild life or greenery around us. Yet each of us has a responsibility towards greenery as well wild life & yes regarding sparrows too. This is what common factor between all three things i.e. we by our self is that common factor.

On occasion of wild life Day, my wild lifer friend Anuj Khare along with forest dept of Pune & PMC has organized an event in which wild life films by well known photographers like Nulla Mutthu & Bedi brothers were shown.

Speaking at inauguration of this wild life film event I said in recent times as one part of society has gained financial stability, there is fashion amongst people to call themselves wild lifer. And all this segment does is, buy costly cameras & its fancy accessories, go to the tiger parks, get nice snaps, upload on FB & Whats-ap groups, count its likes & be happy with their wild lifer tag! Agreed its better than nothing but does wild life is just visiting tiger parks & clicking snaps, is the question we should ask ourselves. As we all have our duty towards saving wild life & the question we should ask our self is what I am doing for it? We come to wild life film festivals, watch these wonderful shoot wild life for which people have donated their life, clap the work of cameraman & thanks ngo’s like Anuj as well forest dept & we go home! Is that enough, is what I will ask you to ask yourself. One of the films shown is about wild life in Western Ghats & how many citizens of Pune even know they are part of Western Ghats & party to destruction for the same? Many will get shocked genuinely & ask how they are party to destruction of Western Ghats? Well many of us lives in so called buildings (I am not forgetting I too am a builder) which have been made by displacing trees & agreed we need homes but if we are cutting a tree which was part of biodiversity of Western Ghats then what I have done to repair this damage, is the question I want you to ask each of you!

Then second thing was about forest departments’ drive for restoration of sparrows along with other birds like bulbul, maina which were common sight few years back all around the cities like Pune & which are not seen anymore. All we get to see in city like Pune is crow, gray pigeon & kite, that’s it. Forest dept fortunately has realized their job is not just restricted to the declared forests but in cities their need is more. If we have conquered forest lands for our living needs then the only way to restore the forests is creating it within the humans i.e. in cities! As then only the birds like sparrows which we have driven out from the cities will come back to us & this is not going to happen on its own. We need to understand what sparrows need to survive in the cities & provide it to them & do it fast. Main thing is whenever we want to restore any specie may it be a tiger or sparrow, it’s not possible without creating their habitat i.e. a complete life cycle of which they are one link. Means when we want sparrows back in city we will have to provide them their space in form of trees, bushes, grass & dust where they can build their nests & get their wings dry in dust. Then we need to make their food cycle which is not just grain bowls but insects along with fresh water supply all round the year. And lastly we need to keep the sparrows safe from air as well noise pollution & give them their privacy where they can breed & grow in numbers! Then only the sparrows & bulbul & mainas will be back amongst us & make our life wonderful by their chirping! And we have to do it fast as we are rampantly building our glass & concrete homes & offices, by replacing soil, trees, grass & natural water sources which are home for sparrows!

Third thing is news about State Govt’s drive for making cities green, especially in 43 cities which comes under Amrit category in the scheme by Central govt. For those who are unaware of what’s Amrit scheme, it’s like Smart City project for Metros but aimed at cities of which population ranges from one lac to three lac. These are the cities which are potential hubs for future migration & right from now if we gear up to accommodate the migrants then we can avoid the mistakes of damaging nature which we have seen in present Metro cities like Mumbai & Pune! So under this scheme all these cities will have Green Parks within the cities which will act as oxygen cylinders for the city. Idea is great but right from finding such place, acquiring the same & then making the trees survive without any encroachments are the challenges! As what has happened with such green belts & Bio Diversity Parks in city like Pune with every infrastructure available with administration we all have witnessed. One classic example is Naik Bet (Island) right in heart of city which was supposed to be developed as bird’s park. But present scene is neither PMC nor forest dept accepts responsibility of maintaining it & the place has become dumping yard of garbage as well full of encroachments & all illegal trades! If such is scene in so called aware Pune city how we are going to make it in smaller cities is the main question we should ask. One sure way is giving responsibility to local body with full authority to penalize or reward as per the need arrives. As no landlord will give his land for plantation or for Green Park unless he gets full compensation & even after that there is no guaranty he will be ready so treat Green Parks as essential service to the city & give forceful acquisition authority to the local governing body & see that they do it or stop their entire funding! And then a periodical check should be there for progress on plantation front. Make entire city’s residents aware as well accountable for plantation. Here I will share a simple way which we have used at our sites. In Pune for every 80 sq mt of plat area planting one tree is compulsory for garden dept’s NOC while obtaining occupation certificate of any project. Though most builders follows the plantation norms hardly few cares what happens about its survival as once possession is given then the builder has no hold on the tree upbringing. Then there is deposit of some Rs 25,000/- which the builder has to deposit with garden department & which is paid back only after confirmation of the tree has survived & grown well. Again this amount is peanuts in compare to project cost so nobody bothers to take it back & result is very few such newly planted trees survives. Joke is till today Pune’s garden dept has no exact record of how many new tree has planted in last five years in the new projects & how many of them has been survived. This is happening in city like Pune where Municipal Corporation is in existence for more than fifty years & people are aware about tress; imagine what must be seen in town level cities! What we have done in our projects is we plant all these trees at the hands of our flat holders only & put a board  near the tree with name of concerned flat holder on it. We give oath to the flat holders that they have adopted this particular tree & they will make it sure it survives & will take care of the tree like their family member! One major advantage of putting a board with name of lat holder is we are very fussy about our name. If the tree with my name board dies & my neighbor’s tree survive, everybody will notice it & for fear factor of my social image I will take care of the tree, is what we thought. And the idea has worked well to such extent that tree survival ratio in our completed projects is nearly 90%! I think when we say we need to make cities green, first it’s the citizens which we have to make think green; as cities are made & maintained green by the green citizens & not by just planning some so called green policies & bylaws! And for this we can make green committees like we have mohalla committees at ward level in municipal corporations or nagar parishad level. Also we can think of Green Citizen award at ward level, for maximum plantation as well individual citizen’s efforts for making his or her surrounding green.

And then on all this green background I came across news about change in infamous Tree Act; I used the term infamous, as neither builders nor the NGO’s used to like it. The main issue is tree cutting in the city & its procedure under the act. I always say don’t make the acts which will make people to defeat the very purpose of it; classic example is Tree Act, its age old & not suitable to cover today’s problems. Even if in a bungalow if a tree has gone old  & in state of falling then also the bungalow owner whose grandfather only has panted it has to go through such a tiresome procedure to get permission that he become enemy of the tree. Same is situation with societies & result is people don’t plant big trees in first place thinking later it will be nuisance to get rid of it. As usual every law is for those who follow or respect it as even Tree Act in force tree cutting hasn’t been stopped in the city is a fact. There are hundreds of trees which gets cut every day due to loop holes in the act or reluctance of the authorities to implement the tree act. Also under this law it was mandatory to have a tree authority in position which will approve every single tree cutting & all those who have ever approached for getting tree cutting permission for even a single tree knows how this tree authority was used to function! Now that tree authority itself has been removed by the new law & the concern tree officer will be giving permission for any new tree cutting request after analyzing the genuineity of the proposal. If number of trees required to be cut is more than twenty five the Hon Municipal Commissioner has authority for the same as per amendment in the act, this is what NGO’s are thinking making the act soft over the builders! What I feel, it’s not how hard or soft any law is but what’s attitude of common man as well the authorities towards the law is what decides the effectiveness of that law; and Tree Act is also not exception to this logic. Earlier also when it was supposedly stringent then what wonder it has make is what we should ask & how we are going to survive the trees is what we should focus.

This is how Wild Life, Sparrow Conservation Program & Green Park news are interlinked with real estate as well city because we need our city to be green for better future of our next generations & so does need the sparrows & even the tigers their habitat for their secured future. This all ultimately is a circle of life where Forest, Urban Development, Local Governing Bodies & most importantly citizens, if all these ends meet together then only there is some hope for trees, sparrows & tigers. After all when we call real estate its human habitat & what better environment can be there for humans than birds chirping, clean air & greenery around! So let’s decide not to encroach on forests & give the animals there space as that’s the only way where tigers will be safe & happy in their habitat & we the human will be at peace in ours, a perfect balance of life! And time is short, because it hardly takes few minutes to cut a tree of hundred year old or it takes just few years to drive away birds like sparrows from any particular habitat. But as Moliere has said it takes ages to bear the best fruits of a tree & if we don’t plant that tree right now then the only fruit we deserve is our dark & bitter future!

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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Monday, February 27, 2017

Shat Pratishat Power Done, Shat Pratishat City When?







“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power”... Abraham Lincoln.

Some names doesn’t need any introduction, former USA President Mr. Lincoln is one such & indeed was a person who lived by his above quote. While the result of Pune & Pimpri Chinchwad Corporation’s elections i.e. PMC/ PCMC started filtering in, many faces got darkened & many got brightened with this unexpected power shift! With due respect I am saying unexpected as no one has predicted such victory of BJP, I am restricting myself to PMC & PCMC of course! And no winning candidate has the grace to accept that they haven’t expected this kind of victory as well no losing candidate will gracefully accept their defeat! Instead a cry on social media is this victory of BJP is due to malfunctioning of the electronic voting machines i.e. EVM’s!Let me clear in first place I am non supporter of any political part & this sharing is plain analysis of the election which will be deciding fate of Pune & PCMC, still when it comes to making claims then this recent cry over EVMs’ by opposition is perfect display of their mentality & that is main cause of their defeat in first place! As if such was the case then same machines were in last elections too & the then ruling govt in State has won with thumping majority in PCMC as well the alliance has won in PMC, so why this objection wasn’t raised then, is the question the common voter will ask. And then in a way doubting on EVM’s means doubting judgment of common man which he has clearly put in favor of BJP or whatever party he has wanted in power!

So let’s put aside the EVMs’ as that’s something Election Commission is capable enough to deal with, let’s see what now lays ahead for Pune. Here when I mention Pune, it’s in a way jointly both the corporations i.e. PMC & PCMC as in both one single party has come to ruling & the very same party has Govt in Central as well the key portfolios related to the city development are also with the same political party in State, so in a way citizens has wisely played their card after a long time. Since last many years may it be State or local level, we have seen what happens when no single party is in ruling as it’s always easy to pass the buck especially when things are not happening as they have been promised. And worst was all the time every single party is busy in putting their party’s interest ahead of city's; result is any policy decision was analyzed on this basis only how & whether it will benefit the party & not the city. And as per that alliances used to break & made newly which is defeat of the citizens who has voted the elected members as per the so called “ashwasan nama” i.e. agenda of their party. Nobody bothers asking for such document after winning the election is what we all have witnessed as if you read the election vision doccument of any party, especially the earlier ruling party’s, as they were supposed to execute it; then its same one. Right from strengthening public transport to riverfront development to garbage-less wards, so many issues are same & no mention why it’s not done in last five years or what efforts have been taken on these issues. Take example of riverfront development, in first place when most of the riverfront is under ownership of private people then how we are going to acquire it, this itself no one bothers! And on top of it we declared in new DP the riverside area as zone so ownership remains with the concerned land owners, why we didn’t made it reservation by virtue of which PMC could have acquired the said riverfront & develope as per their so called vision document? Same is with public transport, right from making proper bust stops to giving space to park the busses which or else keeps standing on road at nights, nothing concrete has been done on this front yet each party came with same promise of better public transport, how, is the question we should ask later but why not till now, is the question we should ask now! And it’s not about attitude of just ruling parties but those who were opposite party then & today has come in ruling what was their stand on all these issues of the city that also must be remembered.

On this background the election outcome has two major plus points showing how we have grownup as mature citizens when it comes to choosing our rulers. First all caste & religion equations have proved wrong as on the background of Marathas & OBC marches it was a general thought that those castes will vote for a particularly party or candidate. Similarly the venom of caste system which has reached to new high by damaging the statue of a great writer, has not affected the wise voters. Rather by the voting pattern, it’s shown clearly to such tendencies that we care for only one thing & it is development of this city & nothing else matters here! And second is common man can differentiate between National & Local issues, as demonetization weren’t a negative factor for casting vote to the very same party of which govt in central has taken that decision! Message is very clear, we are one society which is free from shackles like caste & on a city platform there is only one caste or religion that is citizen of Pune city. Here PCMC clearly took lead over so called big sister PMC by voting percentage reaching to highest in State & this surely a matter of concern for Pune citizens. While remote Zillah Parishads in rural have voted with 70%, we have just reached 55% that means nearly 50% of the citizens care a hang about who rules them! Somewhere PMC needs to take more effective efforts to make its citizen understand their own importance towards the city development.

Now hereafter with all three govt’s under one party the responsibility of we the voters has increased more as we have put all our eggs in one basket & we can’t blame just the basket to take care of the eggs. A responsible voter is the one which keeps follow-up of his vote & sees it doesn’t goes in drain. Now, many people will ask what they can do about it. Well, I can understand meeting MLA or MP isn’t easy but your local corporator sure is accessible & see that you form a group of citizens & make him or her answerable on periodical basis about the promises which has made you vote in favor of your elected member. First of all see that your corporator makes a proper list of his promises & updates you periodically about the same. At the same time you don’t forget you are part of the agenda as garbage less ward means you are also supposed to participate in it or else you will keep throwing garbage on roads & will expect your corporator to make the ward garbage free, it won’t work! Keep track of issues related to your wards right from garbage to many petty works like storm water drains & foot path conditions. Ask your corporator to be accessible via email or whatapp groups where all such issues can be documented. Remember by voting once your responsibility doesn’t ends rather it starts from there!

The challenges in-front of the new rulers are many as this once beautiful city is like sitting on tip of multi mouthed volcano named urban disaster where a city dies under the pressure of its own needs for survival. Right from millions of vehicles causing air pollution which is outcome of worst public transport to loss of tree cover to slum to illegal constructions to water supply to garbage to affordable home to public health to education; the volcano has so many mouths, which any time can erupt now. One more thing now with people has put their faith in one party, at least now the city can hope for Flex or Hoarding free sky line that much assurance the city expects from the rulers! From here we can be either very best or extreme worst, such is the scene & time is running out fast. The first thing we need to work out is overcome the curse in delaying the projects & reasons may be many, right from poor planning to lack of funding. The missing link in the civic body is coordination between administration & elected members & high time for party bosses to make a special task force for this delicate task at elected candidates’ level. As whichever party comes in ruling it’s the administration which is going to execute the development works & ruling party is the driving force to make them their job! Another important aspect is opposition party, as till now the joke was even the party in alliance of power also used to enjoy status of opposition party & possess posts like opposition party leader!  Even now nearly 50% of voters have voted parties other than ruling party, so the opposition party’s elected member has more responsibility to oppose wrong doings of ruling party. And their responsibility has increased as the ruling party is in absolute majority; though some typical Punekar may ask, when the present opposition party candidates didn’t thought about the interests of city when they were in ruling, how it can be expected now when they are in opposition! Well, let me tell to the opposition party members who have got elected, the only way to get back in power is to do justice to their present job & fight for the city’s interests!!

Hereafter for the city development, not just the elected corporators but equally responsible will be all the MLA’s, MP, State as well Central Ministers & the CM himself, who has assured express track for deciding policies & its implementations.For the years this city has been shown many dreams of which very few has been came in existence & that percentage is so low that the common citizen is afraid of even sleeping, leave apart dreaming! Here I will share my personal experience at home regarding post election scene in minds of common man; my mother goes to senior citizen club at nearby PMC garden in Patwardhan baug area, Erandwana. After election results, I asked her next morning has any of the candidate came to meet them post election outcome? On hearing my question her casual reply was, “why now any candidate will come to meet us?” She was neither irritated nor astonished; it was plain simple reaction telling us what people feel post election!  By voting to BJP, once again citizens of Pune have put their faith in dreams & supported to what BJP wanted i.e. “Shat Pratishat BJP” (from Central to Local Body, one their party’s govt). Now before the gulal clad streets gets cleaned from processions of the victory & the dhol tashsa sounds gets fade of from the ears of citizens, the rulers must put aside every reason & make their agenda as  “Shat Pratishat Pune” i.e. 100% dedication for Pune city’s well bringing only. As Mr. Lincoln has said, this city has given power to rule its fate to one sixty six persons now it’s time for every elected candidate to show his or her character or else in next PMC/PCMC election the only button which will get pushed is of “NOTA”! 



--
Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.


-- 
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

www.punecorporation.org


Think Green, Think Life


www.sanjeevanideve.com


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dubai, Dream of Desert!













“Dubai was founded on trade, not oil”… Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. 

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Emir of Dubai & is writer of some really motivational books about leadership. His above quote is from the book “Flashes of Thought”, which shows the clarity of his thoughts & that’s how he has made Dubai a world trading destination. Remember it’s never easy for a Muslim Country to attract outsiders in first place for any reason & then to make them Dubai as their trade business center is cracking hardest nut especially when the visitors are white i.e. Europeans & Americans! Exactly that’s what Mohammad Rashid & his team has done. This was my second trip to Dubai in just two years span & again the city amazed me with the ease it accepts challenges on trade front, changes itself & delivers! Actually what change you can expect in a city in hardly two years span? Agreed in my last visit which was nearly after twelve years I have seen enough so I wasn’t that much exited while this visit. I was just accompanying my teen age kids as they haven’t seen much of Dubai. Though the additional attraction for me was few of my friends have visited Dubai in early January & they told me about night life of Dubai which I never got exposed to. Rather in my earlier visit I travelled across Dubai solely to see the ongoing construction works, so didn’t even have time for famous Dubai shopping also. So this time when my kids said they wanted to see Dubai, I also joined which didn’t go well with them but then we have grown up in a system where elders in the home are always right! And what I saw in Dubai wasn’t just night life but how it makes lives out of nothing!

Starting from travel booking as my veteran Dubai visitor cousin Kedar was along so he booked all the things from travel to stay. To share a tip, it’s always better to go by any available air line from Pune to Dubai as you save nearly a day but better to fly back via Mumbai by Emirates Airlines as then only you get to see Emirates terminal & it is worth seeing! Stay in Dubai is cheaper than any Metro City in Pune as loads of options are available but always better to get a service apartment with restaurant facility & close by to Metro station, which we did.

As usual Rolex watches displaying time on the Emirates terminal were telling story of the wealth the city holds yet first thing I noticed after coming out of airport was weather! It was some 20 degrees & it remained that way for next four days making me feel I was visiting some European country in summers & not any Middle East country! My most favorite thing in any new city is long walks as you get to know the city geography & culture only if you hit the city streets on feet! Unless you become part of the street crowd & melt in it, you really don’t get feel of any city. So one more tip, whenever you get to visit any new city try to be on streets as much time you can, use public transport like Metro or Bus as well share a cab, walk along the crowded streets & be part of the crowd. Speak with the residents & ask as many questions you can, not just about popular tourist spots but what’s local & what they like most about their city that will make you know the city better than any Wikipedia or Google search! Especially a city like Dubai where most commoners can speak or understand Hindi, then you must explore the city on your own as it’s these people on road who are real city & any dialogue with them will make you know the pulse of the city, how it’s progressing or is it in bad shape & what city offers to its residents.

One thing was different than my last trip & it was general trade was a bit low. I can see many taxies vacant, local crowd was there but lesser tourists; may be the DSF i.e. Dubai Shopping Festival was just over & malls were awaiting new lot of tourists. What was important is Dubai Govt is smart enough to understand no more a city can survive just as a shopping destination as there are many competitors for that position, Bangkok, Kualallampur & Singapore are to name a few. And then USA always is a big market trade place for all electronic & fashion accessories with its mega malls concept via Cosco & Wal-Mart of which Outlet is front runner. So Dubai bought in Outlet mall, displaying out of the mind stock of every fashion accessory at equally amazing rates! And there is Mall of Emirates, Dubai Mall along with street side shopping & Gold Sukh market to lure shopaholics! But then shopping is area of interest for mostly grownups & kids even teens are rarely interested in shopping or getting tagged along all the daylong with their parents! So it’s obvious that when the debate starts back at home, where to go for holiday most kids says big “No” to Dubai as they used to get bored by just shopping frenzy their parents’ displays at Dubai.

Here is where Dubai Govt shifted gears & realizing if they develop something which can attract kids then its win-win situation for entire family & that’s what best trade is i.e. to make every party of the deal happy! Here also Dubai Govt played smart, to rope in kids amusement parks is the best bait but then Disney Lands are already out there so is Universal Studio! My generation has grown up with Tom & Jerry & Donald Duck & Mickey Mouse but today’s genre lives in world of Super Heroes & their rides, no more fairy tales (barring Frozen Princes). So Dubai got latest rage in kids Marvel Studio & its super heroes known as Avengers! In form of IMG Studio which is house of Avengers along with Cartoon Net-Work they have made another wonder in the desert! As remember all the amusement parks in world are in open air but with mercury souring to 50 degrees over five months span which is summer holidays for countries like India, Dubai couldn’t afford open air amusement park. So what, they surely can afford an indoor amusement park & that’s what they did! Nearly some eight odd acres i.e. 40 lac sq ft entirely enclosed theme park with average height of seventy feet & fully air conditioned! Seems a joke or dream? Well then visit IMG studio, with all today’s kids dream rides of superheroes like Iron Man, Spider Man & Hulks, that too indoor, protection you from scorching heat of sands, you doesn’t know what it is outside, a day or night!

And IMG studios is just one of the arsenals in Dubai’s armor they also have another kiddo favorite theme park, its Lego Land. Lego comics are very much popular in smaller age group of kids & right from creating miniature models of Dubai Sky Line to seven wonders in world, Lego Land offers rides for toddlers also. And while the toddlers have blast with their heroes parents are kept busy by enormous shopping pavilions across these theme parks. Also to beat the heat the latest concept coming in is water parks, where tourist can chill out with big water pools & rides along with entire family. And yes there is Bollywood studio for die-hard Hindi film lovers with rides of popular Hindi films! I felt really sorry though I enjoyed all rides but couldn’t stop wondering, why can’t we have something like this back in our country as with our hit films if Dubai can make a theme park?

One more concept which fascinated me was Global Village; here pavilions of some eighty odd countries has been erected on a huge landscape, which has lawn, canals, sand dunes & what not! All the countries specialty items are displayed in these pavilions where in one go you can visit the culture as well trade of that country. Needless to say to keep children occupied a huge stage is there where from circus to dance shows on Shakira songs are going on. There are food stalls of every country for the taste buds of the visitors, what more fun one wants? Then the city has developed another wonder that is Miracle garden, where you can see every botanical specie right from rain forests to cactus, around the world under one roof & structures made up of flower decoration.
Then to boost real estate in the city huge public parks & public recreation areas are being developed. As shopping can be good for tourists but what about city’s residents, they need space to relax & spend leisure time. For that Dubai has long sea shore of which most is being developed as promenade in form of beaches like Goa. Also a huge canal (our rivers are also small in compare to it) has been developed right in city center making real estate more lucrative along it by making canal side recreation developments along. Here people can jog or cycle or just get along their lunch packs & enjoy family dining out on the lawns; what more a family want as a holiday!  When I visited this place it made me think sadly about so called river side development in our Pune city; of which only dreams had been shown to us but not even 100 meter stretch of river front development has come in existence in last many years! 

In Dubai the best part to learn for engineers, planners & architects is the way culture, engineering & aesthetics has been blended while developing all these along with keeping the soul intact that is entertainment! As in one of the parks I saw a concrete path way with colorful patterns on the surface. End effect was very interesting which otherwise would have been just a dry gray concrete patch but a dash of colors & it has become so wonderful to our eyes! This is what we need to learn from Dubai as it’s not just money but it’s the vision & a will to execute that vision is what makes the difference.

On one of the drives the cab driver showed us a site & told “sir yaha Burj Khaliphase badi aur unchi building Shaikh bana rahe hai” i.e. Sir here a building bigger & taller than Burj Khalipha is being build, because seems somewhere out in the world another taller building is on verge of breaking record of Burj Khalipha’s height. I saw one hoarding of Mr. Rashid Makatoum, saying, “Dubai will never settle for anything lesser than first place”! Yes this is the way how you not just reach to first place but you create you first place. I am usually reluctant to go anywhere else than forests as I feel nature teaches you most of the things but I was wrong as Dubai there may not be forest to teach me but it’s the rulers like Mr. Rashid & his team who are doing a job of creating their own nature which is worth learning! To conclude, a huge hoarding was hung outside of Dubai airport displaying a message, “In Dubai we don’t wait for things to happen, we make them happen”! With those words carved on my mind I said adieu to Dubai, to come back again to learn something new!


-- 
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

www.punecorporation.org


Think Green, Think Life


www.sanjeevanideve.com