Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Petrol, Metro & Homes!

If you think of cars you will end up making roads. If you think of human, you will end up making buildings. But if you think of nature then you will end up making a world livable for all... Lee Corbusier.

After reading the title many a will wonder what’s relevance in all above three things? It may seem like name of the art movies like "Surajka satava Ghoda" or "Albert Pintoko Ghussa Ku Aata Hai?" types but see the recent news about petrol hike & public transport especially the Metro. Well the first two are co related but what about home? What this has to do with real estate or home & their prices? There lies the crux of the question. For that we have to understand real estate or let’s call housing industry from different angle. In our city we have many people/ citizen are engaged in brain storming via various group activities & its does help to the Public bodies as well even departments like traffic police to do their job in better way. Many groups are in touch with each other via internet as well non Face book. On one such net group recently some one floated a question at me; what percentage of Traffic load do you think will be carried by Pune Metro when it is completed? As Metro is the latest in thing on our city related issue. My answer was ....Unless we don’t make a proper network supporting to Metro inclusive of PMT i.e. our Public road transport, rickshaws to reach there, this won’t solve the problem. As distances in Pune are short in compare to Mumbai/Delhi so more people will still tend to use private vehicle if the metro isn’t backed to end to end connectivity regarding destinations of travel. Another is execution time as till then what, so people will buy the vehicles & when I have a vehicle then I will naturally tend to use it for my daily basis for my convenience. That’s mentality of the city. Such types of hot discussions are going on all forums may it be social or political.

Then we have witnessed a sudden hike in Petrol prices & we suffered a Bhanrat Bandh also for the same. As well we experienced the rush to feel up the tank before the petrol price actually reached a new high & news about how petrol pump owners kept their pumps closed on the rate hike eve to earn maximum profit on the existing stock! The rate hike was nearly 10% strait which is now marginally reduced like nursing the wound. Imagine with any other commodity if such would have been the sudden rate hike? Though the after effects of this hike has yet to be felt truly. This is just beginning.
The by product of use of private vehicles is accidents! Now we are so used to this byproduct of traffic that we have stopped marooning over the same. Each day we open the news paper & see number of deaths all over the city in various incidents ,some who are sensitive enough they discuss amongst themselves & others just turn the page & go to sports news or share news. We are all ready on top of street deaths in State may be country & with over 20 million vehicles on roads & the number increasing each day & road carrying capacity being the same what can be other outcome? Each day nearly 70% of the people have to travel by their own private vehicles mostly two wheelers to different destinations risking their life to the accidents & we are not yet even considering the threat of pollution on the road from the emission of tons of gasses from the firing of these vehicles!
Each day when a house wife’s sees off her husband to his office or her son going to college by their two wheeler, till they come back she is worried of their safe return! Now many will say what’s new in all this & what it have to do with real estate of our home hunt? Well as the great architect quoted what we thinking for will decide where we will head in future. Till now our city like any prospering city is preferred by the people for living because it gives them a secure feeling & safe as well healthy environment to live. A city should not offer to the citizen just earnings but it should take care of the healthy & safe living also & this is something we are neglecting more & more with each passing day. When we say home prices are going high & out of budget of most then we must understand its not just one commodity on which home prices are depending. Any thing costly is in compare of the other commodities. Down the memory lane when I have just started my carrier in real estate at that time i.e. start of 90's the Prabhat road home prices were 1200/sft & its supposed to be the costliest bid then also! But Petrol was Rs7/litter. And now after nearly 20 years check up the graph, both have increased nearly ten times so why blame only home prices? This I am asking as a common man & not as a builder & as economic critics.
A home will look much cheaper which is a primary & basic need if we can keep other expenses in control & petrol is major factor for the sole reason that we have a poorest public transport system in compare to cities of our size. Result is maximum of the citizen’s time gets spend (I will say wasted) in communicating from one place to another & by spending heavily on filling their vehicles tanks & at the same time exposing themselves to risk of accident! This makes your financial budget go hey wire & leaving people less money to spend on your home buying. As to save on the distance in traveling to the destinations like work, market , children's school more & more people tend to have a home in the locality where all these things are available near by ,thus shifting the rate balance of a particular area. And then those who couldn’t afford home here have to move away in the zones where no infrastructure is available & many choose the option of illegal settlements. And we say homes are getting unaffordable in the city!
The Metro corridor has been proposed more FSI i.e. floor space index all along the track thus creating more homes which will help in lowering the prices of homes. One more factor is by introduction of Metro a longer stretch of city will be covered in smaller time at cheaper transportation cost. This again will make people to move out of the existing city limits & opting for places out of suburbs. As you can live outside of extreme end of the city where homes are available at much cheaper rates & come to Metro terminal by your vehicle, park it there & come in the city by Metro. Increased petrol values is in a way boon for the Metro as for a common man its impossible  to meet the financial ends with traveling by private vehicle getting so expensive. One thing is equally true that right now Metro or any other public transport system is not even finalized on paper, so it will take another five years minimum to come in operation is a fact. In these five years again the numbers of private vehicles is going up but while selecting the home one can look for the metro or such route & then choose the home accordingly.
An ideal city will provide equally developed infrastructure well spread in all parts of the city & which will help in citizen to curtail their travel distance as well time thus indirectly saving in costs of fuel. At the same time things like Metro will make them available the means of transportation to their destination at affordable price as well assuring a safe mean to travel. Imagine you have an option by virtue of which you can be at your destination in minimum time & without exposing yourself to risk of accident or pollution & that too in very much cost effective way! Feels like living in dream! But that’s what we are missing here as no one is giving attention to this angle of all these issues collectively which on face looks irrelevant! Here developers too should get united & if some major development is going on in a particular suburb then they can think of starting a separate bus route by paying for the same to the local public transport body. Because like " Pahale anda ya pahale murgi?" as there are no passengers there is no bus route & as there is no bus route there are no passengers, is the situation in most of the city suburbs.
Agreed like Petrol price hike the Metro isn’t going to happen in one day but if we plan & start the supporting infrastructure right now, then only we can expect proper contribution of Metro in making homes affordable in this city. Or else instead of solving traffic problem we will have one more problem how to make Metro profitable?
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

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