Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Hon CM & Smart City Named Pune!

“I love cities, and I love city governments in particular. But in politics it would have taken me 8 years from implementing a policy before I would get to see the feedback. With programming I could model the same policies and see the impact immediately. Technology is a far more efficient way to test”… Jack Dorsey

For those who are not on Twitter, Jack Dorsey is an American computer programmer and entrepreneur widely known as a co-founder and CEO of Twitter, and as the founder and CEO of Square, a mobile payments company. Why I remembered his quote is in last month Hon Chief Minister of our State has conducted a mega meeting of all the officials especially of Pune city related problems. Then immediately in span of some fifteen days Hon. CM has been called by a leading daily & a Nationalized Bank (though this bank is in news for all wrong reasons because of its MD itself) to guide about issues faced by real estate & affordable housing in Pune city! Both these CM’s open meetings got huge publicity as who’s who related to city civic issues & real estate issues had been present & lots of topics discussed. Hon CM played safe, just the way great Sunil Gawsakr used to play West Indies fast bowlers pace attack i.e. leaving everything out of the stump & playing strait with whatever comes in the line of stumps; no hurry to make runs but just to stay on the pitch! Many wont like this comparison but I deliberately waited till one month to pass & then write my views as let’s see what is the outcome of all those mega meetings!

So what CM’s meeting has achieved, rally speaking nothing as in the first place why we need a CM to solve our civic problems, is something I will like to ask & why we need a public addressing of real estate issues? The term “affordable housing” is such a joke now that even a five years old kid who has been reading news papers for last year can tell us the hitches in it & solutions, provided we want solutions. And then just ask ourselves which of the issues discussed in those so called meeting is latest & not known to our present CM. Because if I remember he must be knowing all the issues right from last decade as take Metro or Garbage Depot or Airport or our beloved DP or merging of surrounding 37 villages everything is age old problem this city is facing. Agreed the latest in queue is PMRDA (Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority) of which Hon Cm himself has become now Chairman or President whatever you call it! That’s another joke as earlier PMRDA’s leadership has been given to senior minister from the city who is guardian minister also of Pune district, replacing him means he wasn’t efficient! So with this law what next for CM, I won’t be amazed if tomorrow CM becomes Chairperson of some Ward committee at PMC level! Come on, you are  CM & you have entire State to look after along with Urban Development Department itself under your belt which controls PMRDA & every Town Planning or Urban development related policies! This is like CEO of a corporate company taking responsibility of some individual department like Sales or HR head, just because he doesn’t have faith in any other team mate or no one is capable in the team to do that!

Let’s look at few of CM’s statement or say announcements from these meeting, which has become head line of the news papers as below...

1.    Corruption under the name of Urban Land Ceiling harassment will be stopped.

2.  Every obstacle in the system delaying development will be removed.

3.  PMRDA will be allotted land for its financial support.

4.  Setting up a transparent online system so nobody would be required to go to any Govt office

5.  We can’t stop urbanization but we can manage it properly

6.  Regulator on real estate will be a boon for real estate developers

7.  We will have to set a scale to define affordable homes

8.  Lastly just wait for few days for approval of Pune city DP

Apart from this CM also commented on many issues like Metro & water supply but let’s analyze one by one of these major factors which gets highlighted by all news papers & everyone is so happy with the meeting that I have no doubt in next few days the city will be problem free!

Corruption under the name of Urban Land Ceiling harassment will be stopped…

ULC must be the darkest era in real estate under this act as so much corruption has happened & joke is the purpose for which the act came in life way back in 1972, that common man will get cheaper homes with this act, for the very same reason i.e. to make homes cheaper the said act was removed; “this can happen only in India”!   And once the act has abolished yet many govt departments especially revenue & UD, categorized the cases & tagged them NOC will be required, reason even a school going boy can tell! Well who has stopped any govt why just our present Hon CM, to make a notification with due clarification for Solicitor General, that no ULC clearance will be required by any department here after for any land! Or if you feel then make a policy & start implementing it! And what it means corruption under the name of ULC will be stopped, how?

Every obstacle in the system delaying the development will be removed…

Great statement for receiving applauds; but Sir right from height restriction  to TDR policy to PMRDA by-laws as well making funds available for PMRDA from the revenue received in the form of crores of rupees from the premiums’, what has happened to it? Why it has not been collected in a separate account for PMRDA development & not being used for the same? Who has stopped the govt doing so? Why hundreds of clarification seeking notes  sent by various departments are pending in Mantralay; even as simple things like compulsion of two staircases in buildings above just four storied structures has not being cleared?  Who has stopped proposals like merging of villages in neighboring municipal corporations as if you don’t want to merge then say so & make a plan for development of basic infrastructure in those villages? Because the residents in all these localities don’t care whether they are in PMC or PMRDA or Collectorete but they need roads, drainage, water, schools, hospitals; so who is stopping govt to do so?

PMRDA will be allotted lands at its disposal to support it financially...

Indeed this is great move so they can sale some lands & generate revenue but then which lands? As for that they will have to a Development Plan in place & with the speed of making DP’s of even established civic bodies like PMC & PCMC when will be PMRDA’s DP will get ready & when they can sale their so called land & then when the revenue will come & what till that time? Why a dead line has not been set for PMRDA DP & why the revenue right now they are generating isn’t being used for their support only?

Setting up a transparent system by virtue of which no one will require to go to the govt office for any permission...

Well, well, I am pessimistic but not so much to believe on this dream which Walt Disney also wouldn’t have dared to dream! With all due respect, sir please first take review of the simplest online or digital document like 7/12; it has failed miserably & reason is the people in the system don’t want that common man should get any document sitting in his house or else how their houses will run! Though I am a pakka Nagpurian as you are yet sorry if I am sounding like a Punekar but Sir, just like the Akbar Badshah used to move at nights in Delhi road by changing his attire, please try to get some online document like 7/12 or change of name in MSEB meter or a zone certificate or even try to put your name of a PMC tax certification by using some other name than Mr. Devendra Phadanavis, as then you will realize what dream you are trying to see or show to us! Online is the word provided take it step by step & monitor the outcome of all existing online certificates or NOC’s, make sure that they are being issued to the needy ones properly & then take next step!

We can’t stop urbanization but we can manage it properly…

True, we can’t stop urbanization because we can’t provide water, roads, schools, jobs equally to all parts of the State, is what you meant? Then something is seriously wrong as right now Urban Development is focusing only few cities why not create regions & try to balance the growth? It’s a mammoth task but it’s doable as do you think Pune, Nasik are like what they are today, some fifty years back? We have to try right from today for Vidarbha & Marthwada then may be if we are genuine in our efforts by next fifty years we won’t have to worry for Pune & Nasik like we are worrying today! But till then when we say we can manage that means provide basic infrastructure to existing urban population & make polices accordingly & make it fast before the cities explode under the load of migration!

Regulator on real estate will be a boon for the developers...

We all know any governing authority is an added burden or pain on real estate or any industry. And I am not saying this because I am a developer by myself but this is what history says. Look what happened to EC i.e. environment clearance, a simple thing could have been implementing all the necessary green parameters right at the level of sanctioning authority but it’s not done & today getting EC is difficult than building a building! With all due good intentions no sane builder will oppose any regulator provided the entire system is properly set first & then only implemented; as well it should be transparent & non partial towards any segment of the real estate.

We will have to define scale for affordable homes…

This is perfect but when & how? As you only mentioned in Mumbai even by spending Rs fifty lacs one can’t get a home; so it’s not amount of sale but its budget of a common home buyer is important. Time & again it’s been clarified by the planners that if we create a balanced necessary infrastructure of amenities essential for life all around & make more land under the residential zones with proper connectivity to the nearby big cities then people won’t mind moving in such locations. New Mumbai is a classic example though failure at start & even in later stage also as even that has become unaffordable now! It’s not just cost of home but its day to day expenditure a person has to make for his living which includes commuting to work & school as well health care, also matter & if we can minimize all such expenses, that is what will make a home affordable! So before deciding scale of affordable homes lets first understand concept of affordable homes Hon. CM Sir, is I will request!

Just wait for few days for finalization of Pune city DP… 

In our childhood days there was a mythological concept called “Bramhadewacha ek minute” i.e. One minute of God; it’s in reference of a story where God asked to one of the devotee to wait for one minute, but God’s one minute is equal to some thousand man years & the poor guys kept waiting for ever for the God to reappear, such was the story! I think here also the “few days” means few years as already the DP should have been ready by 2007, this is nearly 2017 & joke is nearly some eight months back UD took away DP from PMC saying it has been delayed by PMC & will be cleared in three months by a specially appointed committee by State Govt & till today we have to listen terms like “few days more now” for the DP!  And it’s not just publishing of DP but its implementation should also be monitored, so where is the system for that?

Apart from above aspects numbers of issues those needs attention which includes Metro along with strengthening of existing public transport system as well prolonged issue of Airport which is a must to make Pune real smart! We need to make a centralized transport system which will work not for just PMC or PCMC but entire jurisdiction of PMRDA & beyond as that’s the need of the entire Pune Metro now. Simultaneously what is future of water supply of all this Greater Pune & how we are going to manage it along with drainage & garbage type by products of urbanization, is equally important; and for that we don’t need to bother Hon CM every time but all these answers lies within us only!
Unfortunate fact is with literally no DP in place for nearly ten years yet the Pune Metro is growing & no one has any regrets & same is the situation whatever you call it in PMRDA or PCMC! Today the need is having a Regulator for entire Govt systems itself, related to real estate & not just for Developers! Hon CM sir we respect you for your sincere efforts as well intentions but do remember these two things needs support of a action plan with deadlines to follow, then only one can see the dream named “Affordable Homes” for this self proclaimed Smart Pune! So “All the Best” & assurance of every possible support from us for the same!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.


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