Wednesday, February 25, 2015

DP or Rambo Circus?

Bureaucracy is the death of any achievement… Albert Einstein!

Well the words have not been said by me but by a name whose intelligence & dedication towards achieving new heights in science, no one can deny & so I am safe in quoting it at the start of this sharing. There are very few names which need no introduction for any genre & Einstein is one such. So let’s go ahead as many will be curious especially my many friends from the bureaucrsy that why I chose this quote & where it’s leading to? No need to guess as we live in a city which always gives enough food for our brains, provided we are ready to use it & this time it’s the DP i.e. Development Plan of the existing city or old city or whatever you call it! 

To those lucky souls who don’t know what DP of a city meant, it means every city is required to make a plan for its future development. So it’s a detailed plan with rules & regulations with which the civic administration is supposed to control the growth of the city in planned way. It consists of mapping all the land under the city limit & sees that it’s getting utilized for proper purposes which are essential for a good city. For e.g. we can’t have all the land under reserved just for residential purpose however high demand may be for housing. As just houses won’t  survive on their own, agreed housing is at center of the planning but all the basic infrastructure such as office spaces, commercial spaces like shopping & malls, public health, education, public transport, water supply schemes, drainage & garbage plants, recreation & many such utilities also need to be in place & in proportion of the houses. At the same time there should be public parks & play grounds for social infrastructure & while planning all this we need to conserve the nature i.e. biodiversity in form of flora & fauna in & around the city. The later part means rivers, hills, forests & biodiversity i.e. numbers of animals & birds species living in city. As all above collectively is what makes a good city. Also just making provision of land for all these purposes won’t work but you need to draft some basic rules to make this possible in realty. Such as how much sq ft of area can be build in form of housing on a particular piece of land or what should be height of a building & what precautions to be taken for taller buildings. Road widths of access roads & their relation to the nature of buildings & thousands of such conditions while sanctioning the plans of individual building needs to be drafted, considering every situation in future. And the DP should held good for at least coming twenty years, so it should accommodate future challenges like increase in population & its needs which the city will face. As the roads today may seem serving properly to the existing vehicles; many will laugh at my statement but trust me I am just giving example, that the same roads won’t stand a chance after five years if we don’t make a provision for good public transport as well plan in a such way that citizen will have to make minimum travel for their daily rituals like work & school & recreation type activities! All this planning & rules & policies are what called as Development Plan & DCR i.e. Development Control regulations, which is talk of the town & our topic!

Failure to do this is what we are experiencing all around. The DP which has been made earlier have miserably failed to estimate the growth of the city & that’s why the traffic chaos & the inadequate services is the outcome. Every day the roads are being dug, even newly made roads too! Reason may optical fiber cable or gas pipe line or MSEB’s power cables, we have failed to make provision for the services while planning roads & entire city is suffering. Very basic essentials like Garbage Depot i.e. place for dumping & treating garbage were not provided in earlier DP's & we are depending on one single Phursungi Depot for years after years. The city lacks on public lavatories like essential services & there is no provision in DPs which have been made earlier. Neither there was provision for Transformer stations which are required for power greed all around the city making MSEB network go week in huge part of the city. These are just few examples to show what happens to the city & citizens if the DP is not properly made & which has happened in past.

Now the more enlightened souls will ask what is DP of old or existing city? What is meant by existing city? Didn’t the entire city exist since long? Well, that means boundary of PMC i.e. Pune Municipal Corporation which came in existence in 1950 & its boundary was same till some fifteen years back & then eighteen surrounding villages were merged in PMC which is called as new city & the earlier i.e. city within old boundary is called as old city. Now please don’t ask what’s this joke of making two separate DP’s for old & new city as I doubt not only me but even if the God also has answer for it? Anyways that’s different topic of discussion about why two DP’s of one city, so presently we focus on the issue of old city’s DP as now you are much better enlightened about the entire “DP nama”! So with lots of debates & discussions a DP of old city has been prepared & made public as it’s mandatory to get suggestions objections to this DP which is called as draft DP from the stake holders which is public or citizen in more sober words! And living to the name, Punekar’s responded with whooping near eighty six thousand suggestions to the DP! So a committee of seven members, three of them appointed by PMC & four by State Govt is set to take hearing about these suggestions from various stake holders & the work went for over four months! Right from changing of road alignments to cancelation of reservation of respective plots (which is obvious), all the suggestions & logic behind them was heard & the committee was supposed to give their opinion in form of a report to the civic body! Up to here all was well & the real fun beguine when it was time to deliver the outcome of the hearings! The committee came up with two reports i.e. the expert members appointed by State came up with different set of suggestions about the DP & the PMC appointed members have their own! Wow this can happen only in Pune as now what? Shall there be one more committee to choose between the two reports outcome? And the common citizen will get lost about the fate of the city, such are the statements in Media by everybody associated with the DP. The experts are saying they have not been provided with basic details such as detailed maps of city or river flood lines or hills contours & many such! And most of the suggestions are for de-reservation from individual lands or canceling the proposed road widening & even few of the experts have claimed that the pages have been changed from their report! This is serious allegation & no one from the administration or civic body has been denied it strongly! If there was no proper information about the DP then why committee members continued with the work of hearing of objections! Also how the civic body or the authorities accepted two reports instead asking the committee to sit together with their heads down & come up with one report? And the differences are serious as one committee is saying give three times FSI all around the city & other saying just along Metro track! If the views on so basic issue like FSI are so different then gods save the city & few of the experts have quoted in these very words that if this DP is implemented then the city is going to be doomed!  

Well well, if we can’t decide the FSI like basic thing then land use, dying condition of river, disappearing biodiversity & ever increasing traffic with road jams at all hours of the day, garbage depot & many more, all such civic issues are sure going to be for a toss! Recently there was a news which get unnoticed that this year’s Metro budget provision has been used for some flyover work; if the news is true then why even make budget as well DP? As what we plan we can’t follow & the budget we make we use it for other purposes than planned, making mockery of entire city planning! As presently by a common man’s angle the existing DP is gone so it’s dead & new DP hasn’t been yet final & no one knows when it will be final, so right now there is practically no DP yet development is going on! So who is responsible for all of this damage to the city? I always wonder when it said by elected members which are our rulers in actual that administration didn’t provided this or didn’t responded or administration is ineffective, even media commonly uses this phrase many a times. Why don’t they pin point names or posts these so called administrators holding? So let real culprit get pinned & then take action against the individual. If the opinions of the so called experts are so negative then either scrap the DP & make a new one or appoint another committee & take all hearings again! As either the experts are right or they are fool, in both cases the outcome can’t be accepted which is right now happening! Frankly to a common man like me all this seems to be a game like the jokers plays in Rambo circus, hitting each other with hollow bamboo i.e. bass & just making sound of hitting! Unfortunate here no one is even acting like getting injured! And no wonder as the city whose citizen refuse to wear helmet even for their own safety, never follows the road signals unless there is a policeman at signal or throws garbage in their own river right under the board saying “keep river clean”, they deserves a circus only & not “achhe din’!  

Its said the tree will bear the fruits of the seeds which we sow only; & what we have sown is carelessness towards the city as well shamelessly selfish attitude! So we ourselves are responsible for death of the city which is written all over the wall but with the designer eye glasses we are wearing we think its gates of heaven while in actual the gates of hell we are opening for ourselves! Unless we put aside the glasses & follow the right path & make our rulers deliver for what we have chosen them, hell is what we deserve & so we will!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

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