Friday, July 27, 2018

Environment Report, Reloaded!






“Unfortunately our progress is measured by the speed at which we destroy the environment around our so called developed life style.”  George Monbiot.

George Joshua Richard Monbiot is a British writer known for his environmental, political activism. He writes a weekly column for The Guardian, and is the author of a number of books & I am sure none has been read by our rulers as we believe in “Swadeshi” so even the “Videshi” knowledge is also taboo for us or else such powerful words by Monbit would have been start of the so called “Environment Report” (ER) by our local bodies (read PMC & PCMC). Every years month of July we have a farce named ER which is like a ritual of Pandharpur Wari & it has to be completed in predefined mannered by all the concerned with ER. Like the administration which prepares ER gives all sorts of statistics about Population, Vehicles, Migrants in the city, Flora & Fauna in the city & many such in this ER. And our rulers (read elected members) don’t even take any effort to go through this report but gives statement to the press that this is repeat of last year’s ER & is nothing but a cut paste report. Yet eventually the General Body (all elected members) pass the ER as it is! Joke is the ER is produced right after World Environment Day ie 5th June, so this year also the yearly ritual completed happily & the progress of the city continues on the dead body of environment of the city! It’s like just the way Hollywood hit movie franchisees does i.e. naming it reloaded for the sequel i.e. Matrix Reloaded, on same line its Environment Report Reloaded!

What I wonder is all these so called elected members which actually are representation of the Pune’s citizens (PCMC for Pimpri Chinchwad) are smart or fast enough to give bite to the media immediately about “Cut Paste” ER or repeating last year’s statistics in ER but conveniently forgets their own Cut Paste behavior throughout the year on the environment aspect of the city! And beauty is on this front all political parties display same attitude as well yesterday’s ruling party may be today’s opposition party but the approach (read ignorance) towards the environment conservation is same! Or else who is supposed to change the figures in ER which are indication of degradation of nature, environment, bio-diversity & quality of life in this city but not our own elected members! I have never come across a news in media that some elected member (read Mananiya) carrying ER copy with him or her all the way home & going back to his ward (read constituency) & explaining importance of ER to his ward’s residents as well trying to make them aware about their role in making a bit positive ER which means better environment for all! As then only the figures in the ER will change regarding the pollution levels of air or river water quality will become better or we can see birds like mainas, sparrows or bulbuls instead crows & kites hovering all day long on garbage & filth around!

Now coming back to the Environment Report i.e. ER & its outcome, I think high time the importance should be given to the ER’s findings as well the action plan & fixing responsibilities for the same! What’s most important is what has been done with the last years ER & what has not been done, that also must be covered in the ER & who is supposed to do what, for the environment conservation in the city! As then only we can have some hope to conserve whatever little environment has been left in this city! The problem is we are so engrossed in our revenues & for that we give importance to only to those aspects of planning i.e. FSI, TDR & TOD i.e. more FSI for making Metro like proposal feasible. Indeed these terms are important but then what’s use of all this FSI if the city won’t remain livable, is the question we need to ask first! Interestingly this year’s ER mentions a figure of migrants to the city (though I wonder how it’s been worked out) i.e. the population (of-course that of human beings) coming in this city for various purposes has been slightly decreased first time in last few years! Typical Punekar will say, good at least there will be less crowd but its alarming as people come here from all the corners of the State & even country for work as well education & it’s these people who helps in increasing creating trade in the city as well contributes for revenue generation for the city. And do mind thousands of people have chosen this city as their home because the city offered good culture as well good environment too. But seems we are killing both as going by the news papers headlines slowly the city is turning as criminal hub of the State with every sort of crime happening in day light & on streets, damaging its social life. And on other hand going by the ER outcome the city seems going to worst from bad as it says there are 3.6 millions of vehicles for population of 3.4 millions (I am sure out of PMC passing vehicles have not been considered here) mean public transport has gone to dogs! Everyone is busy in printing progress of Metro but it’s just few routes, the city needs cohesive net work of bus service which is the only solution to protect environment from exhausts of these millions of vehicles is something a five year kid will tell but our rulers are blind & deaf by choice on public transport front! Instead what we get to see is poorest net work of public transport with nearly hundreds of busses are out of service & offering no solace to the commuters even when they are ready to pay for the service! The very same rulers who condemns ER for cut paste report hardly bothers for making PMT operational at its best but are busy to make the roads in their wards concrete! And the civic body’s administration is busy in building more roads, flyovers & making DC rules to accommodate more vehicles by increasing parking norms! 

If this is not enough then under the name of development we cut the trees as well we pollute our rivers which are homes to millions of species like birds, butterflies, squirrels & such, which were pride of the city for years. Then we claim we have made hundred gardens in the city but it’s like applying bernol on some patch of the body when entire body has sustained burnt injuries due to fire named! The Environment Report mentions that biodiversity of the city is fast decreasing with only twenty to thirty species of the birds have been left as citizens of this city, a figure which was nearly two hundred plus, just a decade back! But then who cares, as birds or butterflies doesn’t pay for premiums or paid FSI or can’t buy TDR for their homes neither they can pay property taxes to the city for their homes here so better such citizens get off from the city, is what our rulers must be thinking & unfortunate that the citizens also thinks on same lines or else they would have raise their voice on for the birds or butterflies migrating away from the city the way they shouts demanding affordable homes for humans, which indeed are equally important!

Well, I am in no way against development or Metro or flyovers or new roads or TDR or FSI but can’t we balance environment along with all this? As this is what ER is supposed to do as per my small brain is what I feel which eventually isn’t happening. All over the world people are trying to focus environment as their core of urban planning but we are going exactly opposite of this concept. As we have introduced Green Building norms & there are rating systems like Griha or ECBC to promote environment conservation in our development (read constructions of all sorts) but then ER doesn’t have mention of how many new buildings has got green ratings in last year as that will show our ugly & true face of eco friendliness! The problem with these green rating systems is nobody loves them, with due respect I am making the statement as this is something which no one will admit in public but ask any developer who is doing green rated buildings & the grind he has to go through to get the rating as well to avail the so called reimbursement on premiums as well development charges paid which are peanuts in comparison to the expenses made in making the green building! And here the society is equally to be at blame as the home buyers are ready to shell out some extra buck for swimming pool as well club house but not for the solar or drainage treatment plants given by the builder! And then these very residents of such luxurious projects which are celebrity citizens of the city will cry foul over the degration of the environment of the city; such hypocrites we are, really pathetic!
Anyways, despite all above facts one silver lining to the fast graying environment scene is at least Environment Report episodes are running as somewhere someone will (read hopefully) take cognizance of it & try to change the course. It is will take a Herculean effort because with all glossy pictures & efforts yet ER doesn’t fail to show us what lies ahead of us. The city environment is on down fall & the road ahead is getting steeper but making the 360 degree turnaround difficult by every passing day. 

The real estate industry must do something on environment front as it will be the first which will get hit worst if the city doesn’t remain livable. Create pressure groups, work along with NGO’s, make your voice reach on every possible forum but save environment of the city as their lies the real “Achhe Din” for real estate & for that all one is required to have is will to save environment! Or today just birds are leaving the city but tomorrow even human beings will be required to leave this city & then on that day there still will be Environment Report but the Environment would have been gone forever!
-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U-Tube link below..



Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
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Monday, July 16, 2018

TDR, Paid FSI, Real Estate & City!






“If you understood the plan of your government, which means it is a policy or if you don't it means it is politics.”… Rashid Jorvee.

Rashid Jorvee is a blogger & obviously very much from our country India as whom else can write about our govt’s policies in so crisp words! His above words are probably the best criticism (sorry but that’s what my take is) about the way our govt works & no, I am not against or for any govt (read political party) & fortunately we have not yet reached to situation in which our neighboring countries are, when it comes to freedom of blogging; that’s why Rashid can write such words for govt & I can use them in admiration! No wonder I recalled Rashid’s words about policies when I read recent headlines about our Maharashtra State for making it at 13th number (read rank) on “Ease of Doing Business” front, amongst all the States in the country. Surely this is something not of pride for the State, which holds financial capitol of the country i.e. “Aamchi Mumbai’! At the same time there was one more news, about the infamous word of real estate TDR, the “Mai Baap Govt’ (read State govt) is thinking of deciding the buying or sailing rates of TDR. For those lucky souls who are unaware of TDR i.e. Transfer of Development Rights, is a notional figure indication the sq ft area given to the land lord against acquiring his land for reservation purpose. This is technical definition of TDR but in simple words when local body which in Pune’s case is PMC i.e. Pune Municipal Corporation makes development plan (DP) of the city, makes provision for various public utility purposes like garden, schools, roads, bus stations & many such. And obvious that if these lands are to be bought at market rate then there won’t be no money left with PMC for actually building all above mentioned public serving utilities & many such; so PMC gives TDR of such lands to the land owners whose lands comes under reservation in lieu of which he or she will hand over the land to PMC & sale this TDR in market ( read builders) & they can use this TDR (figure in sq ft area) on their other projects where lands is marked for residential purpose.  In a way the TDR is very noble & effective concept till very recent & got failed only because of the as usual confused policy making of govt causing impact on not just real estate but entire city’s development of infrastructure which is on dying verge is a fact! 

And that’s how TDR became key word for real estate of city as it’s directly related to the building potential of any land changing entire financials of the project. For years people (read all the segments related to TDR including PMC) made money on TDR trading rather terminologies like “TDR Lobby” came in existence to describe the personalities who holds major chunk of TDR or reservation lands. As usual like any commodity which generates money, attracts bad elements & TDR also wasn’t exception to this law. And in addition to the same the ever changing policies of the govt regarding utilization of this TDR along with the tedious procedures involved in generating TDR assured that the key to TDR remains in fewer hands! For years this was going smoothly until the entire real estate’s equations started changing as last three four years had not been good to real estate is naked truth. Here when I say "not good" for real estate means mostly for the builders or for those who looks at real estate just as milking cow! It’s been wonderful for the end users i.e. home buyers as prices are steady rather lowered in many cases & more options are available & the flat price war has reached to its peak just the way we experienced in mobile data plans! This is bound to reflect on prices of TDR which in a way is parasite entity while building. Many won’t like it but what is a parasite but an entity which survives on some other tree or body; just the same way TDR survives only on some other land with residential potential!

And then thanks to the ever changing polices of TDR utilization i.e. right from categorizing TDR to allowing its use on different plots to premiums for utilizing TDR, nothing   is simple! First when TDR concept started it has been categorized in three zones i.e. A, B & C, depending upon proximity to city center. Also there was categories in TDR is generated by slum development & all other types of TDR which gets generated by acquiring reservation lands, god know logic behind this again! And maximum for few years was 0.8 times of net plot area which got on 0.4 (don’t ask why) & again was raised to 0.6 time of net plot area. Here also 0.2 out of this was supposed to be of slum TDR & rest others. And in A zone, that’s central part of city, no TDR utilization was permissible, again a grave mistake! Though the TDR generated by A zone reservations was allowed in B or C zone. This concept was for decongestion of development from center of city which was washed away soon, as by present policy all along the so called Metro corridor which mostly is going through city center will be showered with nearly 4 FSI to support Metro commuting population i.e. users of Metro! Now, don’t ask where logic of decongestion of city is gone, as we don’t ask such questions to “Mai Baap” govt! Then by recent modifications for land acquisition in city areas compensation has been doubled for the lands getting acquired for reservations. Obviously TDR also got doubled as it’s in a way compensation for the land to the land lords this has doubled the generation of TDR. Concept was the landowner will get double compensation so they will willingly hand over the land. Again a failed logic (read policy) as this is ok if the compensation is in hard cash (read money form) but as govt doubled the TDR as compensation, the rates of TDR in open market came down with more supply than demand & at many places has gone even below ready reckoner values of the lands. So more & more people (read land lords) owning lands with reservation are asking compensation in form of currency of which PMC is short of! Then come the final blow i.e. “Paid FSI’, by virtue of which instead land lords getting money PMC itself started giving more FSI to the developers by making FSI available with payment in proportion to respective land rates. Now with paid FSI, Metro corridor FSI competing TDR as well double compensation applicable even when paid in cash, who will buy TDR!

And then the most important issue regarding TDR was the way it’s supposed to be utilized, as long back in 80”s movies the villain used to tell his assistants, “ise liquid oxygen me daal do, liquid ise jine nahi dega aur oxygen ise marane nahi dega”!  The dialogue was so funny rather than a threat it became a joke but in case of TDR it’s true that you will get the satisfaction of having the TDR but the rules are set such that you won’t be able to use it! Right from height restriction to access road width to parking norms to plot size, so many complexities are there that I wonder in how many cases the TDR really can be used to fullest potential (if bought in first place) as in following all the rules the planning has become a chaos is a bitter truth. As have a look at the Prabhat Road type areas which were green some decades back & now it the zest of utilizing TDR potential ( land potential) every square inch space has been utilized leaving no space for trees or water seeping in ground. And then the planning authorities forgot that you can give TDR as much you want but the land (read space) available to consume this TDR is limited & unless we increase the land for consuming TDR all we will end up is creating concrete jungles, problems of which we are already facing. As this concrete jungle came with traffic jams, water clogging, temperature rise & what not but again who cares as we care for TDR more than anything else!

The main question is, with all this TDR, paid FSI, Metro FSI, has the city generated enough funds by which the civic infrastructure has been strengthened? Answer is, we are in much better shape than other cities but that doesn’t mean we are good! We are just lucky to survive as every day the city is buckling under the pressure of increasing population & new buildings which are a must to accumulate the population (and I am referring to legal buildings only) & the civic demands like water, transport, drainage, electricity & many such which comes along with the population! And we are short of funds, that too in huge quantity & more & more people are asking for money instead of TDR; so, clearly the TDR concept is failing & if we don’t do something radical in time (read positive) then very soon the Smart City will turn in to Sad City!

Need of the time is make a uniform policy about paid FSI or TDR & make it realistic instead playing with the words. First & most important create or generate  new lands to utilize this so called virtual development potential (read TDR or paid FSI) as here we waste decades just to merge few villages in PMC where as these new added areas are really the TDR consuming grounds having huge potential. The citizens need homes & at affordable price, which is only possible in villages (actually they are step suburbs like step sons in the family) adjoining to PMC limits. Make these villages part of PMC as fast you can & then allow maximum TDR to consume here at lesser premium. The problem with govt is it wants to have the cake & eat it too; means govt wants affordable homes along with money for infrastructure development but at the same time govt wants to earn money out of TDR by every possible way, defeating the very purpose of it! As it’s a vicious circle, govt don’t have money to buy reservation land so it gives TDR. But the very govt wants money out of consumption of this TDR making the utilization of TDR unviable for the developers so there are no takers for TDR resulting rates of TDR dropping low & so the land lords don’t want TDR but money for their land, which govt don’t have & in the ends city infrastructure remains weak making citizens to suffer! The main reason is the lands where TDR can be used are not salable lands as per the developers as these lands doesn’t have infrastructure like roads, water, public transport; so first let the govt (PMC) focus on curtailing the useless expenses like concerting existing roads in city center & use that money to build basic roads in step suburbs as then people will be ready to move in those locations, so will be the developers. 

Finally, high time for our “Mai Baap Govt” to understand one basic truth, you can sale dreams under the names like TDR or Paid FSI, but you can’t make people to live by just dreams! Dreams are converted in to reality only by realistic policies or else all what remains is politics (read politicians), which we are never short of!

Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U-Tube link below..



Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
 (Click the links below)



http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

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Monday, July 9, 2018

Hon DG Sir, Sharing of a Common Man!





“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because some rough men with badge stand ready to face violence on their behalf.”...  George Orwell.

Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic whose work is marked by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism and outspoken support of democratic socialism. Though going by present scene, Orwell’s above words many of our countrymen won’t agree with as read any news paper & most of the time men with the badge make for the wrong reasons only! Either the news is about police making innocent people victim or unnecessary use of muscle power while interrogation or some cop getting caught for accepting bribe for not filing FIR (a key word for policing i.e. first investigation report) & if not least then some constable’s suicide due to work pressure. Interesting isn’t it as on one side police dept’s communication or dialogue with society (read common man) is hailed by most & on other side police dept is said to be under extreme work pressure (read political as well media pressure) as well less man power & poor infrastructure which includes inadequate funding for police force to below par housing provisions! Something somewhere is going terribly wrong with police dept if not with men but the system we call police, isn’t it the outcome any wise man can make out from all such scene? And it’s unfortunate that it’s the wise men which are most endangered species especially in the jungle named govt & on all such background we have got a new Director General of Police (read DG) which many believes is from the endangered species i.e. wise! Not just DG but one more such man has taken the responsibility of a post which is below DG by hierarchy but ten time bigger by sharing lime light & that is Police Commissioner of Aamchi Mumbai & incidentally he too is said coming from endangered species i.e. wise men!

Here, wise doesn’t mean just a thinker or knowledgeable but wise means a man who knows his job & how to get it done & both these men have a real tough job at hand! I have personally many friends at all levels in police force & most of them are good men; this aspect of goodness is very much important by me, as above all of qualities, a police man must be good human being at heart as this dept is for protecting goodness in the society from bad guys (read bad elements) & how one can protect good unless he or she is good by himself or herself! And let’s keep Mumbai aside & focus of DG’s road ahead; no, I am not writing this to criticize police, we have enough tongues & pens to do that, what I am interested is in sharing my views about police from view of common man; you can say expectations as that can make the job of DG easier not the criticism! For those who don’t know what is so important with DG’s role for entire police dept, well for them DG is like father to a home (read family)! It’s DG which makes policies as well fight(sorry for the word but that’s fact) with bosses at high places in govt to make funds available to police men so they can serve the society better & most importantly by me to keep the moral of police force high!

I know many will laugh at the term moral of police force but if any dept needs high moral then that’s police as come what may have you ever imagined a job (I am referring to constable which is lowest rank of police force but maximum in numbers) to patrol on roads at odd hours of night & with just a lathi (wooden stick) & whistle, while the goons from which they have to guard the society can have guns & don’t mind using it too! And then at late night or early morning hours after duty when you start from home then the home of one room kitchen mostly is in outskirts at an hour’s drive! Even if you are lucky to have a quarter in the city, then also you have to face the pathetic condition of those quarters (popularly known as police line) which has more water seeping through walls & roofs than that flows from tap! And its this shortfall of man power reflects on working hours of existing force reflecting directly on health parameters like BP, Sugar & Obesity are just to name a few! On the top of it most police men of lower ranks has got two major worries in cities like Pune or Mumbai & they are, to own a home here & education of their children! I think it’s these two main worries which are the root cause of most police men’s (here read men & women) frustration which reflects in their behavior with common man!  And its these two aspects is what DG sir you have to focus on to start with is what I feel as if a police man’s mind is free of his home hunting as well child’s education then nearly 70% of tensions are gone & this is applicable for any common man too!

That way police force is very unique organization, it’s not fully developed or say created like Armed Forces  where right from the cadet (jawan) to General (top boss) all are trained uniformly i.e. hard core discipline & taught to take pride in whatever rank the person may be working. Also services personals are aloof from society in way, even when placed in civilian’s area i.e. not on border, which we call cantonment area. So the entire armed forces behave like one family & the bonding even with extreme discipline amongst the ranks in the backbone of the services! And then the police force is not like civilian’s organizations also, which are much liberal in working with unions also getting accommodated as part of system! But at the same time a police man has to work closely with civilians keeping the uniform on & this makes police force handling a tricky job which is what a DG has to do as a general of semi uniform & semi civilians’ army! And still there is discipline very much in the force where one has to salute his or her superiors whenever you face him! And that’s why the bonding between the ranks of the police force is not as strong as armed forces & neither it’s as friendly as its been in private organizations! And then there are cadres in the police force which divides the force i.e. IPS making some men going to very top post directly & many just won’t ever reach to that post & they know this hard fact! Need of the time is developing comradeship (with due respect to what already is there) amongst the ranks of police force & for that the senior officers needs to take the lead which is considered as sign of a weak boss unfortunately! In police a strong & tough boss mean a person who just know one thing to bark & fire everyone near to him & somewhere this is also a cause of frustration amongst lower ranks of the force!

And then comes the most important aspect of police force that is their image in the eyes of common man as well criminals! Today ask any common man & on this platform right from a millionaire business man to a primary school teacher all are same; ask them if they have been required to go the police station for any work leave apart launching a complaint & they will try to avoid it at their best! As frankly people don’t believe that they will get justice at police station; sorry, I know my this statement will offend many of my friends who are good policemen yet that’s a fact! And here justice doesn’t mean catching a thief or recovering the stolen goods in twenty four hours all I was referring to getting a good friendly treatment at police station which people believes that is reserved only if you have got some high level contacts or you are related to some political figure! DG Sir, this is the biggest challenge in front of force that to make common man believes that, he or she will be attended at any police station in friendly way. As most of the time people are required to go the any police station for some bad thing has happened to them! And at such times all they need is a friendly smile by the police men & confidence that we are with you, don’t worry & this is very much important as in the common man’s eyes a police-man represents law! And when the police-man says "we are with you", that means law is with them, it’s this confidence which is very much important to maintain Law & Order in the society which is vanishing fast!

And on other side the criminals should be afraid of these very police men which is not happening as otherwise there wouldn’t have been every day road side parked vehicle breaking gangs mushrooming all around the peace loving cultural city like Pune & that’s to just show to common man that, “we are bhai of this area & we rule this city, not the police!” Sometimes as a common man I think even if a common man doesn’t love or believe police is ok but a criminal (read any bad element of the society) must fear police force as the result will be ultimately the society will be at peace! Today any crime may it be a house breaking, chain snatching, shop breaking or even a murder & if the crime get registered (as that is one more gray area) then all that police force demand is CC TV footage & answer you get is we are checking CC TV footage which most of the time is useless! DG Sir, I grew up reading “Dakshata” magazine (in 1980’s) which used to  illustrate investigations of crimes by the very police force & that time CC TV’s were not even invented, yet police used to crack the case! I am not saying don’t use technology but just don’t get crippled without it is what common man expects from the police force. The surest way to assure people about Law-Enforcement is detection of crime & making them see that the criminals gets punished here, despite his contacts or position! And for this make the police force strong on resource front which does include funding as well infrastructure. 

Scene is majority of police stations (leave apart chowkis) don’t even have basic things like good clean toilets for ladies & gents & we are talking about giving gun to every police man & bullet proof jackets! We can involve private sectors, associations of industries like CREDAI or MCHI to join hands for focused CSR activities for police force. Problem is, most senior bureaucrats are afraid of media & allegations it makes for joining hands with private sector (read businessmen) & prefer to turn a blind eye towards the lacuna in infrastructure of police force is a bitter fact & here is where wise man like you can make the difference in taking right decisions for the benefit of the force! If we want results then first we have to provide tools to get the results to these men in khaki & fast, as time is running out. There are some very good people in force, one SP Mr. Amol Tambe arranging marathon for his villagers, then there is Chandrapur SP Ms Niyati Thakur reaching out & trying to make aware people about cyber crime, then Ms Rashmi Shukla introducing Buddy Cop app for women  & SP Suvez Huck trying to get every constable home in Pune & at the same time there are SP, Abhinav Deshmukh & Hari Balaji who believes naxlite problem can be solved not just by guns but making people in Gadchiroli able to live by themselves & many such individuals are in the force! Need is to back up every such good guy in the force & put these individual efforts in-front of public!  Today we are witnessing that the mobs (read common man) all over the Sate taking the law in its own hands to punish few poor beggars, declaring them as criminals & kills them! And no police force is enough when entire society becomes criminal as that day there will be no need of any police force as all we will be left with is Jungle Law!

DG Sir sorry for this sharing if I have offended you but sheer intention was to make you know what a common man thinks about police & yes still most of us respects the khaki wardi & men in it but are afraid even to express it! If a small kid waves at a constable patrolling on road, calling him, “Police Kaka Jay Hind”, then all I want to see is, the Police Kaka waving back & saying proudly “Jay Hind Beta”! All best wishes with lots of expectations…
------
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

Please view my sharing about real estate in Pune at U-Tube link below..



Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
 (Click the links below)



http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157627904681345/

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

www.punecorporation.org

Think Green, Think Life


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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Buying a Home, Post RERA & GST!





“A little happy house is the strongest castle in this whole universe!”… Mehmet Murat Ildan.

Mehemet is a contemporary Turkish playwright, novelist and thinker Mehmet Murat ildan was born in Elazig on May 16, in the Eastern part of Turkey. Due to his father's occupation, he continued his studies in capital Ankara. And very few may know, he wrote a play Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi! Obvious a mind which can think about a Home in so simple words only can write about Gandhi which is another name for simplicity! Actually in present times when we search for home I always wonder have we understand really what we are searching for? How casually we use terms like home-buyers or home-hunt or home-expo, while we are describing real estate but what we buy is a concrete brick structure to which we make a home by our family & the moments we share in those walls! This is something we often forget & this is by both sides of the coin named real estate i.e. by builders as well by the customers! As if the role of customer is to convert the concrete brick structure in to a home then it’s the role of the builder to remind himself as well his team that this is not a general product, which customer will buy across the counter & carry it his home after payment. Rather this is the only product where customer is going to come towards the product & living in it, making it his or her home. And that’s why real estate is very special industry, here we need to build something more than the dead mass of brick & mortar, we need to add emotions in it while we build it as finely it’s going to become home of some family!

Well, that’s from the builders point of view but what about the buyer as with ever rising prices of homes (read everything related to the home) poor client’s first aspect while searching for home is budget! Emotions, service, quality, location rest all things follows later is the fact with real estate industry & this has been happening for years now! But no more, I am making this statement with lots of courage, yes home prices have been declined a lot & still no one can say they have hit the rock bottom but much closer to it! And this indeed is not effect of just RERA or GST or Demonetization on just real estate but there are many other factors are in play but the real estate prices have gone down is fact. Now here many will ask, where have been prices reduced actually? Well, in first place many developers are offering so many discounts direct or indirect way on their flats; when you have witnessed this happening last, please tell me! And other aspect is nearly for last more than three years home prices have not risen also directly per sq ft types; this in a way is huge reduction especially for an industry where selling prices of finished products used to get increased by average 30% to 40% per year, imagine in such industry the prices are steady for three years, what it means! The entire economics of real estate has changed as the developer who has invested money at interest rate more than 15% for buying land & then for construction, unless he gets 30% profit margin, he will go in loss is a simple math. And then if he was supposed to sale a flat at say X rupees three years back & still he is selling it at X today, what it indicates if not price reduction as consider the interest costs & then you will realize the prices have indirectly decreased by 30% in last three years! And this makes the present time perfect to buy the home & this I am not saying as builder but a common man who has seen both sides of the coin named real estate!

But then we Indian’s are crazy for the word “Sale” & buy something which is not even required when enters in to one! First understand a home is not a commodity which most people can buy across the counter. It’s one of the costliest products & for maximum clients its one time buy. Take example of luxurious cars like Audi or Mercedes, of which average price range is Rs 40 lacs & above, now how many people will choose these cars as option while buying a car? Only rich people with ample money, is the natural answer but then look at the average prices of a 2BHK flat in & around PMC or PCMC, can you get below Rs 40 lacs any such flat? Again, answer is no, you can’t get a 2 BHK in decent locality (read livable location) below Rs 40 lacs, so maximum people looking for a home has to spend that kind of money & this includes even middle class serving class which is actually back-bone of real estate. Now you only compare, when the person from this class will go for buying a car can he or she will look for Audi or BMW price range cars; but the same amount they are ready to pay for the home! This is why a home is very different commodity as one it’s costly & two, it gives you a secure feeling; it’s a place from where no one can ask you to move out & for that secured feeling you are ready to pay the price!

Though the problem is even after paying so much money it’s not easy to get the home which you really want because then many other factors, like size, location, infrastructure as well possession surety & many such comes in to picture. Many people asks me, what should be the criteria while finalizing a home & by me first & foremost criteria is assured delivery of what has been committed! I know many won’t agree with this as location, budget, can be the main criteria but what if the deal is not going to be completed ever, then what’s use if you have got the best location & in your budget, is what I will ask! As after RERA & GST, entire game of real estate has changed & there is tight cash crunch (not physical cash which we call black money but read working capitol) in the industry & many big names have been failed to deliver possession of the flats leading to huge financial losses to the clients! This doesn’t mean all is that bad, what I wanted to tell is choose the builder wisely & see that he will deliver the project in time. Check for his financial credibility & do it, not by going through the full page advertises in leading news papers but by scanning his balance sheet keenly. Agreed RERA has provisions to control the financial management of a project but what if there are no bookings, form where the builder is going to complete the project is such situation & what RERA authorities can do in such case? 

So, many people are opting choice of ready possession homes only & I won’t blame them & then the bonus there is, no GST on ready possession homes. Do mind, ready possession means having obtained occupancy or completion certificate from the competent authority & not just ready because your builder says so. This aspect of GST was the final blow for the dying real estate; yes dying I used the term as the industry is bleeding with all sorts of taxes from every govt dept, heavy interest rates for loans, increased land prices & ever changing polices of Urban Development Dept, making planning of building near impossible. And on the top of it there won’t be booking of flats during construction as or else the client has to pay GST & if as a builder you are offering to bear the GST burden then it’s a big dent in your already reduced profit margins. So, the builder has to either work on reduced margins which in a way is threat to project itself or build the project by own funding & then wait for the client just like any other shop keeper does at his counter!

Here even if the home is ready possession few issues about the homes are never spoken about & the main is infrastructure around the project. Let me warn you all the home seeking clients that to provide light, road, drainage, water, street lights, public transport & every such thing to your home is not responsibility of the builder! I repeat govt (read PMC, PCMC, PMRDA & all such sanctioning authorities) under the name of sanctioning may get anything written from the developer (sorry but read blackmailing) but in the court of law, it’s the civic body which takes money under the name of development charges for plan sanctioning is only responsible for providing all such infrastructure to the residents. So even if you see a ready possession project, the water flowing in to taps of your complex is not builder’s responsibility & one needs to assure all such details while finalizing even a ready possession home. Also while you book ready possession home then by law you are not required to pay GST but as the builder has spent from his pocket right from land cost to construction cost, there are chances the price you will end up paying can be higher as no one is Raja Harishchandra in this business, so the builder is going to recover his every single rupee incurred in the making of your home & nothing wrong about it! Also when you wait till the project gets ready then the choices of location of your flat within the project gets reduced, still in present scenario, ready possession makes sense if you are not sure about the builders capacity to complete the project is what I will advise, at-least for some time ahead!

I think that’s what Modi govt wanted i.e. make real estate industry like just any other industry where you display your goods across the counter & deliver against payment ready to use BUT… there is a big BUT in this as in the process somewhere the product line itself is getting hampered. Because if there won’t be any home makers due to the present policies about real estate then again only the few who will survive will hold all the homes supply& pricing, controlling the rates of the homes. Though with the current stock in hand i.e. homes available in the market this will take three /four more years as by then all the old stock of homes will be sold, so till then the clients of real estate should make hay when its sunshine!

-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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