Sunday, April 15, 2012

Punes tommorrow? PMRDA (Pune Metropolitian Regional Development Authority)

A city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again...Margaret Mead

In the last few days two announcements were in news. As usual we don’t have any shortage of such announcements. Just like we need air to breathe & gossips to survive, we need the news which shows us dreams of our bright & better tomorrow. Our rulers by now have understood perfectly that how to keep the mind of the people they rule busy with such things & that’s why periodically we keep hearing announcements about Airport Then Metro or Affordable houses or Builders regulatory bill & now PMRDA i.e. Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority formation! The last two are quite recent i.e. Builders /Developers regulator bill & PMRDA formation. Each such announcement it’s always said that how it will make the difference to a common man living in & around the city but never we have been told what happened to earlier announcements! Well, we deserve that as we never ask this question while in the joy of hearing the new announcement! Here today we will see one of the announcement i.e. about PMRDA.

As the quote says since long we have been shown the dream of such city where the life will be ideal & without any daily problems like traffic, water, drainage wont be there & all this at a reasonable price! I am deliberately using reasonable pricing as affordable term is so cheaply used that its irritating to use the same any more as we don’t know who can afford what & yet we keep on using the term. When ever any issue related to real estate growth comes the standard outcomes quoted by the rulers are, this particular act or development will help in making better homes available at cheaper rates to the needy ones of the city!  Similar is with PMRDA, the purpose is spotlessly perfect considering the way Pune as a region is going. Gone are the day where as city was restricted to Deccan & Laxmi road now  we have people residing at Shikrapur on north side, Pirangut on west side, Urali Kanchan at eastern side & development goes up to Bhor on southern side! Imagine the span, its more than 60 km distance on all side of city center if we call Deccan as one. And what has caused this development, is it that the city is very god at offering infrastructure to the citizens that’s why more & more people are getting attracted here? Well answer is yes & no both! However we blame or curse the civic body for poor infrastructure yet when compared to other towns or cities in the State, we are much better if not best! We have ample power supply & adequate water supply & most important this city has CULTURE! This remains best back bone of the development. And we need to make sure that this backbone of our city survives.

The PMRDA concept is noble & to ensure the holistic development of Pune not just city wise but as a region in totality, which is lacking at present. Let’s refer the facts, what’s actual situation of the area which is going to be under PMRDA. There are two Corporations, one Pradhikaran, four Cantonments, Number of Grampanchyats, Zillah Parishad, many Nagar Parishads & Collectorate on top of all. All these are presently managing the various issues of infrastructure & planning of the area under their respective jurisdiction in and around Pune. And the outcome is what we are witnessing i.e. mess on all fronts right from public transport to road connectivity too medical or educational facilities to drinking water, each the problems are becoming grave! And yet the region is growing in real estate. After all what is real estate but reflection of societies need! As no one can’t demand just home, when we call something as a home it’s not just the four walls & roof but the surrounding it offers to us. And it’s this surrounding which is missing right now around the most of four walls we call home!

This type of experiments have been tried in Mumbai i.e. MMRDA & in Nagpur its NIA, Nagpur Improvement Authority & at Bangalore too. In nutshell it’s creating a separate entity which will work individually on larger projects as well along with the local authorities to ensure proper infrastructure on a much larger area than just some Municipal Corporation or Zillah Parishad.

Here many will ask when there are so many public bodies monitoring the development then what’s one more body is going to make difference & how it is going to make better homes available which will be at reasonable price? Well agreed no on can change the situation in one night as there isn’t any such magic wand but definitely one can plan for a system which can deliver the result. Results which all other systems have been failed repeatedly! As we are seeing Pune has been increasingly growing as a region & not just city under the jurisdiction of PMC or PCMC & all this growth needs a centralized coordinating or governing authority. Like PMC can plan & build the roads within its boundary limits but what happens to the road networks of areas surrounding to PMC? If the road abruptly ends at city limit, it’s of no use as it has to lead in some proper direction. Similar things have been happening on Public Transport as even merging of PMT & PCMT haven helped to improve the service. Not only because PMPML is managed wrongly but also because the expectations have been increased too much about public transport. We have a much larger area to be served for public transport than just areas under PMC & PCMC. So many routes will have to be planned where the length of routes will be much more than what it is now. New means of transport has to be defined & all these things will be interconnected to each other not just as per present boundaries of the local bodies but to be planned in much more larger canvass. The same principal will be applicable to water supply, drainage & many more infrastructural things which will need to be planned thinking as this whole area as one region, which presently the governing bodies cant because of their limitations of boundaries.

The concept of PMRDA is covering all these things under one wing. This body will plan for the region as whole & will get the executed via local bodies. It will have a smooth & cohesive, interlinked planning going above the present boundaries thus assuring a network of evenly based infrastructure to all the people living in the region. The present scene like Baner has water & Sus don’t have, won’t be any more. The roads will be well interconnected & helping the commuter to go from one end of the region to another without any hindrance. PMRDA will be having representation of all the local present governing bodies along with panel of experts is what we know. With land use getting defined by one authority & the infrastructure being made available to remote parts of the region more & more land will come under proper use & many lands which are under utilized can be used for housing. This will make more options available for the homes & with demand evenly balanced all around the city center & not just for some pockets. After all when we ask for a home in reasonable price then its not just the basic cost of the house but the daily expenditure it make us spend on our living also counts in it!

The entire picture looks very rosy & nice but only thing is this has been in talks since last 7-8 years & yet nothing has been finalized in concrete. This is the crux of our Govt's planning, they think perfectly but when it comes to put the thoughts in action they fail miserably! Reasons may be any but to me main reason is weak memory of the society ,who get happy after hearing such dreams are being announced & then forget it by the time next dream is being announced by the same Govt! Lets hope the PMRDA dream comes true as this is one dream if comes true has capacity to change our future which is in our hands only!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

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