Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Battle for DP, What About City?






“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”…Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and in many ways was "The First American". A renowned polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. His above quote is all time great especially for planners all over the world & it shows his clarity about importance of planning. Its people like Franklin & their thoughts which has made USA a great nation on front of development of resources & infrastructure! And it’s not adhering to the quote is what made our Pune city in the sorry state which we are in!
As usual & expected courtesy our rulers or elected members or whatever we call them, we have failed as a city to even decide which DP i.e. development plan is to be finalized for the city, leave apart implement it! Recently I read in news papers about various surveys used to identify which Actress is most popular & one of the parameter was how many times her name is been printed in news media! Well on that account  DP of Pune city will out rank any actress as there isn’t been a day in last many years where I have read a news paper without the word DP in it & mostly for wrong reasons! So this indicates people & media are aware about DP yet we failed to create a pressure group on the bunch of people who thinks they are the faith deciders of this city! Rather most people now must be getting nauseated with this word yet it remains as most important thing for our city as future of our generations is tied with DP.
  
Like some epic TV serial the DP story is on for years in Pune city & now like the TV serial gets twist in the story & adds some new characters in the serial, here also the State Govt has joined the serial as a surprise character & taken over the DP! Here those who don’t understand what it means that the State Govt has taken over the DP; it mains whatever development plan or plans has been prepared by the PMC our civic body has been discarded by the State Govt & now the State Govt through town planning department will make DP of Pune city old limits. This action has been taken by State Govt stating the PMC hasn’t completed the procedure of making the said DP in given time limit & failed to finalize the DP & send to State Govt for formal approval. The State Govt version of the story is the said DP has to be send to them few months back only but repeatedly PMC has failed to do it so they had to intervene which they did! The PMC GB i.e. general body version is State Govt misused its powers & high jacked the DP & now PMC is thinking of going in court against this act of the State Govt! Rather the entire episode is being painted as one political party vs. another as in State there is different party ruling than the one in PMC! Wow, this city never stops amusing me with all such drama, sad part is never the city itself is subject of interest but it’s the benefits of the city rather from the city is proper word. As in all this process no one is interested in what’s going to happen to the city & its development, all concerned so called our rulers are having just one thing in mind that who will make the DP? Reason is simple the body which will make DP will have authority to decide use of land i.e. where to put reservation & where to make residential zone etc, in the city & even a school going boy will understand what it means! I am not a legal expert to comment whether State Govt is right or wrong in canceling the Dp’s made by PMC & taking the authority to itself but certainly as a common citizen of this city as well a stake holder by profession in the city’s growth I have few questions for the rulers of our city as there lies what they think about this city…

1.    When it was known that the existing DP limit was going to end in 2007, why not making of new DP started way back in 2000?
2.  Whose decision in was to make two separate DP’s for new villages & the existing city
3.  What checks where applied that land under reservations shown in 1987 DP has been acquired & being used for the purpose they have been reserved?
4.  Why there wasn’t any cell or department which was set strictly for implementation of DP?
5.  Who from the elected members were keeping track of making of new DP & why it has been stretched to the end limit of the submission date to the State Govt?
6.  While making of the DP why it wasn’t periodically discussed amongst the elected members so whatever their suggestions they are raising now would have been taken care already?
7.  What is actual scene of DP? What was its man date supposed to follow & why they were not followed? Who is responsible from the rulers for this ?
8.  There was a split between technical committees appointed for hearing suggestions objections on the DP & what is actual outcome as common man only reads in news paper, so what’s the truth?
9.  How the city was getting developed when the existing DP has been supposed to end in way back 2007? What about its implementation ward wise? What system our rulers had in place for implementation of the DP?
10. What is fate of the city now with literally no DP in place for time being & till what time this situation will be there & what about the development of the city during this period?

I think citizens deserve answers to all these questions & many such, I have just listed whatever came to my mind but situation is very grave as people have invested millions in land & all their investments depends on the policies as well rules. Rather this is perfect scene for illegal constructions as no rules in existence & then all our past & present rulers have always been in favor of regularizing every square inch of illegal construction. Had there been no courts I think the whole city by now would have become a big fat slum! What worries me most is the way entire DP matter has been handled by the city party bosses! What all these people were doing last twenty eight years i.e. from 1987 when the so called existing DP came in ruling & in 2015 when State Govt takes it away they claim there isn’t any delay! By me the new DP should have started right from 1987 & the process should have been complete by 2006, that’s what called planning! As we have had experience of DP mess from the making of DP of acquired villages, that process also lingered for years & still major decisions like BDP i.e. bio diversity parks are yet hanging & slums are covering these so called BDP lands! Same is with hundreds of amenity spaces which have been acquired by PMC but are lying vacant & soon will be becoming new slums or encroachment joints which later will be regularized! Leave apart the infrastructure development in for of all other reservations like water reservoirs & many. It’s a shame that even after included in PMC for more than ten years & when the builders have paid their all premiums to the PMC for thousands of projects & it’s residents paying their property taxes yet there is no water in pipe lines even in elite suburbs like baner & balewadi; don’t even ask about other services like roads, gardens or drainage & the scene is common around all the suburbs! Another news was about allegation made by an elected members that nearly fifteen thousand flats which PMC has received for developing economically weaker section reservations has been laying vacant & being misused! No ruler is interested in giving these affordable homes which are in hand to the needy citizens but they want the DP in their control! What’s point in making DP’s when we can’t implement it!

Looking at the mess every DP in the end becomes & it’s happening with all major Municipal Corporations as the city rulers have their interests on agenda than the city’s; what I want to suggest why not like planning commission, the State Govt forms a DP commission & let it full time work of DP’s & they only will prepare & finalize the DPs leaving no wasted interest for any local body or authority. This commission can hire local officers at their need for particular city for detailing & they will be governed by Chief Minister level & answerable to produce their outcome periodically & not just wait for end date of any DP! Also this should be ever going process & we can hire best of the town planners as well architects on this commission so their vision & knowledge can come handy for making cities better than what we are doing with our age old town planning concepts. We don’t pay any attention to social, sports as well recreational facilities like public parks which are very essential for a healthy society. All our target zones are for roads, gardens &hospitals & schools, though those are also not enough in numbers is a fact. Once such DP is made by this commission then it will be handed to the concerned local bodies & they will execute it accordingly.

As I always say, affordable homes means good & effective infrastructure & developers can’t provide it! But right from media too Govt hold developers responsible for the prices of the flats where as the Govt can’t even a make DP of a city in time & execute it which is the key to affordable homes! Urbanization is reality & it’s like a growing kid which keeps on increasing in size with every passing day. And its growth is not going to stop for any DP; so how we want this kid get developed depends on our approach to this growth or else we will have a man out of a kid but without any developed brain & with all sorts of illness which will be burden & not asset for us!!


--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.
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