Monday, January 24, 2011

Budget Shaharache! Part 2

Men do not love Rome because she is beautiful; Rome is beautiful because men have loved her. - Leopold Kohr.

I think it’s high time for our so called God’s of Pune city to remember this quote & understand the meaning of it! Year after years budgets after budgets have come & gone & forgotten the promises as well provision made in them. I don’t say that the city hasn’t have any development ,indeed there are good efforts like few bridges across the so called rivers flowing through the city, some road widening like Sinhagad road, Nagar road, Solpur road in tits & bits, the BRT on two routes though I have always failed to understand the meaning of Mix BRT ! I think it’s a good joke in technical terminology like  "Headache in head or Vison fault in eyes!" As when BRT is supposedly Bus Rapid Transport, giving a separate route for those buses then how one can say mixed BRT at places! And along with we have number of jokes like Z – bridge joining Dean & Narayn peth, Paud road fly over connecting lesser traffic wing of Karve road leaving remaining traffic to get jammed or Mhatre Bridge which is closed for heavy traffic or Pedestrian’s flyovers & underpass which are usually deserted & the great fly over the highway at Wakad going towards Hinjavadi we have many such around. Even the way fly over is designed & built at Hotel Sadanand, baner, it’s very risky for vehicles coming from Bangalore side & taking turn towards city. The city is getting more famous for wrongly planned structures than the real engineering monuments is a fact & its not my personal opinion only but refer all the media news as well talk to any common man & you will get the same outcome about city development.

We have already talked about how budget & its allocation for the works as well their implementation is important for the city. So in last 10 years i.e. first decade of 2000, what are most significant developments of our city? Can we name them? Here I am referring to works supposed to be done by local body i.e. PMC & not private developments. Long back in one of Abhijit Desai’s critic write-up about Hindi songs he mentioned, "its very difficult t name Lata didi’s ten top song & it’s equally difficult to name Anuradha Paudwal's too!" As it’s impossible to choose best of Lata didi’s song, so it’s impossible to remember ten songs of Paudwal, was the sarcastic part of it! Same feeling is there when we compare Pune city on scale of development with other cities, it’s difficult to name top ten developments in the city & it’s job of all those connected with this topic why so? We have good engineers, knowledgeable minds, and veteran politicians in the city along with very alert & aware NGO’s. Then what’s the problem in not planning proper development plan & execute the same. With due respect for his good intentions, Hon PMC Comm. has said that the budget should be at least Rs.10000 crores & we should not weigh the budge on basis of amount spent! Isn’t both are a bit cross statement? If we don’t apply the scale of amount spent then what criteria we should apply for judging the implementation of budgeted works? Sure then it should be the common man’s quality of life before & after budget. So let’s have a look from that angle.

Why a white paper isn’t published by PMC each month from the day of budget about the amount allocated for a particular work & its progress by volume of work & amount spend on the work? To my knowledge in any private company there is a work progress chart for each job undertaken & its monitored weekly, and then only you keep the track of any work which you have undertaken! Here day, months & years we keep reading in news paper about projects like Paud road, Baner road or Elevated road, the list goes on & on & we are unable to know about the end completion date of a work which is part of budget! All these leads to negative mindset of the common man towards the city governance as well about the entire system which consists of Builders, Politicians, Govt Officers, even about the Ngoc’s who many a times make oppose just for the sake of it without giving any concrete solution.

As a developer rather as a citizen first what I feel about budget is it should be transparent & result oriented. It’s not just the provisions for the various works but their proper planning & execution is what matters most when we talk about budget. The city is growing & we ought to provide infrastructure which will cover its Social as well Physical needs. On one side Sassoon Hospital is over flowing with patients and on other hand what we read in news is the plot which was reserved for general hospital is allotted to a developer! We need good public Hospitals on all eight sides of the city along with recreational centers for masses as not all can afford multiplexes or private hospitals. Same is with PMC schools & drinking water. Each time when city development is discussed we think its only traffic which is a problem for us but major problem lies underground & that is Drainage & Water lines net work. It’s now over 10 years of newly merged village (the term itself has got old now) & major chunk isn’t having network of these basic services & reason is we are not fast enough to acquire the roads! Leave apart other reservations & their execution. Because the better services is the only key to bring better people in this city & make them stay here & these better people is the key to bring better business in city which at end will generate revenue for the city only!

These should be the key factors of any budget as the budget is face of development & it’s every citizen’s duty to keep this face presentable or else like the quote about Rome, Pune won’t be beautiful any more as no body will love her!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo_power Committee, Credai, Pune

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