Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Policy, New Questions!



Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. ..Albert Einstein

This particular quote I always remember when ever I try to analyze any new policy or ruling of the Govt. Not that each time they are wrong, rather the intentions are always good while making any policy. Especially when it deals for the well being of common man! But the problem is in defining the policy as well its implementation! Most of the times when the policy is declared or defined it never reach to the intentions is a proven fact. We all witnessed what happened with the infamous ULC act (Urban Land Ceilling) which was bought in for making homes dearer to the end user & real needy ones! Similar things happened with EWS reservations i.e. economically weaker Sector houses policy in PMC development plan. Have we ever kept record that how many really needy ones got the homes with above mentioned laws or policies? Rather their failure is that the very Govt scrapped them after a while. Joke is when ULC has bought in that time its stated that it will be the best tool to provide homes to common man at affordable rate & the very same logic has been given while scrapping the ULC act, that the homes will be cheaper by doing so! What an irony!

Day by day with growing urbanization home is becoming a most sought after commodity as more & more people are migrating to city's & its a job of Govt to make the policies by virtue of which homes get available to every person. This may sound like “Mungerilal ke hasin sapane" but it’s a fact. As a home of self ownership is a must for every living human being & unfortunate that’s not being possible in our country. Keeping in mind the respectable Govt does keep on beating their head & comes up with various options but whether it works or not & if not why, no one thinks on this aspect!

Keeping something in mind now there has been a new policy by which 20% of the flats will have to be between 20sq m-40sq m in every building/project which is going to be built on plot more than 2000sq m! A very important policy has been crafted by Urban Development & Housing Ministry which has come in existence from last few months. Again when ever any such policy comes why the people related to the particular industry hasn’t taken in consideration neither their expertise is a quiz to me? With all due respect to the people making policy but they have to consider views & difficulties in field while executing such policies! No one is against in making any policy for affordable housing but question is whether such policy can survive?

For e.g. how in a single building such smaller flats can be designed? Even if they are designed what about their maintenance costs as how 20% these smaller flat holders can match up with maintenance which other larger flat holders are going to pay? It’s said that MHADA ( Maharashtra Housing And Developement Authority) will be buying these 20% flats & will be distributing them through themselves & will give additional FSI in lieu of construction cost to the developer for recovering construction cost. Means additional burden of FSI on the same piece of land will be there. And how parking & other such infrastructure will be maintained as the land area will remain same? As no supporting policy has been drafted for such issues. We will need relaxations in side margins, parking as well height of the building norms as we are keeping land area same & increasing the construction area. Also the time span involved in acquiring or handing over these 20% flats to MHADA & their allotment process are also important as they can delay the society conveyance process if not done in time!  The policy specks nothing about these detailing. Again what about the project is of bungalow or row houses? How the smaller flats are going to be accommodated in such cases? This is a common lacuna which is observed while drafting any such policy it’s observed.

The approach is never holistic & that’s another reason for people not welcoming such policies. We all know the need & importance of making homes affordable to the common man but the way has to be well defined & practical & not just hypothetical is what people expect. The time delays in understanding the policy & finding its meaning is also painful as the developer has put his heavy stakes in land buying & every months delay is going to make the product costly! And again who is going to bare the cost rise but the flat buyer! Rather this policy should have been applied for larger plots where separate building for such size homes can be build so their infrastructure also could have been planned accordingly, making them real affordable for living even after possession. Or we can reserve the lands for smaller homes only & apply special rules for them where the occupants as well the developer both can be in win win situation. For e.g. give more FSI & restrict the sale value as well ask developer to keep sinking fund for day to day maintainance of the complex & things like that. And then make such reservations evenly spread all around the city so the wider options will become available to the citizens for choosing their home. What’s need of time is a policy which covers all such practicalities & then aims for the end result which is expected through the same.

It’s high time the Govt policy makers should understand this or as the quote says & like earlier policies & laws, again after some years we will be blaming this policy too for making homes costlier & will scrap it down!

--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

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