Tuesday, July 9, 2013

World Population Day & Real Estate!

Rapid population growth and technological innovation, combined with our lack of understanding about how the natural systems of which we are a part work, have created a mess...David Suzuki

World Population Day
is an annual event, observed on July 11 every year, which seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Program in 1989. It was inspired by the public interest in Five Billion Day on July 11, 1987, approximately the date on which the world's population reached five billion people. And now nearly 23 years down the line the world population is over 7billion i.e. 700crores! Just look at the speed with which it’s growing. That’s why words from the great Canadian academic who is an environmental activist does matters so much today. For many years people were not understanding importance of the population factor in environmental issues but the main threat to the environment is no one else but human being & the rate with which its population is increasing!
We as a country may be proud leader on many fronts in the world may it be  IT or Auto Segment but sure this one front we shouldn’t be proud of leading the world & that is population growth. It’s said that by 2030 we will overtake even China in population as we are already at over 1 billion i.e. one seventh of population is ours. Many will say where this topic is going & what’s it has to do with real estate or environment of our country? Well most of the time in our country when it’s finding a solution we end up short sighted at some short term solution or miss the aim at problem itself completely! And in this particular case common man is ignorant & our rulers are missing the target deliberately taking advantage of common mans ignorance. Problems at present looming over our country may be multifold like lack of proper shelter to the millions of citizens of this country; those who have homes are not having basic proper infrastructure like water, drainage, power, then migration of thousand to the Metros from rural & all this indirectly making impact on environment!

Again many will say what’s new in this? Have we not witnessing this from many years? And isn’t the large population is boon in some way for our economy? Well, we are witnessing it but at the same time are we not witnessing the ill effects of this migrating ever increasing population? More & more people are migrating to the cities because the continuous increasing population doesn’t get enough jobs for their daily survival in the villages. Agriculture lands are fast getting surrendered to non agriculture purposes & not only area under cultivation even those under forests ,hills, water bodies are also being encroached for different uses which are mainly to accommodate the population & its needs. On one side this migrating population is boon for real estate as more people coming to the Metros means more demand for homes & which industry won’t like needy customers for their product? But have we thought of byproducts of this demand? The very basic problem starts from the raw material for the homes & that is land; and we can’t create land is worldwide truth. It’s for the lands wars have been fought & with all countries equipped with nuclear weapons no one can afford a war. So use as much as land we have got for building homes is the answer & in that zest we are literally killing other all species may it be common sparrow or a endangered specie like Great Indian Bustard (Maldhok), everybody is under threat getting victim of our race for building more homes. No fault there too as we are after all prioritizing the needs of human, whose claims come first, is what we only have decided!

Well even if the housing is taken care but a home isn’t build out of thin air, it needs materials like sand, metal, steel, cement, tiles & many more which is made of mostly natural resources so again deterioration of nature to explore these materials. Obviously then comes more factories to fulfill these demands of various materials. Once these homes get competed then the occupants needs things like water, power then vehicles for their commuting which in turn needs fuel & then comes byproducts of our own living in form of garbage & drainage, the list is ongoing.

Crux of all the problems is ever growing population & we all including our leaders are ignoring the same conveniently. No election party has on their agenda this vital issue which is main cause of making our every environment conservation policy goes for toss & sky rocketing prices of homes. We have a law for candidates contesting for election will be eligible only if they have less than two child but we don’t have any law for getting a job in private or govt regarding the same. Neither once get elected any leader has any interest in the cause; rather I feel the politicians sees their potential voters in the new born population & encourage their voters for same!

Joke apart, under the name of society’s sentiments or sometimes even religion, issue of population control & taking stringent steps for the same has been always side tracked is a fact. And result is today on one hand we have got immense demand for homes yet we are unable to provide the same to the needy ones. In one survey it’s mentioned that over 60% of population of Mumbai lives in slums i.e. illegal housing. The percentage may be much less in two tier cities like Pune but sure it will catch up soon. As day by day very high demand for homes is making land as most scarce commodity in not only just Metros but even smaller towns. And the same time we can’t ignore the demand of this population on food front so there has to be a balance between land under residence, agriculture & forests!

I think this is the main challenge in front of any Govt & again we have been repeatedly failed to draw a perfect policy for all three fronts of the life. And just because we don’t have any policy or norm regarding population control in place all these three fronts are getting suffered heavily. On one hand millions of human beings are being forced to live in illegal homes in form of slums with no basic infrastructure, at the same time on other hand thousands of other species are becoming homeless due to loss of habitats & reason is encroachment by us on their homes. Friends it’s high time to act combine against this monster of population growth rate which is worse than the tendency of corruption & if we can stop it in time then only there is some hope for our country or else as Mr.Suzuki has warned, we won’t need any other world war but our own population will be our route to self destruction.

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

MSEDCL (Power) Committee, Credai, Pune

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