Saturday, October 10, 2015

Death of a Builder or Death of the Real Estate Industry!

Frds, sharing what I felt after going through the news of builder suraj parmar's suicide!..Do share this link with as many u can...


"One of the best lessons I learned early is that not everything in life is about you. It is about service. If you want trips and excessive gifts, then don't get into public service"...Sean Hannity.

Sean Patrick Hannity is an American radio and television host, author, and conservative political commentator. He is the host of The Sean Hannity Show, a nationally syndicated talk radio show that airs throughout the United States. Well I think what Sean is referring to is govt service as in USA public service means a govt job. I choose this quote as one news in yesterday’s paper made head line, Mr. Suraj Parmar, a middle aged builder from Thane shot himself i.e. suicide, an incidence which has shaken entire real estate industry. Many will say what’s big deal in it as in this country or more specifically State, hundreds of people make suicide every day so what’s special about it? Well it wasn’t any financial burden caused suicide nor any family affair; he shot himself leaving behind a eighteen page detailed letter describing reasons for his such drastic decision & its content of this letter is what makes the suicide special.  Again people do commit suicide with lengthy notes, entire rural part of the State is witnessing this in form of farmers suicides, in one recent case a farmer has wrote a suicide note in name of Hon CM itself, so this also isn’t something which we haven’t seen!

Then what’s special about Suraj’s suicide; it’s the reasons which he mentioned in his last note & it says he is frustrated or tiered fighting the system which governs real estate. Some may call it Govt or Politicians or Municipal Corporation or Urban Development or Revenue, the name “System” has many faces & like the infamous Medusa in Greek mythology, each this face is so deadly that one who looks in the eyes of the face gets dead that too slow & painful death! And trust me I am not dramatizing the scene; not long ago I have wrote an open letter to Hon Cm of State trying to explain realty of real estate & have specifically mentioned either people will have to quit the business or they will end up doing suicides; well I never thought my words would become a realty so early! Suraj was just 46 years old, same as my age & with business in good shape rather debt free as per his family claims which is a remarkable thing in this market. Usually when a person commits suicide in business then most common reason is financial losses which aren’t the case here, then what made a comparatively young builder to reach at such a tragic end? To understand this we will have to take a review of the situation currently real estate is in; that way right from farmers to many industries are in financial trouble & when we say any business or profession rather anything other than govt service which assures life long salary, this aspect is part of the game. And every entrepreneur knows risk factor in his profession rather failure here means loss in terms of money. So this aspect is not new to real estate & there had been many failure stories in past in real estate. Starting somewhere from seventies in Mumbai & Pune the real estate grew as one of the most money earning or spinning whatever you call industry in every major town & city of the State. Like jokingly its said city like Pune or Thane, every alternate person is either builder or related by some way or other with real estate such is the magnate of this industry in urban Maharashtra. Lands turned out to be gold mine & like the Chaplin’s famous Gold Rush movie every person wanted to become a builder or run for the piece of cake these gold mines were producing! Then there were others also who were in form of the system which in fact was supposed to govern the real estate. Earlier everything was going fine people were busing lands, building buildings by applying labors &  getting materials from the open market, plans were getting sanctioned duly & so were other NOC’s which were few, the policies regarding real estate were simple, terms like TDR were unheard of & the caste named politician was nowhere in picture.  Yet like the Einstein’s law, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can just change form; same is applicable to land, it can’t be created nor destroyed ( well it can but that another topic) but it just changes form. Means a land being used for forest of lake or hill can be converted in to residential, this need was arrived when the existing land started getting insufficient for the ever increasing demand of homes, thanks to policies of State govt which make more & more people leave their homes in villages & towns & rush towards cities for day to day survival. Obviously to accommodate this demand of homes the cities required to have more lands for building so called homes which are in demand.

It’s this need of more land is what start of degradation of real estate as this need got reflected in tremendous increase in land prices which in end reflected in the prices of the homes which we call flats! No more one could get a flat in terms of five digits but in cities like Mumbai & Thane it went in to eight digits i.e. crores. The builders’ community which ruled the real estate was new millionaires of the society & soon it was being seen in their life style; right from posh cars to diamond rings to swanky watches, richness was on display & could be seen by all. This obviously was not going to be unnoticed by the system which as I mentioned above has many faces in form of various departments of sanctioning as well policy making for real estate & of which elected members too are part of. Even in official capacity the govt also started looking at real estate as money cow & thought of squeezing it to the best by applying every known tax in form of premiums, levy, ses whatever you call it. And there is no rational thinking for applying these taxes as those who makes the policies or rules have never ever built a single home of four rooms by themselves. So each new day there comes a new policy making it impossible to work out what is exactly to be build on a land which one has acquired by going through hell!

Classic example is the day Suraj’s committed suicide, State govt come up with a policy which allowed every Municipality of the cities in State to charge 100% more premiums for new constructions & immediately implemented by all municipal corporations! Well the reason given was large quantity of infrastructure works which these cities needs will need huge funds! But then why 100% increase from new constructions only; why not increasing property tax of existing citizens as they are the one who also will be benefitting by this infrastructure; rather what about the lands which have been bought keeping in mind some budget of making the home on them? And we all know this game; even the revision in plans of existing building will also attract this provision making all the budgets go haywire of a project!  It’s such policies is what Suraj was referring in his last note & believe me it’s just one small example of reckless policy making of so called public servants, like Ice Glacier, the one seventh part is above surface , what lays below water is unfathomable!

Then comes the issue of corruption which Suraj has highlighted; this particular aspect is worst cancer to entire society & not just real estate but like there are types of cancers & blood cancer is considered as worst type, whatever has happened to real estate is blood cancer. Such is the depth of corruption here that you can’t do a single room construction without escaping from it, however legal it may be! First the rules & policies are made such that no one can make it remaining in rules & once you break the rule then your neck is in hands of the so called system which sucks your blood till you gets dry! Here I will give another killing example; all the buildings which are in progress needs a certificate named “plinth checking” in due course of construction. It means to check whether the work is going as per sanctioned plan before casting of the slab, the margins or distances from the adjoing plot boundaries have to be verified whether they are as per sanctioned plan. Once the concerned office from Municipal Corporation certifies this then the further work is allowed or else it’s supposed to be illegal & heavy fines are applied even if the plans are sanctioned till top floors & work is in tune with them. Now in first place this certificate can be given by the architect or in worst case if this called system wants it they can come any time & confirm the margins & certify the same. If the margins are not as per sanctioned drawing then they can ask to demolish the construction, it can be as simple as that! But no, as if it’s so simple then how they can suck the blood! The concerned officer gives n numbers of reasons not to come to site which includes he is on election duty to demolition duty to he is sick & as by the law the builder has either to wait & keep the entire work of site at hold or just ignore it & keep working & then pay whatever the officer demands, which can be anything even a flat in the project as now your neck is in his hands. And the wait isn’t of a week or two it can be months which the builder can’t afford as fund flow depends of construction speed as well he is committed to give possession in some prescribed time or else there again is breach of contract which may lead him behind the bar as per new housing law which this very system has made! And even if you mange one officer then comes the local politician or elected ward members whose karyakartas are keeping keen eye on every ongoing construction in their wars jurisdiction, just to check who is defaulting where. So their demands also comes in & then the officers above as to ignore what the junior officer has falsely certified about progress of work at site without obtaining plinth checking certificate! This is just one case right from loading of TDR to handing over of road widening area & getting its fsi, so many stages the work gets stuck that if one decides to go & play by rules as well the people who are supposed to follow those rules even a four storied building will take five to six years to get complete! It’s this system & corruption avenues Suraj must have got fade up & I don’t blame him as even I myself face it each day but yet my patience level isn’t reached to extreme or I am not as dare devil as Suraj to shoot myself!

It’s these so called systems which even US business bosses also warned about to our Hon PM in his recent trip to USA to promoting business in India. India is most difficult country to start any new business & problem is, here everybody wants money but without earning it. Being successful & to earn money in this country is a curse as now the so called keepers of the system have become so shameless or arrogant or greedy that they openly says while demanding money for their duty, saying, “so what, are you not going to make money out of this? These is price of my sign take it or leave it!”; it’s like robbing someone just because he has money & you don’t have it, as simple philosophy as it can be.

The coin has other side also & the sad part is there are businessmen who want this system the way it is as they don’t care a damn about the product or the end user but just make money out of it. And then an argument is always there that public servants are poorly paid so they tend to demand money in the line of duty. Agreed there has to be even pay system depending on the work load involved yet this argument is  baseless because when you join a govt service you know exactly at what salary & perks you will be working for & nobody force you to join a govt service. Rather it’s the security & protection the service offers which makes the people in the system to dare such acts of demanding ransom for just signing the papers which is part of their duty. And on top of it the nexus with the rulers makes the things worst for not just the businessmen but even for common man. As per the statistics by ACB i.e. anti corruption department, they have caught some six hundred odd officers at different levels in last year & out of that only some, one fifty got suspended & rest all are still very much part of the system & who is paying for their deeds but each of us!

Yesterday it were farmers, today its one Suraj Parmar & tomorrow it may be even Tatas & Ambanis who will commit suicides; though the path Suraj has chosen can be debated as no logic can justify a suicide yet some where you push an individual to such a extent that for him to get rid of all the troubles is to end himself. Because here a sane person has killed himself by writing an eighteen page note mentioning exact reasons for killing self! 
I am not an expert or authority on subject of corruption but issue is not corruption in first place, it’s the policies which opens up avenues for corruption as being corrupt is an attitude of an individual & that is seen in private sector also; take above example of plinth checking where concern officer don't visit site & waits for builders patience to end so he succumb to his demands!! We need a system which won’t give room to an individual to be corrupt; I think our demands & actions should be making that how that system comes in place!! And even after that someone gets corrupt then d same system should fix him up n punish till end!

What the Govt (if it feels it really wants to curb corruption then only) should do is first make a core committee for each front of real estate like PMC dc rules, Regional Plan, PMRDA, PCMC, MSEB & Revenue; then make a detailed study of pointing loop holes in every such authority, make suggestions to improve it so no one can use it for corruption & then put that report along with possibilities n cases of corruption due to such rules/ policies. And most important involve professions of respective fields in the said such committees. Let’s not forget we are fighting a war against deep rooted cancer & treatment is in form of the solution which isn't going to come by emotions! Then only we can say Suraj's suicide hasn’t gone in vain or else he may be first but sure won’t be last!

Suraj like a doctor has left a diagnosis of the disease named corruption to not just real estate but entire society, it’s up to us whether to get awake & start the treatment is one way & to turn a blind eye is other way. It’s high time that to make a system which will seal avenues of corruption & kill the attitude of corruption or else there will be no business left but who cares if not you & me!

Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

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  1. Who cares for CUSTOMERS s i was forced to qut the project when i demanded by rights & even todaythe builder acts like a HITLER ISM and even DENIES NOC IN SECOND RESALE Who is responsible In solidarity Jai Hind They are all white collar sharks


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