Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pune ,Kal ,aaj aani Udya! ( Pune ,yesturday, toaday & tommorow!)

A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one. . Aristotle
Comparatively I am that way a new comer to this city, like many of us who have come here for education & fall in love with the city & got settled here only. Now more than 50% of my total age has been in this city so I can consider myself as Puneri, though the Nagpuri tag does shows in language, especially if Hindi is the medium J
Whenever some one asks me what’s you feel the most important plus point of this city? And I strongly feel that the backbone of our city is the Social as well Cultural base of the people living city.

 A city is recognized by the people residing in the city & not just by the monuments in the city or products manufactured in the city. I am sure the nature & attitude of Pune is one of the most social as well culture oriented, that too because of the residents & their attitude. Its one of the safest & most cultured city in compare to any other cities of its size, not just in our country but across the Globe. Look at the Ganesh procession, over a million people including toddlers to oldies on street for whole night! In any other country they would have required an army to control the crowd & in Pune just a thousand policemen are there, they too with just lathis, can control the mob. Rather they are mere observer; the crowd in itself is so much at control that one hardly required any thing special to do.
The real estate (it’s a commercial term, what I meant here is housing) is here since last 40 years i.e. right from late 70’s. But the Sky Line of the city has changed significantly in these last 25 years only. It’s like Tendulakar taking his own time to settle for first 10 odd over & then changing gears & speeding up to cover the lost over! Till late 80’s the city was growing just like any normal town i.e. responding to the natural growth & as an outcome of Panshet calamity. It’s in late 80’s the City started getting recognized as Industrial hub with big industries especially Auto & Ancillaries started setting in PCMC area. Naturally any big industry needs man power & man power needs residence. So responding this new demand many people saw the opportunity & here the Real Estate started in real means. Yet till mid 90’s the buildings were monotonous as there were restrictions on height, coverage, tenement density, fsi etc. At the same time the customers were also raw with basic demands as four walls. I remember Kadappa otta & colored tiles were considered as very high end amentias & canceled plumbing & wiring was meant for only super riches! And this was till early 90’s. Lifts were not common & not relied, so there were Ground plus 3/4 storied structures. Parking wasn’t’ mandatory under the building & that’s why we see road side parking in front of many building in then suburbs like of Karve road,Ideal colony, Bibwewadi which are now considered as center part of the city.
After mid 90 the picture started changing rapidly as outcome of Y2K many of the computer engineers have started visiting western countries regularly, the mechanical industry was getting ready to be equipped with newer technologies to compete with world market, IT industry was setting footholds in the city & a new industry was emerging in & around the city i.e. Education Industry! All these developments generated a totally new breed of customers for the real estate industry which was till then making homes for pensioners mostly! This new customer was well aware about the modern life style & the facilities it offers, so he stared demanding the same from the developer & the real estate has to respond positively! The Development rules got modified & 11 storied building started with multi level parking, sit outs, terraces becomes important aspect of the design & elevation of the building also become a selling factor of the project!
It’s not just residential building but the need for commercial buildings, corporate offices also started increasing & so was the demand for exclusive shopping malls & multi plexus too. The real estate stared getting used to the terminology like Commercial building, IT Park, Malls, Townships, and Mega Townships. So was the sky line of the city. The existing city limit got extended in start of 2000 & so were the rules of the development.
Yet it took late 2000 for raising the bar of the height for the buildings to 100meter i.e. 30 storid! Still Pune isn’t as height loving as Mumbai & the reason is simple. In Mumbai till first 10 floors you don’t get fresh air & all you see around is slum, so it after 10 stories one start enjoying the advantages of going high. Where as in Pune even after 4/5th floors you get a good view around & fresh air. Also here we have increased height norm but the FSI is same. The TDR also is allowed maximum of 1.6, which don’t compensate for the expenses incurred in going for sky scraper. That’s why you still see around most buildings of 11 or 12 storied. Yet a lot of variety can be seen in facade i.e. elevations of the buildings & that because of trying to give something different & better to the customer. Especially in commercial building with lots of glass & alucobond material, the city has really started getting ready to become a metro.
And here is where we need think about how we want to make our city look? As it’s not only governing body but the developers also have to play a major role. In making something different we should not spoil the face of the streets & architects too have to be cautious on this front. Similarly it’s important that the bio diversity also has to be maintained along with the looks of the structures. The building should be designed to serve the purpose for what they are being build & importance should be given to the utility first & then let the asthetics follow.

What I feel is there must be proper infrastructure to nourish this backbone of the city, which unfortunately isn't happening. A city isn't just Sky scrapers or Malls or IT parks. A city is people living in & their class i.e. standard of living is what matters which is offered by the city within the city to its residents.

Till today majority of the class is educated, forward looking, thinking citizens but the local bodies as well the infrastructure providing authorities should ensure that this class remains. With the growth, all types of people are going to migrate in the city & not all can afford the luxuries of the life at any price. We need to take care of all the basic needs of this class. And this is where unauthorized developments start if the demands of every class aren't fulfilled, as housing is a basic need for every class of the society. The problem with us is when it comes to planning, we are extremely poor & it’s not about the ideas but about concluding on some concrete solution. The issues are many from infrastructure to environment to education & yes we are not short of bright minds, but I think that’s the curse too!

There always are two types of Infrastructure, one is Physical such as Roads, Water, Drainage, Power, Public Health etc & other is Social such as all the Festivals we have, Cultural programs going on all around the year, the quality of Education we have, Sports facilities as well the environment we enjoy.

We have to provide enough space to the people to socialize frequently & with out obstruction. We need good auditoriums, theaters where artists can perform. In comparison to the population as well expand of the city we have hardly 3-4 performing theaters ,BalGandharva, Ganesh Krida, Yashwantrao Chavan & they too are planned /built more than a decade back. There isn't a single good art museum in the city, the libraries/reading facilities are vanishing. If we want a society to be in good state of mind set then we should have enough outlets for the same. We don’t have enough play grounds, for e.g. take a look at Karve road, in the whole stretch of Varje to Nalstop, just 1 Ideal colony ground i.e. in 7 km one sports facility! How you expect the kids becoming sports savvy! The same scenario is on all major suburbs in the city
You count the public sport facilities in the city& there is a big
void on that front also. The same scenario is on all major
suburbs in the city. These are just some facts about the city. Unfortunately city civic body has faced off this reality. We talk
only about Roads, Water, Traffic, and Greening when it comes to city infrastructure but that’s not all. We have to plan for overall requirements of the citizen to make life comfortable regarding not just physical needs but mental needs also & for that Culture is the key.

Medical/Public health & Education are two such fronts again, usually neglected by the elite class, as they never face the problem. By paying good sum, one can have best of education & medical facility in this city, but what about the majority who can’t afford! How many of us, even class 4th people (I mean financially) also avoids Govt/PMC’s public health facility, that’s the image of our Medical infrastructure & how many of us send their kids to Municipal schools. How many new Public Medical facilities have been built in last 20 years & when the population of the city has been on rise constantly?

Developers also have major role in this as while planning the new
developments we can have a keen eye on these fronts & instead blaming it on Govt we can provide the facilities/amenities that will serve the social purpose. Making more places to socialize the residents of the colony within the colony, arranging cultural programs within the complexes are the few things, which can be done at colony level itself.

We are entering in to a new decade. I think both the infrastructures must be planed keeping in mind the growth of the city. Then only we can keep our backbone intact & keep our pride of being the safest as well cultural capitol city
. There should be enough places for the big trees to grow as that green sky line is also equally important for the city.

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo_power Committee, Credai, Pune

Please do visit my blog to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !

Social Side of Sanjeevani !

Think Green, Think Life

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