Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Three Years of Team CM & Real Estate!

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government”…  Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. He later served as the third President of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Many of his quotes have become famous especially those which are commenting up on government rather its personalities like Jefferson who give meaning to the term government & on occasion of completing three years of our ruling government in Maharashtra, what better than his words I could have used! That way three years is very short span but then in our democracy every government gets five years only to prove their worth as these five years decide whether the same govt or new one will come in power & then suddenly three years seems a pretty big time span to perform. These are the days of marketing & who better than the govt itself needs marketing as our rulers’ does think we the voters are so dumb that we need to be told via every media, what our “Mai Baap Sarkar” has done for us (read for our better living). I think does it not a failure itself that if any visible change in life is there then it’s to be experienced & felt & not to be told via full page advertises in news paper, is what a smart common man will think! But then smart common man is endangered species in our society, is what our rulers thinks & they keep on bombarding us with advertises of the achievements of the govt by every possible means. Here again there are two sides of coin every ruling party’s minister or elected member will go on counting the list of good things done by the govt in these years at the same time every opposition party’s member will go on listing wrong doings the very govt has done. And then the new funda is asking celebrities in every field of society to ask what’s their opinion is about the govt & depending up on the position of that celebrity his or her version of govt’s performance changes. Mostly everybody speaks good or sugar coated criticism as no one wants to rub the ruling govt on wrong side especially when the names are from business fraternity & when its real estate then govt is always right is the first rule of the business & second rule of real estate is never forget the first rule!

And then anyways Punekar’s are famous for criticizing anything even if it good as well whenever asked to judge performance of someone we usually starts with what is wrong or what’s bad about the person, so I will start with good or positive things by the Hon CM & his team for our city (read for real estate in nut shell). First & foremost let’s understand that we live in an urban area when we consider Pune (PMC, Pimpri Chinchwad (PCMC) & PMRDA & both the depts’ which controls life in the city are, Urban Development i.e. UD & Home, which for common man is police & both these depts. Are directly headed by none other than CM. Obvious CM also knows importance of his role so he is Chief of PMRDA as it’s this region or area where maximum development is happening. So let’s have a look about pluses of team CM & main thing is CM finally cleared the DP i.e. development plan of PMC which was lingering nearly for ten years without any decision by earlier govt. Many won’t understand importance of this step but let’s imagine you have been asked to build a building but without any plan or drawings, will be able to build it & even if you do will that building will ever serve the purpose which was in your mind? Well, DP is like plan of the city& PMC is the person which is supposed to build that building, so imagine what would be future of this city without a proper plan in place! And full marks to CM for making the DP through, though there has been some gray areas like Biodiversity park on hill tops as well flood lines of rivers flowing through city yet we have something to work on is a fact. Then the formation of PMRDA itself is biggest step which CM did & not just formation but to make it in functioning also was possible only because of CM’s persistence because PMRDA covers nearly every land out of PMC & PCMC limit which surrounds PMC & PCMC making it most sought after location for real estate development & only hope for common man’s dream of owning home in & around Pune. Then there was follow-up for Metro & starting the groundwork of Metro happened in these three years which was one thing at the top of long pending wish list for Pune. Most important decision was taking lead for finalizing airport location & start working on the actual acquisition for the same, this is going to make a long term impact on entire Pune regions development as main drawback for so many years to make Pune on international map is we don’t have direct connectivity to most cities in the world. If airport gets completed in coming years then this one job itself will be enough as feather in the cap of Hon CM! Another contribution by CM’s team which went unnoticed though it is vital for Pune’s development is appointing young team of IAS officers at key positions like PMRDA as well PMPML, especially the later one. Let’s understand Metro is not going to solve the traffic problems of the city, PMPML i.e. PMT is the only master key for that & by appointing full time officer like Tukaram Mundhe at PMPML, CM sent a message that he is keen to strengthen public transport of city.

Then there were many decisions on the fronts of revenue as well UD which are vital for entire real estate, to name a few, allowing agriculture land over 20 acres area to residential at local level which was earlier a big headache to change the zone as well needed to go to Mantralay. This has helped to open up huge land bank which is like raw material for real estate. Also in PMC/PCMC limit there is no need to take separate NA permission from Collector was one demand of real estate from long which has been accepted & the GR has been issue about same. One thing is sure this govt understand importance of real estate’s role in development of the city but…

Let’s now see the “but side” of the coin named achievements in three years by CM’s team on city as well real estate front. Real estate is going through probably darkest patch & though GST, RERA, Demonetization are the reasons given by many but I personally feel it’s the poor marketing of all the real estate related policies which has driven away the investors as well real buyers from the market. At the same time its poor execution at local level of all good decisions which were taken by the Hon CM’s team, I think is the main cause of degradation of the entire real estate in city. Those who won’t like my conclusion then let’s analyze the scene on city’s infrastructure as well real estate governing bodies.

First of all the DP has been cleared but there has been many lacuna’s like no clear decision about Metro corridor development TDR  related issues i.e. premiums & consumption of such TDR, thus making entire central city’s development at hold as Metro route  covers most part of city. Also there is issue of deciding premium for paid FSI which State Govt wants 50% of revenue generated out of it & PMC isn’t ready to give it, the result is now the charges of paid FSI has been made 100%, means equal to prevailing land rate wherever such paid FSI will be utilized. It’s the joke as why someone will then buy such paid FSI if it’s at the cost of land itself & then how we are going to make homes affordable as if State Govt & PMC both wants to have their share from the development, just like a land lord! Then the DP has been finalized but no control on its execution as we have been declared as Smart City but the so called Smart suburb i.e. Baner, also is being deprived from basic things like water supply & roads. As a boss of UD there isn’t any move about giving targets to the local authorities for developing reservations as that’s need of the city as well citizens. There has to be a team at State level which will periodically monitor the execution of DP’s of not just Pune but of every major city in State. Civic infrastructure right from education to public health is a grave issue for a fast growing city like Pune & before the city buckles under the pressure of its own growth, CM has to act about it. Take example failed BRTS or of garbage depot, years came & went but we are unable to find the solution for place of new garbage depot neither satisfy residents of existing garbage depot’s surrounding village of Fursungi, making them every alternate month holding entire garbage collection of the city! On police front, we need better infrastructure for police force in the form of man power as well space & equipments for this man power. Creating a separate Police Commissionorete for PCMC is one long pending topic which is a must considering the growth of this area! As no city can be considered as Smart if it doesn’t have law & order in place!

With due respect to PMRDA’s functioning, biggest lacuna is in micro development of infrastructure fronts like roads, as right now everyone is clueless about who, when & how will be making the roads, right from the regional plan roads to internal roads. As presently the residents in most of PMRDA region are commuting to their homes literally “Ram Bharose” i.e. at the “Mercy of God”, in desi language!Things like water & other civic amenities will follow or water can be bought by tanker for time being (though water supply is grave aspect of future which needs to be addressed right from now) but why the roads are not being done, nobody can answer this aspect & Hon CM must look in to this aspect. Because even if after paying hefty premiums to the govt under the name of development charges, yet if the govt is not providing facilities as basic as roads, what’s the use of having govt in first place? Same is about announcement like, no need of getting NA order from Collector office when the project lays in the jurisdiction of sanctioning authority such as PMC or PCMC.  Indeed great moves to save the time delays as well ease of doing business for real estate but the said announcement seems to have gone to deaf ears as till now the rounds of Collector office for NA under the name of challan are on for the developers! Same is with fast track sanctions type announcements at various organizations, even the Single Window clearance is also a phrase & digitalization of 7/12 has failed miserably making developers surrender to Demy God named Talathi! And then there is cancer of illegal construction which is literally killing every town & city & all that govt (read UD) does is, regularize illegal construction up to latest possible date!

Lastly millions of people need their own home is a fact & let our “Mai Baap govt” understand that, to make their dream of affordable home possible first this home should be affordable to the builders as then only production of such homes will be a reality! This wish list for real estate can go on & on, though one thing is sure no one doubts CM’s sincerity & efforts yet the fact is, at the end like a studious student getting full marks in theory but failing in practical, thus final result of this Govt for first three years on the front of real estate is fail only! Let’s hope the course has two more years to complete & our student will improve & will be better in practical also, all best wishes for that is what I will say to conclude!

Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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