Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chasing That Dream Called Home!

I'm going to buy some green bananas because by the time I get my own home they'll be ripe…Ryan Stiles.

 Ryan Lee Stiles is an American-born Canadian actor, comedian, director, and voice actor whose work is often associated with improvisational comedy as well famous for his humor also. In the quote above he has displayed humor with a bitter truth i.e. how difficult it is for man to have his own home! And in our country especially in Pune many will agree with him instantly!

Recently I came across a page in Saptarang, Sakal’s Sunday supplement where experiences of commoner’s has been shared about how they finally get in their own home. Being in the same profession the page caught my attention & I went on reading experiences of home owning by all the people who have shared the same in their own words. And the cross section was too varied & heart touching. There were experiences of a boy in his late 20’s & who was from a village in Sangali District; that how he himself becomes labor for building his home in the village after his father’s death. Then there was a housewife who got married in a simple family & was living in a single room in a Wada in Pune & booked a flat at Sinhgad road & how the journey made her sale all her jewelry to pay the developer as no loan was available to finance the home buying. Then there was a business man from Nashik who struggled for obtaining very basic infrastructure like a proper accessible road for his small plot where he was dreaming to build his own home. And there were sharing’s by many others too, what was common in all the stories is a dream in those eyes to have their own walls around them & the fight  against all just to fulfill that small dream! And what was missing is not in even one story someone has shared any pleasant experience during his or her home making. May it be a own built home or a flat with a builder or buying piece of land; all those whose stories have been featured have expressed difficulties & unpleasant experiences they faced from various Govt authorities or Bankers or from even the Labor contractors involved!  Agreed the end was somehow they managed to have their own home but the journey was not at all a pleasant one!

I have seen it by myself also in my childhood when my teacher parents build our own bungalow in a small town in Vidarbha. Right from obtaining the piece of land to complete the house how my father used to search for single bag of cement as those were the days of infamous Antule’s quota  era & then obtaining loan from relatives to complete the construction, all memories I have still with me.  And while reading the home making experiences all those memories got alive.

Today we see hundreds of buildings in construction with thousands of flats in making in them. A builder sees turnover of money while looking at it, Govt sees revenue generated by various development charges & taxes by these buildings. Supplier & contractors see their business opportunities in it. Local political parties see their future vote bank in them. But what a common man who has booked a flat in those structures sees is his all life’s earning being used for making his dream a reality & millions who are not even that lucky, they just see it as somebody’s home & continues to chase their dream that some day they will also book their dream home in one such project!

Here I remembered a joke I read on Whats-app
“Santa sing (sorry if it hurts some religion’s feelings but I think Santa & Banta are most popular & widely accepted characters in the jokes in our country) once asked his wife to taste the Whisky; after sipping just one gulp, she made faces & said eeeekk, how can you drink such a foul stuff! Immediately Santa shot back, see & you think we enjoy & get merry by drinking it!”

Cheap the joke was but the same way now a builder in me was thinking after reading all these stories & which were displaying the sufferings in the entire journey of home making of the hurdles people faced in making a single home of theirs. Imagine what a builder who wants to make some money by doing a fair job of building homes for number of people must be facing! No, this isn’t a builder’s column & a try to paint how good the builders are! I am just analyzing to mention a builder is also a human being & not an alien coming from space & building homes for making money! He also has to go through all these grinding experiences of home making. And we are speaking about a builder who has come from a common man’s background & want to deliver what he has committed to his customer, though many will laugh at this very concept in itself, yet any business or profession survives due to the good people in it & not because of the bad ones! And each business has got both entities in it is also a fact.

In our country no one says doing any business is easy, yet especially the Real Estate day by day is becoming most dreadful experience for those who want to do it by following all rules of the game. Right from searching a land which is of clear title i.e. of legitimate ownership to getting all sorts of permissions like obtaining its ownership documents demarcation certificate & 7/12 index is the first step. Then take possession of the said land & enter in agreement, get all necessary sanctions from the local bodies & NA i.e. non agricultural permission & numbers of NOC’’s from hundreds of Govt departments just to start the construction, is a hell of experience! On top of it ever changing policies & rules regarding planning the building is like icing on cake! And then when you actually start the construction then again a battle against all odds as finance sector never has considered a builder as their dear customer so to generate the finance is one more hurdle. Then ever increasing lacuna in skilled labor supply as well intervening by local so called social workers to appoint their agencies at their rate but with no commitment towards the quality is one more emerging trend which a builder has to face. And you can’t complaint to police as local authorities about this intervention as there is no actual crime so all you get from the authorities is an advice “mitwaun taka na aapsat” i.e. settle amongst yourself, why involve authorities in this? Then the race for getting required material in time as here the Govt can ban the things like sand excavating or stoner quarries under the name of environment conservation but giving no alternate option to the basic materials like khadi or sand or bricks, delaying construction process! Here Cement companies can unite together & control the rates as well supply as they have strong lobby in central but Govt never shows interest in controlling the rates of such important ingredients of the industry.

And then again we need to have various more NOC’s like plinth checking & completion /occupation certificate at different stages of the work so more interruptions. And finally when the building is ready for the occupation then comes the most important aspect i.e. infrastructure! You can spend your money & build a building on your land but whose responsibility is it about the basic infrastructure like water, electricity, drainage, roads; leave apart thinks like public transport & medical facilities! Most of the local governing bodies take all sorts of premiums & development charges from the developer which are supposed to be taken for these services yet an undertaking has to be given by the developer that he will indemnify the local bodies for any dispute regarding such infrastructure & will provide the same at his cost to the residents even after obtaining occupation certificate! Well well, I have heard about the Devil’s Deal but don’t think it can be worst than this!

When an individual suffers it becomes a story but when a builder suffers their business hitch, that’s the irony of the system! Here I repeat, a builder is also a human being & ultimately he is also not in this for charity, so what happens is he pass on all these sufferings which somewhere are related to profit & loss, to the end user & then Govt cries for their inability to control the ever rising prices of the homes. And what Govt does is come out with some Real Estate regulatory Bill type solution & advertises that how caring they are for common man’s dream of having a simple home of his own! Naturally the common man have no option but to surrender to cheaper option of illegal constructions & wait to get it regularized by the very same Govt!

Friends how many more years we are going to get fooled by all this circus is the question? Why can’t Govt grant status of an Industry to Real estate & on priority level clears all the issues related to land use policies as that’s the main crux in entire process. Development plans of Metros & the Regions get delayed by decades & no one blames Govt for that though it indirectly holds development of the entire city not just few projects. No basic infrastructure thing like a road network comes in existence & buildings keep up mushrooming all around & yet Govt says its growth! It’s high time we should understand the difference between Growth & Development or else one day we will end up with under the burden of our own Growth. We need to make policies where buying a home will be as transparent & easy as buying a car & for that first we have to make process of home building easy & transparent & for that no one have stopped the Govt for doing so!

Remember unless & until a common man individually won’t be able to build his own home with ease, do not expect a bunch of builders will do it for him!  Till then all we will do is read the tortures journey of thousands on the path of having their own home & watch the queue getting increased for the same!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

MSEDCL (Power) Committee, Credai, Pune

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