Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Before Municipal Corporation! A Reality!!







It’s more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly…Mabel Newcomer.

Mabel Newcomer taught in the Vassar economics department from 1917 to 1957. An outstanding educator, she combines her excellent teaching and faculty leadership with her activities as a professional economist. No wonder she could describe the typical human tendency about any target we set, in such effective words! This time it’s our Pune city & these would be villages merging in the PMC. No, it’s not about whether its right or wrong as the decision has been already done by the "May Baap Govt", so it’s only the way it’s going to happen & ho halla about it. The best part of Pune is whatever happens on the city front, it has to be criticized, in spite of its being good or bad for the city yet there are comments criticizing the issue! In Marathi there is very good saying about this attitude “Wagh mhatala tari khato aani waghya mhatala tari khato” i.e. you call the tiger by any name but end result is he will eat you! I think this attitude goes along when we call ourselves Punekar!

Now when the villages are going to be part of PMC i.e. Pune Municipal Corporation, the criticism is about the latest sanctioning spree of the lands in these villages. Media as well many so called veteran politicians are hell bend to prove that how a racket is behind all the sanction process within the villages which are on the verge of getting merged in Municipal Corporation i.e. PMC! Statistics’ are being produced, how in just few months the plans over the land admeasuring nearly some crores of sq fts has been got sanctioned & how its being done keeping in mind benefit of the builders as usual & how this will ruin the PMC etc etc!

Well, before we analyze the situation lets go in the past & let’s see what has happened some 20/30 years back when then PMC was much smaller & similar expansion of the boundaries has been done. For e.g. take the infamous Dhankavdi, (a village which came in PMC) which when was supposed to be taken in PMC all illegal construction came up with grampanchayt sanctioning the plans before it came in PMC. The grampanchyat wasn’t having any technical criteria & outcome is what we see today, 10 feet wide roads & buildings adjoining to each other with no open spaces or amenity spaces nor any place for plantation & least parking facilities! And yet we have to accept these buildings as it is because under the label of committed development which safe guards the interest of residents. This was totally illegal & wrong sanctioning yet we have accepted as it is.
Then there is the fifteen village’s story, like baner, balewadi, baodhan & other which got merged in PMC some fifteen years back. Here the case wasn’t like dhankawdi & large lands were available for PMC to make their Development Plan i.e. DP. But we all witnessed the mess which we only made of DP & even after fifteen years have been passed, yet the DP is under scanner & issues like River side green belt or hill top hill slopes haven’t been finalized. The TDR is development rights which the land owners get for the reservation on their land was started just four years back & all knows how slow the TDR compensation process is!

Then there were issues of reservations on the plots & debate over the same, as the reservations have been put on the lands whose owners were normal common men & all lands of powerful & politicians got away without any reservation. Agreed these allegations may not be true but that’s what common man thinks about his land & obviously will like to safeguard it from any reservation.

Now think about the infrastructure of these already merged villages. Still the road network isn’t complete, still many lands don’t have any access roads, drainage & water lines haven’t been laid. Not many of the reservation lands have been developed for the purposes for which they have been reserved in DP, and now why media don’t ask to concerned authorities who has stopped them from doing so? There is a foul cry over amenity spaces won’t be available to PMC if the plans have been approved on them by the Hon Collector, but what PMC has done with acquired nearly 160 & above amenity places in last fifteen years, have we asked them about it?  There is a shout of PMC loosing the revenue from the development charges as well premiums on these lands but will anybody provide what has been done with premiums & charges collected by the plans sanctioned in last fifteen years? Yet PMC don’t take any responsibility for supply of water or drainage in these expanded areas & yet people have to pay premiums & development charges. Thanks god PMC don’t take undertaking from the developer for providing schools, shopping malls or hospitals while sanctioning the plans!

Now on this background what’s wrong if people are getting their plans sanctioned from a competent authority like Town Planning & Collector & whose rules are more stringent than even PMC! The media & some politicians are trying hard to show that all this is illegal & even appealed to Hon Chief Minister to revoke the permissions given by Collector! Does this mean Collector has given wrong sanctions? All these permissions are pertaining to Regional Development plans only which super seeds DP, because whatever zoning is in RP has to be honored while making the DP. People are running to get sanctions before the PMC steps in because they don’t believe in the system & justice which they will have to face later. As if so keen we are then stop all sanctions for a fixed time span say for year & then make a DP & get it sanctioned during that year & make it transparent & implement it immediately after sanctioning! We can’t to our job properly have been proved repeatedly & for that we are holding other responsible, that’s so typical of our Govt! Why can’t all the politicians who have approached to the Hon CM for revoking the permission demands all the collected money in Collector limit to hand over to PMC, wouldn’t it be more logical, or put pressure on Collector to provide the infrastructure in these villages from where the revenue has been collected? Doesn’t it make more sense to create the infrastructure from the money collected & the merge these villages in PMC?

If we are so concerned about premium loss of PMC then we can make a policy that the construction which haven’t been commenced & will come to revise their sanctions after the DP is done, at that time make them pay the difference of premium charges! So the issue of loss of premiums can be taken care. Also let’s no forget that land rates goes high as soon some land becomes part of Municipal Corporation; that’s the way with real estate in every city. And right now if at all affordable housing is possible then it’s only in these fringe villages & is possible because of land rates & less premium charges here! So in a way the new sanctions are a boon for millions of citizens who are in need of a simple affordable home which isn’t possible in any suburb which is part of existing limits of PMC. The story is same with every City, though names may vary of villages & the cities!

It’s said that if there is a will there is a way but what we lack is will in itself & then but natural we try to find out a way which is going to go in wrong direction! As the quote says we don’t know where we are going & we are trying to speed up! Even Gods can save this city if we continue the journey like this. Yesterday there were fifteen villages, today its thirty-five villages & tomorrow there may some fifty more villages which we will be going to merge in PMC; question is have we understood what we want to do with our city? As there only lays the fate of this city!

Role of developers along with media as well of the common man is very much important here, as each of us should first understand the grievance of this entire issue & know the truth & then raise our voice wherever we can, as then only we have some hope left for having a good city to live in & a affordable home of our own!


--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
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http://visonoflife.blogspot.in/2014/06/a-journey-of-decade-named-sanjeevani.html


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