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


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Friday, February 17, 2017

My Vote, My City!




“Leadership is not about the next election, it's about the next generation”… Simon Sinek.

Simon O. Sinek is a British/American author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant. He is the author of three books including the 2009 best seller Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. And with Pune & Pimpri Chinchwad i.e. PMC & PCMC’s election are just ten days away what Simon said needs to keep in mind while we vote! In the first place it’s such sad think that even after seventy years getting independence we have to run an awareness campaign asking people to vote! As still many people thinks what my one vote is going to make difference & prefer to spend the voting day as holiday. It’s these people only who later keeps cursing government for every wrong thing happening around conveniently forgetting that actually they are the foundation of those wrong things, by not voting in first place & if has voted then voting wrongly in second place!

Well, let’s keep away awareness part of voting as that’s a separate topic but here will like to share few things about voting rightly! In our country, first sign of forthcoming elections  is one starts noticing public appearance of many faces which either we used to see only through hoardings (mostly illegal) or in news-papers but rarely we  have meet them across in past! Suddenly you started getting calls on your cell phone from so called political parties & they ask you, have you got any difficulty in your locality, like water shortage or road repairs types or ration card making etc. Then you get good morning whats-app messages (this was missing in last election as whats-app wasn’t then invented) & your cell phone gets flooded with sms's about how a particular personality is a great social worker & done so many things for your ward (locality) which you only come to know through these messages! If you are luckier then gifts started pouring in your home & it may be anything right from silver Ganpati Statues to home appliances, depending on the financial power of the said political figure aspiring ticket from your constituency! Remember this is just start & more flows when actually the party tickets are issued to respective candidates! Then you start receiving glossy reports popularly known as “Ahawal” of works done by various political parties along with the candidates, which mostly covers images of the candidate with eminent personalities as well bigger political faces like CM or Central Ministers etc! Then the news papers advertises saying how some party has taken decisions which has changed your life from hell to heaven & how next five years the respective party will be committed to make your life comfortable & hassle free! And finally every party’s candidates starts visiting your home during which you & your family  been greeted as if they are your family friends for years, touching feet of elderly people in home showing respect to seniors, the kids get presented by sweets & you started feeling like on the top of moon! Even few film stars as well TV stars also can visit your home appealing you to vote for a candidate! Well well, don’t worry very few faces you will be going to see over next five years, mind it; this is what local bodies election meant here! One more thing its only in these fifteen odd days the entire city is hording or flex free; I wonder our civic body if so efficiently can do this job durng elections,  why can’t rest five years it keeps our city keeps hording free, displaying faces of so called leaders on every possible occasion! Even the names of the elected members from the billboards like this footpath or benches have been fixed courtesy those names got wiped out in the ugliest manner, mostly applying black paint on names of the elected members! This question also haunts me that if the money spent on such works is by the public & for the public only then why names of individual elected members are put in first place? Well it’s time to ask all such question as elections are here!

Not all people contesting election are bad or having personal interests other than city’s, some has done really god job or at least tried sincerely during their tenure but that’s what one has to analyze while he or she votes. Remember this is election of PMC/PCMC & the issues must be related to your day to day living & not national level policies. I keep reading in political party’s agenda about mention of some monument done in Mumbai, I wonder what it has to do with Pune’s election; with due respect to the Shivaji Maharaj, who himself never build anybodies monuments but was keen on building fortress to secure his State & here every party says they will work on Shivaji Maharaj’s guide lines, wonder what these guys have understood about the great man! Shivaji Maharaj himself never looked for any caste or religion or chosen someone just because he or she is relative of his deputy’s or financial power, while building his team but here everything revolves around the above three factors, right from choosing the candidate to asking for votes! Every elected member has to work on two levels when its city’s public body, one is for his ward & other is participating in policies which will decide fate of the city! What as a wise voter we have to do is judge your candidate on these two fronts. Agreed nobody can change anything over night but it’s the attitude & understanding of the issues is what makes the difference!

Here many will say how they can judge any candidate in so short time span as the entire election campaign hardly gets twenty odd days. Well that’s the real game, in a way even the voter gets confused whom to vote & usually succumb to some false promises or cut & paste printed agenda. If you are a wise voter then you won’t end up clicking the button of voting machine blindly. You should keep your senses open all the five years, for your ward as well for your city. Try to remember which candidate was available to fulfill your day to day needs from civic body as well which candidate has constantly followed the city level issues throughout the year. As many a times a bridge or fly over on other side of city may not solve traffic problem in your locality but somewhere some effort is being taken to tackle traffic issue at city level is important! Same way keep an eye which political party has really fought for solving civic issues right from public transport to garbage to public toilets & many such. As in the glossy election agenda all parties looks same or promises same things but what has been done to last election agenda is we should ask them. Most of the time we turn a blind eye on many things happening around us, may it be overflowing garbage bin on road or a regular traffic jam on a particular joint or we rarely visits any PMC school or hospital, as we think that’s not for us. We never bother to try public transport or walk on footpath but feel comfortable to use our own vehicle, that’s easy way to deal. We think if we don’t depend on civic body then we need not have to worry about who is ruling us. This is exactly why the so called white collared people keeps away from local body’s election as we think our vote is only for choosing Prime Minister or Chief Minister. And this is exactly why slum dwellers or people of low income group vote more prominently for PMC’s election as their day to day life depends on civic body’s services from water to drainage!

Now days all the information of the candidate is available on line on the web site of election commission, sure most of us have net packs & do spend time in surfing net. So definitely we can spare some time to get information about background of the candidate in our ward. Specifically look for the financial details if the candidate is contesting for second or third term. No harm in being successful & earning money but it’s strange coincidence with most candidates that their income graph suddenly shows steep rise only after they become corporator i.e. “mananiya” in popular Marathi terminology! At the same time educational background needs to be checked as agreed this is Democracy & even a non-school-goer can contest elections yet that was for past when means of education wasn’t available to masses. Now in 2017 if we are allowing 4th standard passed then its wrong in first place but as a voter at least we can think with logic. Though not necessarily educated elected members assure clean & non corrupt approach but there are some hopes! As well times & challenges in front of the city are changing & one needs educated mind to apply the mind to solve the problems in-front of city & support right policies made my civic administration! Also do read or go through the “Jahirnama” i.e.  a report saying what will be issues of concern for the said party or individual candidate. Do ask questions to them whenever you get opportunity to do so about viability of the promises made as many has said they will develop river front but with most of riverside lands are of private owners how PMC is going to do that, is the question one should ask & so are many things. Public transport apart from Metro, how & when it will improve is the key question. And for that you should understand exact issues on which civic body can act as well is responsible.

Lastly remember as an aware citizen your duty doesn’t ends by pressing the voting machines button just once in a year. Make your elcted member accountable for next five years & see that whatever has been promised to you has been fulfilled at least a sincere efforts has been done to do so! Or else you will end of just like thousands of people who gets cheated by crooks by showing high interest rates & at the end you lose all your hard earn money. Here, by voting wrongly you may not lose money but something far more than money & that is future of this city which is future of your next generation also! So do vote & vote wisely as if you are thinking what my one vote will do, then let me tell you, your one vote may or may not change something but if you don’t vote then definitely nothing will change!

--
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

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Redevelopment of Trust!





“I believe if you keep your faith, you keep your trust, you keep the right attitude, if you're grateful, you'll see God open up new doors”… Joel Osteen.

Joel Scott Osteen is an American preacher and televangelist. He is the Senior Pastor of Lakewood Church, in Houston, Texas. Osteen's televised sermons are seen by over 7 million viewers weekly and over 20 million monthly in over 100 countries. And one might wonder why I used quote by a Pastor when the subject is redevelopment, well let me tell you the very base of any redevelopment is trust! The story started when some five years (in late 2011) back one of my x collogue’s Swati approached me for redevelopment of their society in Patwardhan Baug , an elite area of Western Pune. I wasn’t having any experience of redevelopment then, so I was a bit reluctant at first but she insisted that I should at least have a meeting with the members of the said society, Shreeyash! So I accepted to meet the members & that’s how my journey of redevelopment started!

In next month on some weekend most of the members out of twelve units of Shreeyash came to meet me, they were mostly retired people from LIC, average age nearing seventy & in first meeting only I told them that they remembered me my parents which are of nearly same age group. After speaking with them I clearly put forward that whatever may happens, these people have come with trust in me & if I fail to stand to their trust then I don’t deserve to be in the business of real estate as they will lost trust in any businessman itself! I went through the details they gave to me about the existing building& assured them I will get back with my offer! Back then with TDR  (transfer of Development Rights, which makes base for any redevelopment) rates souring & average flat’s selling rate not all time high like it went later in 2013, I still worked out a fair offer which was barely matching to their existing area but a new building & with parking lot as well lifts & all modern amenities. As the present structure was ground plus two storied, so all the members had to park the cars on road outside the society. Also as there was no lift to the existing buildings so most of the members had to face climbing stair case issue which is a troublesome thing for that age, even it may be first floor occupant! Then, there was no attached terrace or balcony to any of the flat leave apart drying balcony type provisions. Another hurdle was the society had combined property card (ownership document) with two adjoining bungalow unit holders name also on it as co-owner. And on top of it one of the bungalows FSI has been used in this building by the then developer adding it to lots of friction between that bungalow owner & Shreeyash. So it was obvious that those bungalow owners will be hard to cooperate which was important as without their sign the proposal won’t move at PMC sanction level. I studied carefully all these & tried to explain this to the members. One more problem was every time all the members used to come & when it’s a joint meeting often the discussion used to go off-track! I told them to formulate committee of three senior members & they only will coordinate to ease out the things at society front. And the after this committee understood the hurdle about ownership which needed to be sort out first we worked out the offer. I gave them offer in writing asked them to go through with all members along with the new plan & meet again with their comments on it. I won’t bore you with finer details of what went after that as there was series of demands especially about the specifications & they wanted security that I will complete the project, which was bit annoying for me but yes their concern too was important! I asked them to appoint their lawyer but at the same time told them two lawyers will never agree upon one draft, so it’s you & me only who has to finally say yes or no to some agreement draft!

This was the toughest face & I had to keep my calm to face some of weirdest questions like why solar water heating can’t be individual when I was saying it has to be common, for best results & many such. This sure was a patience test for me & at sometimes I even used to think why I have accepted this project! But then the innocence in the questions of the members was genuine & so were their faces & I used to tell myself, think you are dealing with your parents! So after a marathon series of discussions finally the plans, the specifications & the agreement draft was finalized. This has taken nearly six months & the new DP i.e. development plan of PMC came in the meant time. That gave a big blow to entire process as the road in front of the society has been widened by nearly 10’ on either side, which means less plot area to build as well loss of TDR potential as TDR is worked out on the net plot area. That meant two things, first we will have to change the building plans & second I will have to look at viability in first place, as any redevelopment proposal is worked out on TDR utilization only. Obviously there was loss of salable area for me so I put it clearly in front of the members as well another hurdle was design the new plans right from beginning. After new plans sketches we came to know that now height of building is getting increased to accommodate the FSI available as plot area has been reduced so the floor plate also got reduced. Another hurdle was the neighboring bungalow owners weren’t ready to accept road widening & the plans needed to be signed by them also. Then till we convinced the bungalow owners about road widening &  nobody can do anything about it another blow came via one circular,  Urban Dev or PMC put hold on use of TDR on plot area below 10,000sft. This mean end of Shreeyash redevelopment as our plot area was 8000sft & no TDR means no additional built-up area will be allowed than that of existing area & then what I will sale & how I will build the existing building? Again I took the meeting of all the members & told them what has happened & it required me lots of patience & communication skill to explain them outcome of all these policies! As I had to look at their gloomy faces which were silently like asking me, considering our age, can we ever see our new home coming in existence? I had no courage to meet those eyes yet I tried my best them to assure them, that all will be well, soon. One silver lining was there was lots of pressure on UD as well on Hon CM who heads UD for such illogical circular about use of TDR & CM has said that he will rethink about this policy. But then in this country our rulers speaks something; thinks something different & does something else in practice; all three things are like apex of a triangle which rarely meets. My problem was all together different now as I have bought the required TDR by paying full payment & that burden was mounting on me as well I have promised my sister that I will make a flat for her there at top floor, so she has sold her existing flat in nearby vicinity! Once again I cursed myself for touching redevelopment but then what gave me strength is trust of all the senior members of Shreeyash & I told myself as well to them also, this is something you have dreamt for years & even the existing Shreeyash is outcome of your hard earned money & let’s hope something good only will come out of it! So we decided to wait instead winding out the project as well I also kept patience & hold the TDR certificate instead utilizing it somewhere else or selling it in the market!

Frankly by knowing the way our Govt systems works I knew it might take years to get any positive outcome on front of policies but only hope was the illogical way of putting plot size restriction on redevelopment as well the new DP was in making by virtue of which paid FSI would be available. Another aspect was its not just Shreeyash, entire redevelopments proposals of Pune were at stake as most societies are below 10000sft of plot area. So one fine morning the good news came that plot size restriction has been removed for utilizing TDR & in very same week we got our plans sanctioned from PMC! Though the road widening continued but we have changed the plans accordingly & finally we had something to cheer up. Immediately we took meeting of all members appealing them to vacate the building & shift as early as possible. Yes in the meetings only I have promised them to help in shifting. Here will share a small funny incidence; before shifting one senior member asked can he keep the MS grills of his enclosed balconies as he has made that expenditure pretty recently. Before I could reply something another member intercepted & told that he tried to take down ceiling fans in his flat before shifting & to his surprise the electrician charged Rs 200 per fan for removal & the fan isn’t fetching the price of even Rs 100 in resale, so he has to just give away those ceiling fans to the electrician! After this sharing nobody wanted to retain anything from the flat & agreed upon vacating the premise earliest. One thing I did which they realized the importance later, I insisted all of them to gather with families & had one group snap in-front of the building! We also made a group of my concerned team members as well all the Shreeyash members whats-ap group so any issue can be immediately posted on this group & acted up on.

So finally all families shifted & we started demolition of the building by doing a small pooja at site. Before starting demolition we informed to all the neighbors & requested them to keep some patience for the disturbance the demolition work would cause, mainly noise as well dust. We used lots of water to sprinkle on the demolition work so as the dust generation is less & in the bhumipooja function one of the neighbors who himself was civil engineer does mentioned this & thanked us for minimizing the disturbance to them. In fifteen days time the building was demolished & we arranged bhumipooja & that too in the hands of senior most member of Shreeyash as whom else could have been the better choice for such event! So a journey of nearly five years got now really in motion though it’s just start of the work & I hope now the ship of Shreeyash will sail smoothly with every bodies good wishes. Yes one more thing on the brouture as well on invitation of bhumipooja even I used the very snap of all Shreeyash members with Shreeyash old building in background & this gesture has been very much appreciated not just by the members but even those whom we have sent the invites. I think this is something I will like to share for all those who want to get in redevelopment, as a builder as well as members of existing societies!

It’s the smallest of such things like group photograph & whats-ap group, which matters most as redevelopment is not about just building new project but it’s about building trusts & trust has to be from both sides! The members should choose wisely the developer in first place & let’s remember best offer may not be the one which gives you more area for your existing one or best amenities or better package; but the best offer is the commitment towards the development the developer assures & the respect he gives to the trust you put in his team! Also some tips for the developers; the developer should give the offer which is viable, keeping in mind all the hurdles ahead such as changing policies to market scene as every day game of real estate is changing. Just lucrative location & costly specifications is not the thing now which customer looks for. At the same time major hurdle is polices which keeps on changing & can affect the entire viability, so don’t walk on tight rope just to get the deal at any cost! Study bye-laws & rules well & then only work out projects viability. Buy all the required TDR in advance to full potential as well do ask the members to shift from the existing building only after the plans get sanctioned as per final drawings! This will avoid any bitter experience of change in policy which may hamper the project as well awkward situation causing losses. Because it’s the developer who has to bare the rental charges of accommodation of the members till the possession of new building!. Also take members in confidence & be always transparent as well available to them. Remember it’s not just one deal but entire societies trust on real estate is what at stake when we are in redevelopment! In my entire journey of redevelopment I learnt a lot about human psychology & values & I think that was best outcome of the entire effort. No wonder when my marketing team asked me what should be the tag line of Shreeyash on brouture, the only thing came to my mind was, “Redevelopment of Trust!”

Below is my small speech at bhumipoojan ceremony of Shreeyash, do go through.




-- 

-- 
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

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

DP, The Box of Pandora For The City!





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

When it come to DP i.e. Development Plan which is directly related to the City who better than Jane can have authority to comment on it! The writer of “Death & Life of Great American Cities” has been my big inspiration for topics related to our city & when the most awaited thing in the decade has happened, once again I took rescue at Jane for getting right quote to start my sharing! Actually what better thing could have been happened to the city as sanction of DP i.e. Development Plan finally got through from State Govt! That too with a sweet surprise i.e. for old limits & new limits of PMC (the term itself is old now) will have same DC i.e. Development Control rules! So at last the joke has been corrected, I said joke because PMC i.e. Pune Municipal Corporation must be only one of its kind for last nearly twelve odd years running the city with two sets of DC rules. The villages like Baner & Dhyari which were merged some twelve years back were having different rules while old city limit areas were having different rules for building new buildings! This was leading to much confusion which finally can be cleared with entire city working with one DC rules. Again joke is DC rules have been arrived or cleared but DP i.e. Development Plan is yet to be received so it will take some time to study actual impact of the DC & DP on city’s real estate as well entire development as a coming Metro & not just City or Big Town. Even in DC also there are gray areas like BDP i.e. bio diversity park reservations as I think now political party want to take any clear stand about it, not at least till PMC elections which are just around the corner i.e. in Feb 17! And the 260 pages documents is being claimed as giving clarity to city planning & practical & logical approach & what not but let’s see what & how it will be affecting real estate in totality on first look!

The best part of publishing DP is its timing; I always respect Hon CM for his wisdom & by choosing the time to publish or clearing whatever you call it the DP he ensured that with PMC elections in just few days no political party of leader will be interested in making any fuss about the contents of the DP. Leave apart from studying the DP, here no one even took any time to comment on DP barring few select names, as most of political personalities including their bosses are busy in securing their future by getting party ticket, so who cares at such time for city’s future. Sure on lines of the fraze, “Sar salamat to pagdi pachas” we can now say “Corporation Seat salamat to DP Pachas”! I really wonder about future of this city as no elected member spared any time to assess the impact of provisions made in DP on city. Rather that could have been great agenda for the upcoming location i.e. to correct the lacunas if any (there are many); as well revel the plans how the DP is going to be executed by PMC which in nutshell is responsibility of elected members also. Though never they accept it & conveniently put it on shoulders of administration is different thing! But at least on this front the so called NGO’s as well organizations like CREDAI & MBVA ie representing builders should take lead, study the DP & make common man aware about its importance so as they can ask the PMC election candidates about DP, is what I expect as a citizen of this city! Though as usual its being painted as DP is high-jacked by the builders as so much millions of extra FSI will be generated & things like that but then one thing I never understand of media as well these so called NGO’s, as we want more affordable homes & we have limited land & we won’t increase FSI, then from where these more numbers of affordable homes will come? But at the same time lets understand DP is not just real estate, DP is backbone of city for next twenty years & right from providing homes to every kind of infrastructure is going to be governed by DP so not only real estate but all industries including hospitality & IT also has got their future tied with DP. But unfortunately all industries other than real estate keep away from DP & its making as well execution part & high time that they too should take active part about DP & its implementation policies!

Real problem is how many people have actually understood the DP & its provisions in first place? As first the DP has been made by PMC & then it’s said to be scratched by the committee formed by State & then what has been sanctioned is mix of both & in addition it’s said that provisions from extended areas DP also has been taken in account & this new version of DP will be in force for entire city! Now that certainly raises many questions as there were many conflicting provisions in new & old city limits & major was provision of 15% amenity space on any plot coming for development in extended areas DP let’s call it as new DP. While the old city limit wasn’t having any such provision of amenity space up to plot size of 3 hectors & hardly there are any such size plots left in old city limit! And it’s this 15% amenity thing which has become major hitch in planning the projects especially on smaller size plot, so now it’s being applicable to old city or its been removed needs to be clarified. Also what is the use of this amenity space isn’t been clarified as thousands such spaces are in possession of PMC already & which are laying idle rather are being used for all wrong purpose making nuisance to surrounding residences is a fact! Also what about the builders who has already bought the plots & the development is yet to start, doesn’t this inducement of the 15% amenity space or 0.75 FSI thing will be a big obstacle for such projects? Same is the story with redevelopment of projects where final plot numbers has not there i.e. plots for which no open space or amenity space has been left in lay out, in old city limits!

Then there is issue of keeping balcony open as well considering stair cases & common passages in FSI; I think we are going one step forward & two steps back on framing DC rules with such provisions! Take example of balcony, last so many years balcony enclose is allowed & leave apart premium it used to generate for PMC but with every sq ft counting why waste space in keeping balconies open? As imagine a room size of 10ft x 10ft with 4ft wide balcony to it & a room with 10ftx 14ft with balcony enclosed; the clients will anyway going to enclose the balcony which was happening back in 90’s & that’s why balcony enclosing was allowed with charging premium. Now again forcing the developers to keep balcony open with repeat the story, not only the flat holders will have to burdened with that expense but the entire buildings elevation gets damaged as individual flat holder will get the balcony enclosed as per his budget & whim! Now the Govt will say doing that is illegal, well it was illegal earlier also but tell me how to stop it after giving possessions to the respective residents?
Same is story with considering common passages & staircases in FSI which are very essential for proper ventilation as well to control the movements of occupants within the building. These too have been freed from FSI & charged with premium so as people can provide wider passages & stair ways which is aesthetically as well safety aspect very important. But now again these will become narrow to save on FSI, I wonder what logic our planners have applied for such reverse stance on such vital issues in building planning!

Most confusion is about Metro corridor & four times FSI & it was not enough so even the four times FSI has been declared (I am not sure about exact provision) along the infamous BRT corridors also. For a while keep away the issue of burden it will create on existing services of infrastructure & focus on logic behind this. Main aspect  which is being pushed by the authorities is making Metro viable & utilize the lands available to its maximum potential making homes available at cheaper rates! To my knowledge there are nearly fifty two odd proposed BRT routes all over the city, is that mean entire city has got four times FSI? I must say, even the builders wouldn’t have dreamt it! Rather in PCMC present provision is such that no one wants to build along BRT due to heavy premium PCMC charges for this additional FSI & demands 50% more parking area in the buildings along BRT route, making it impossible to plan the building. One logic I am failing to understand rather two logics, when its Metro & this FSI as well parking provisions in the DP & that is to increase FSI make the city congested just to make Metro viable, isn’t it wrong thinking? We should decongest the central part of city & give more FSI in suburbs than chocking the already dying city. And then we are ready to give four FSI to ensure Metro runs in profit but the stringent parking (read ample) provisions will make the occupants of these building buy more vehicles, so what’s the purpose of Metro then? As we want to make them travel by Metro or public transport then we should provide less parking place under & within the buildings than making more space for vehicles, which will curb the use of vehicles. This is what cities like Singapore has done & implemented successfully & we are doing exact opposite way as usual! Again this added parking provisions will make the building construction cost go high & end user will be burdened with this cost is one more aspect of such DC rules! Can our planners take a note as making homes affordable if its target then just increasing FSI won’t help, practicality of planning also should be taken in consideration!

Strictly speaking from real estate side all such & many more provisions in DP will be mainly hitting to the land deals which have happened but the projects are yet to be started as in many cases the viability of the project might come in to problem! Also just provision of giving liberal FSI won’t make the home rates go down in overnight, as who will tell the land lords to demand less when their land potential has been increased! Already right from redevelopment keen societies to individual bungalow owners, many deals are kept at hold by the owners considering the rise in FSI policy & expectation of getting more returns in bargain. Ultimately the developer is just a middleman meeting two ends named land lord & flat holder, especially in last few years that’s the reality of the real estate! Rates of flats will come down only if the builders don’t get succumbed to the rat race of buying plots on any cost & by not eyeing hefty profits in future which won’t be there! One more thing is in dilemma  & that is application of this DP & DC rules; as half completed projects where TDR or road FSI is yet to load on above floors, how the new margins or balcony enclose issues can be implemented on just remaining floors? Same is true with widths of common passages & stair cases, so there should be provision to apply these rules only where all new rules can be implemented in totality i.e. fresh proposals, that clarification govt has to issue to PMC.

These are just tips of iceberg named DP as the documents needs to be studied in depth & before it’s too late we have to cure the mistakes or errors whatever we call it in time! Not that all provisions are wrong & impractical, there are many good changes which will play important role in long term such as removing two stair case provision for buildings up to seven stories, giving more liberty for planning buildings on smaller plots & many such. Remember no one will say, keep changing the polices everyday but when we are speaking about twenty years of development then we should be flexible enough to make the necessary changes in the policies to accommodate the practical needs of the industry & do it fast! If we are expecting a better lifestyle for every citizen from the DP then the need is practical approach to the DC rules & provisions in DP or else it will be like presenting box of sweets to a diabetic person & asking him to be happy with the present, such will be the situation of real estate & home seeking citizens of the city!


-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

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