Tuesday, January 3, 2017

PMRDA's Mission Home for One Crore !!



“You can spend the money on new housing for needy people and the homeless, or you can spend it on a football stadium or a golf course”… Jello Biafra


Jello Biafra is the former lead singer and songwriter for San Francisco punk rock band Dead Kennedys, and is currently a musician and spoken word artist. Politically, Biafra is a member of the Green Party of the United States and actively supports various political causes. He is a staunch believer in a free society, who utilizes shock value and advocates direct action and pranksterism in the name of political causes. I remembered his above quote when my veteran reporter friend Sunil Mali asked me to share my views for Sakal News Paper's Wardhapn Din edition about Pune Region’s housing need for its proposed population which soon will be touching to 10 million i.e. one core in our Desi language! Somehow the term million doesn't excite we Indians, yes its figures in lacs & crores which makes us interested! Though there is one more terminology about lac & crore which I will revel at end of my sharing! With Pune & Pimpri Chinchwad, more commonly known as PMC & PCMC together we are already approximately fifty plus lacs & what we are speaking about one crore is Pune region barring these two Municipal limits, which it will reach by 2025. And that means we are talking about nearly twenty five lac homes which this one crore population will need!

As Jello has said it’s the needy people’s housing which should be focus of urban planning & not just mega projects like Metro or Ring Roads! I personally feel a city should make people at peace & be energetic with their positive vibes & that may be a bit vague target to achieve but all we need is little bit understanding of people’s needs & their life style. One can be at peace in a city by cohesive effect of physical as well social infrastructure i.e. things which I mentioned above like roads, water supply & then right from gardens to play grounds to cultural platforms as they too count most if you want to make citizens at peace. And social outings are the best outlets for citizens’ positive energy, look at Paris, Mother of Arts & not just a tourist place! Most importantly the city should offer its infrastructure to every citizen in equality & not just by his or her paying capacity or status!

So let’s see where we stand on all these aspects & expectations, as I remember my first exposure to dear Pune way back in 86, as a young boy from rural of Vidarbha I got down by Maharashtra Express on a rainy morning at Pune station. For me then also everything was like from story of Gulliver’s voyages i.e. journey to an island where every scale is ten times bigger. Have never seen so big railway stations as my home town has just one platform & a single rail with three coaches connects us to main line. What was more amazing that I haven’t sat in an auto rickshaw as then still in most towns of Vidarbha its man driven rickshaws which were common. But then there were tangaus too i.e. horse cart as well double bus which is called as “Joad Bus”. Since then I became a Punkear as major part of my life has spent here only.And why me every young boy graduated from rest of Maharashtra want to get education in Pune & settle down here; even youngsters from other States also aspire same thing! Its fine as we consider this as development or progress but with sudden rise on education facilities as well jobs in Pune region the next question is whether Pune region has enough homes to accommodate all these new migrants? When I say homes it’s not just buildings but homes with basic needs & affordable also to all those who wants to set foot in this city! Since 2000, the city saw rise to new specie i.e. IT’ans, & all thinks money is in ample to IT industry jobs which isn’t true anymore. Ample may be a right term in compare to other industries but the so called progress has also raised expense bar on every front for the resident in Pune region. Right from fuel costs which are huge, thanks to poor public transport to education, health care, entertainment, everything costs here. Gone are the morning show Rs 5 tickets’ of movies, now a family going to movie has to shell out minimum thousand rupees for a movie outing is a fact. And balancing this life style you have to match EMI’s of home loans & that takes out peace of mind for most of the youngsters!

On this background the biggest challenge in front of PMRDA authorities is & will be to take care of this housing need of the citizens of Pune while the city keeps growing. I said deliberately PMRDA as PMC & most part of PCMC has been saturated now with hardly any space for new development & again thanks to ever changing policies of Urban Development, redevelopment is crippled under the rules like TDR use, Height & Parking restrictions as well double staircases etc. So with nearly 7000sq km area under the belt out of which approx 3200 sq km is devlopable, PMRDA is the only hope now for home aspiring migrants in Pune region & it’s this region which is supposed to reach mark of one crore population by 2025 i.e. hardly 8-9 years from now! And why PMRDA, because it has every potential to accommodate this population as out of developble 3200sq km land, even if we consider utilizing by urban planning norms even 40% for residential development then we are talking of nearly 1200 sq km area which is three times that of PMC’s spread & we can expect nearly 1500crore sq ft build-able FSI, which makes nearly 2 crore homes of 800sft area! Though it’s not that easy as it looks so let’s look at the approach of PMRDA to handle this volume or say the steps they need to take. One more reason is land prices in Pune region are nearly one third of land prices in PMC or PCMC suburbs so that makes Pune region most sought after for real estate or housing!

First & foremost is making a detailed Development Plan of Pune region which will define not just residential area but everything related to development of Pune region i.e. right from road network to essential services like water supply, garbage depots to recreation facilities, education, public health & work zones. The very same region has many existing industries scattered all around for e.g. Chakan, Kurkumbh, Ranjangon & many such, so keeping their status in mind PMRDA will have to plan residences around the same. Most important factor about planning homes in Pune region is maximum number of migrants are in this region because of their jobs so connectivity to respective work places may it be IT industry or Auto industry is the major aspect of planning.
The road network is going to play a major factor in fulfilling need of these 25 lac homes. As right now the only reason of unavailability of homes is thousands of hectors of land is laying unutilized due to non accessibility even the zone as per town planning was residential. Till now the planning authority for Pune region was town planning but they haven’t done micro planning of the same. Town planning has made regional plan i.e. RP but it features only major roads which are planned on the existing Shiv roads (long existing roads on the boundary of two villages). Another limitation was RP doesn’t have any provision for cluster development supported by essential services, means it can just sanction projects as residential or industrial. There wasn’t even provision or capacity with the town planning to develop even the amenity spaces which were mandatory for any plan on area more than 4000sq m. Outcome was all we could have is just buildings with literally no infrastructure or amenities other than internal i.e. whatever the developer provides within the project.  Then one major problem with RP was it doesn’t have any acquisition policy like giving TDR if the landlord surrenders his land reserved for any purpose other than residential or commercial development & that’s the reason till now no road network or any essential facility hasn’t been developed in Pune region for last decade! With PMRDA DP all these lands will be connected not only to nearby work places but even with PMC & PCMC via the proposed ring road which covers entire Pune Region. This road also has provision of Metro along with it & together this project can help solving housing problem for millions of aspirants. First thing it joins literally every major development existing & proposed in Pune region & connects all the major National as well State highways approaching to Pune.

Challenge is considering the huge spread of Pune region, PMRDA will require equally big set up which includes staff as well machinery for their own effective functioning to fulfill target of so many homes. Here one strong point of PMRDA in comparison to town planning is it has funds which are being collected against the premiums & development charges for sanctioning of these very housing projects. Planning is this money can be utilized for setup of PMRDA as well execution of projects like ring road. Also PMRDA can use paid FSI type money generating policies for their set up along with allowing developing reservation lands to private developers in lieu of premiums. At the same time it can join hands with local developers or private players for internal road development or water supply scheme projects. Already one such non-profit making company has been formed for water supply & road developments in Mulshi zone; it covers Sus, Bhugaon, Pirangut, Man villages. Because as I have said earlier you can expect just to give sanctions to residential projects without having back up of essential services like road, water & drainage. One important aspect while making DP of Pune region is to balance residential area with agriculture area; as at present Pune’s need of vegetables’ is being fulfilled by the farming in lands spread in & around Pune, so we need to conserve them along with biodiversity in form of forest lands.

So the stage for accommodating one crore population has been set by PMRDA, now all depends on how fast they make their DP & more importantly our Mai Baap State Gov the Urban development Dept clears the same! And then come implementing the said DP as looking at history of PMC & PCMC, I hope PMRDA must have learnt their lesson already! Or else whatever today we are calling as growth won’t take time to get called as swelling!

-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 

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2 comments:

  1. All points put forwarded very nicely, strongly agree with this, Thank you for sharing
    Gauri Bhagat
    gauri.gsb@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Sir,
    Its very nice blog,
    Can you please highlight Mhalunge future, will it come in PMRDA

    shrini.kalamkar@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

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Sanjay