Thursday, October 11, 2018

Accidental City!





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“The value of life can be measured by how many times your soul has been deeply stirred”... Soichiro Honda.

Soichiro Honda was a Japanese engineer and industrialist. In 1948, he established Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and oversaw its expansion from a wooden shack manufacturing bicycle motors to a multinational automobile and motorcycle manufacturer. Well no wonder with such philosophy about the life backing up knowledge is what made Japanese car maker one of the best automobile company in the world & its absence of such personalities (with due respect to Ratan Tata & Azim Premji likes) in our country is the reason that life has so less value here! Well knowing the present franatism about expressing anything which may go against the so called govt yet I dare to say we are a doomed country when subject is value of the life (read human life) & if someone has objection here are few recent incidences (most of them has already forgotten except the families of deceased) in this Best City, Smart City, Livable City No 1 & what not; I am referring to our very own Pune.

A year back a truck lost control on Sinhagad road & whirled towards the shop adjoining road & killed a young engineer girl who was having milk shake on the steps of the shop during her lunch break. What happened to the truck driver is not known the girl’s family is clueless against whom they should complaint i.e. against the driver who was speeding to such extent so he lost the control or against the road authorities for the design which provides no protection against such situation or the police/civic body who allows heavy vehicles in the city in work hours or the shop keeper who was selling milk shake right adjoining to the road with no safety measures for its customers! Well fact is the parents lost their engineer daughter & some brother won’t have anybody to tie rakhi this raksha bandhan, that’s all people have forgot the incidence. Today if you go from that spot then the shop is still selling milk shake, clients still sit on the same steps, road situation is same & trucks are freely moving carrying all sorts of goods!

Next incidence was some four months back on Nagar road (another busy work road of city), two employees of a soft-ware company were walking towards home after their office hours from the foot path (there are still some walkable spaces in city named as foot path) & suddenly the transformer of MSEB (I like this than MSEDCL) positioned adjoining to footpath got burst & hot oil got spread all around. There were many people around this spot but the two more unfortunate, one young girl & a boy were closer making them exposed more & the girl died due to injuries where as to my knowledge the boy got serious burn injuries & undergoing through treatment in ICU of some hospital. There was news in recent that his parents can’t bare the expenses of the treatment & has appealed to MSEB for the compensation about which nothing has been done. The police filed charge sheets but no arrests has been made, MSEB says it’s an accident & maintenance was not with them but some contractor or the developer where as no statement has been given from the said names & outcome is two families got shattered by this accident. Well, I wonder what’s the definition of accident in this city because going by Wikipedia is , “An accident, also known as an unintentional injury, is an undesirable, incidental, and an unplanned event that could have been prevented had circumstances leading up to the accident been recognized, and acted upon, prior to its occurrence”! Unintentional in this case I can accept but what about that could have been prevented as whose job was it to maintain the said transformer in good condition? Falling lightning in thunderstorm on the transformer & then it got burst can be accident but on its own a transformer getting burst, can it be called accident? And why it was not installed with proper covering to protect people around if it can burst accidently, can that be also called as a accident? May be as per MSEB (read govt) it’s so or else take a walk anywhere in city & you will find hundreds of such transformers which are standing in open without any protection against accidental bursting, which as per MSEB, can happen any time any where! Well I have heard about sleeping volcanoes which can get active any time & burst & till now I used to think that’s accidental phenomenon but great by living in this city my knowledge about accidents is getting better!

Last rainy season in karvnagar area (a decent residential area of western Pune) where I also live nearby & takes footpath for my evening or morning walks. There was a babul tree on the foot path which has got dangerously tilted right from bottom. Reason may be naturally or even due to the paving work around it but it was surely going to fall someday & on one evening with strong winds before rains it collapsed killing one lady who was taking her walk & her only fault was she was right below that tree on the foot path & got killed instantly! By PMC it was an accident & many will say yes what anybody can do when a tree falls but when a normal health tree fall down it can be accident, the tree was already in dangerous position & any normal person & not some horticulturist was needed to tell its future, so who has stopped garden dept of PMC to cut it before it fall down naturally? The very same PMC gives notices to the residents of old wadas in the city to vacate their residence so as to avoid any mishap in monsoon but it can’t see such trees & remove on its own as the tree was on footpath making it PMC’s property! If a normal man goes to PMC to cut some branches or such dangerous trees in private lands then also the PMC takes nearly an year to give NOC to cut such tree (that to if the owner is lucky enough) making the residents around such trees at mercy of nature & all they can do is pray that the tree won’t fall before they get NOC to cut it! But by PMC the lady was fool & careless as she should have avoided walking near such tree & she could have saved herself from getting killed in the accident!

Then in last month wall of the canal which supplies water to towns &  farmers beyond Pune on east side got burst & huge water force flooded the homes adjoining the canal making hundreds of families homeless & taking away all their belongings even things like dining table & gas cylinders! And thanks to gods that it happened in day time when most people were out of their homes for daily rituals like work or school or just imagine what havoc it would have been if the canal would have burst at night! And as usual the authorities i.e. Irrigation dept which owns the canal (means they are supposed to maintain) & our dear PMC which is “maibaap’ of the families in these homes both said it was an accident & even blamed rodents & rats for scouring the walls of the canals making them weak & eventually collapsing due to water pressure!  Yes it was accident as nobody has actually sabotaged the canal burst yet why the canal walls were not maintained time to time till they get weak to such extent; as well it’s said that all these homes are illegal as they have been build in no development zone i.e. in the safe distance which has to be kept from the canal. If so then how these homes were build illegally & been there so long, then whose responsibility was it to remove them or is this also an accident? As well it’s been observed many optical fiber cables of internet provider companies has been laid right in the base of canal walls, weakening the walls in addition to damage done by rodents & rats, is this digging also done accidently, is also I will like to ask! 

And just some eight days back a young lady doctor was killed due to kite flying manja (a thin rope) which got tangled around her neck while she was driving a two wheeler on some main road in PCMC. Such was the sharpness of that manja that it cut deep in her neck damaging the vocal as well air pipe &she fall down from her bike, laying there on road in her own blood pool while for twenty minutes no vehicles stopped to take her to hospital (again a ugly face of smart or livable city) & died eventually till she got medical help! Accident, police as well media cried but if I remember there is ban (prohibition) on selling this manja thing in city, isn’t it? At the same time who is supposed to have control on people flying kites with prohibited manja  & that too near the roads with heavy traffic instead making them do so in open areas where such accidents won’t happen!

And then like feather in the cap the latest “accident” occurred when a hording fall down on commuters waiting at signal in a busiest square in the city! I don’t need to write about the havoc it created as the clip of the incident is on mostly everybody’s cell phone as joke is when such incidence happens the cc tv cameras capture it perfect but when some vehicle has hit some pedestrian or chain snatch incidence then the cc tv’s rarely gives proper image of any help!  Any ways that’s different subject but when I saw that clip of hording falling on people standing at signal I was too stunned for any comment, except “My God” & sure all those who have seen it shared my reaction. Again as per the Railway dept (as the hoarding was in their land they are the owners) initially gave same reaction is it was an ‘Accident” though a tragic one & later some official even acknowledged that it was negligence on the part of Railway, a silver lining to the mishap! Yet why PMC has to give just notices when it knew these hoardings were illegal & risky as if some day the Police on duty (by the way they has to be 24 hours so) see some murder happening in other govt dept’s land, will it wait to give notice to the said dept & turn a blind eye towards the murder? If no is the answer then why PMC on its own didn’t demolished such dangerous illegal hoardings instead just giving notice to Railway & looking other way than the hoardings, still we can call it as an accident? As those who died were all PMC residents only & standing on PMC’s road, still PMC can say that it was not their jurisdiction & accepts that the four people’s death under that hording was a plain accident? And what we should call to the thousands of such hoardings (hanging death is better word) which are still displaying faces of our dear leaders & social workers, “Accident in Waiting”?

And then every day people die in road accidents on BRT routes while PMC says its job of PMPML (PMT) to control entry of two wheelers or private vehicles in BRT lanes, PMPML says PMC doesn’t gives them funds & Police says they don’t have enough man power to control this & its job of either PMC or PMPML but certainly not Police’s, so the accidents keeps happening killing people on BRT route. As well we read news of small kid playing outside his home (mostly some hutments illegal needless to say) was attacked by stray dogs suffering serious injuries, sometimes even death! Again authorities say “accident” as how can someone predict stray dog’s behavior, indeed but who is supposed to control their population in first place & stop their menace for the city? Or overpopulation of stray dogs too is an accident now?

Indeed in this city we can’t kill stray dogs (no, I don’t want to kill them just gave an example) but the citizens get killed like dogs on street (read “kutte ki maut”) as above are just trailer the way death approaches to common man under the name of accident! Issue is not about the accidents but our attitude to let them happen knowingly & on top of it not doing anything about them as well denying accident’s responsibility! In most of above incidences we could have avoided these so called accidents but by tagging them as accidents, is like allowing get away for the concerned people who are the cause behind these accidents actually! May it be MSEB transformer or canal wall or hording collapse or traffic management there are lacunas which can be seen by naked eyes yet we just don’t care about improving the system as for us death has become just an accident! In some way the citizens themselves are responsible as what can be said about the people who needs a law to wear helmet for protecting their own head, this can happen only in Pune, really the Smartest City, aren’t we? But then going by recent incidences even helmet can’t protect any citizen while moving on city streets, rather we should think of full body armor while we go out of our home though I wonder as what if some fly-over (over bridge) falls on my head, which armor will save me then!

-
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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



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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Celebrating Wild Life Week!





“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man”... Stewart Udall.

Stewart Lee Udall was an American politician and later, a federal government official. After serving three terms as a congressman from Arizona, he served as Secretary of the Interior from 1961 to 1969, under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. In his younger days Stewart has worked at his family farm & no wonder that’s why even after becoming a politician & spending rest of his life in Cities like Washington DC as well New York yet he can understand the importance of conserving wild life! And on this background with so many of our rulers coming from rural area as well with exposure from wilderness yet wild life conservation seems to me most neglected aspect of our society! Presently every State (read govt) is engaged in promoting the campaign about Wild Life Week which is being celebrated in the first week of October & during this, lot of activities are supposed to be carried especially making people aware about Wild Life & its importance & unfortunately it’s this aspect which is missing right now from the campaign! Well we will come to that point later but before that the reason which made to write this piece; whatever one may name to WhatsAp but it has become inherent part of our life now is a fact & like any technology it’s up to the user how he uses it is what defines the technology good or bad, WhatsAp too is no exception to this rule!

I am member of many groups on WhatsAp & indeed few are totally dedicated to wild life & share some real good information about the subject. On one such group there was hot discussion going on regarding stray dog’s menace in the city as well spotted deer around NDA Hills Forest. I am sure stray dogs’ menace I need not have to explain to any Punekar (or even any town in State) but spotted deer (chital) in Pune, many will be amazed yet yes there are few spots around Pune where biodiversity is still rich & conserved & NDA Hill forest is one such. One fact is as this land belongs to defense  so yet it has been saved by encroachment of all sorts as well poachers because the orders are “Shoot at Sight” for the trespassers though this is not from the aspect of wild life but for their establishment; yet the byproduct is with all the NDA security & patrolling the rich biodiversity along with habitat also got saved from all ill elements & we can see animals like spotted dears roaming around right on the border of suburbs like warje, uttamnagar & shivne sometimes. There is still some farming goes on the fringe of Pune’s these suburbs & these spotted deer can be a great threat to the farming though due to stray dogs increased population the spotted deer itself has come under threat. Thus the debate was going on the topic of not killing stray dogs as well saving spotted deer & then there were few members who were saying even increased population of spotted deer’s too is problem for the farmers around! While some members were putting the point forward how they are taking efforts to protect these spotted deer & stray dogs should be killed or eliminated & then there were animals loving members taking side of stray dogs (indeed there are many such). After reading a while all the posts I too decided to participate not to conclude as such debates rarely conclude but to put stop for a while, here is my post, pardon me for grammar as well spelling as putting it here in WhatsAp language...

“Hi, hv been reading this debate about stray dogs as well cheetals.. problem is never & not with animals may it be stray dogs or cheetals its about the system which allows stray dogs to grow in numbers as well cheetals too.. indeed stray dogs are big menace to even humans in city but then are the dogs at fault for their birth?? or cheetals at fault for increasing numbers? unfortunately pmc, forest dept, revenue & in this case nda too as its their land eventually its govt which dont have answers to many questions like where is forest land for new born cheetals or why the garbage heaps are everywhere which are feeding grounds for stray dogs & then no land for cheetals.. even stray dogs vs human is also in a way man animal conflict only!! .. i think we shud blame ourself than stray dogs or cheetals..unless until we come up with solution for them!@.. sanjay deshpande

That did put a stop on the debate for a while at least of group but the topic lingered in my mind & then the ongoing campaign of Wild Life Week provoked me to think more as what is Wild Life in first place because unless we define it or say understand it how we are going to protect it? As per Wikipedia wildlife means, Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal species, but has come to include all plants, fungi, and other organisms that grow or live wild in an area without being introduced by humans. Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems. So, in common man’s perception it’s the animals & birds (mostly) found in forest i.e. jungle. So for most common men wild life exists only in forests where humans doesn’t go or at least wild life has nothing to do with the cities like Pune & I know my die hard wild life friends are not going to like this definition but that’s the way we the urban folks look at it is a bitter fact. Why I am stressing this point because unless you don’t know what’s the problem you won’t be able to ever solve it & understanding wild life as well our responsibility to conserve it is the major problem for the people living in cities & even towns is the problem! We think wild life is found in forests like Africa, Amazon (courtesy Animal Planet & National Geographic channels) at the most it’s found in Tadoba, Kanha like places which are hundreds of miles away from us & we have many more problems here in city like Pune which includes traffic congestion, petrol prices, school admissions of our kids & home of our own (list is endless actually)! And in all this who cares if wild life survives in the above mentioned remote places, yes I love to watch above channels where some Cheetah is chasing some deer (for common man black buck, chinkara, spotted deer, sambhar all are same & named as just deer) on the back ground of vast grass land & a lone baobab tree, that’s all, I do Love Wild Life, I tell to myself & my friends! And yes there are some NGO’s in city who keeps doing some activities like wild life film festival, there are wild life photographs exhibitions in Bal Gandharva Art Gallery which I do visit with my wife if eventually I am visiting JM road for shopping or eating out on some Sunday evening, yes one reason is I get parking space to park my car in parking lot there & they are great pictures displayed & I come back home after having nice dinner at some eating joint at JM road, my “wild life lover” quota is done! Indeed, some times in news papers I get to read leopard entering in some village or a tigress has become man eater in some place named Bramhpuri or Pandharkavada (though I don’t know exactly these places are, are they part of Maharashtra State, well what the xxxx it maters?). Oh, yes one more thing, few years back in summers when I visited for my wife’s sister’s marriage in Nagpur, somebody told us about Tadoba & we had gone there, it was very hot & we did get to see a tigress, locals said she is very famous & they had a name for her too something like “Maya Memsab’, that was cool experience; I did click some snaps of the tiger on my cell & shared on FB (received maximum likes till now to my that post)!

This attitude of people is what we are fighting with actually, as when its wild life & threats to it, all the NGO’s, wild life activists as well forest dept blames human encroachments on wild life habitats, poaching, less man power for the job, poor infrastructure & the list is on but by me biggest threat to wild life conservation is ignorance of the society (read masses) for this cause. And when I say ignorance it means not knowing or not finding need to know their responsibility towards wild life conservation. Here “their” means every that person who does nothing not even thinking towards wild life around! If you take one look at present wild life week types campaigns or celebrations then all you see is same familiar faces from NGO’s or forest dept’s personnel & some school kids marching on road with “Save Tiger” posters that’s all! Sorry if I sound negative but the wild life thing has remained restricted for hardly one percent persons from the society & in that also majority are doing it as it’s their job that’s all. With keeping very respect for my many sincere forest officer friends yet let me ask you how many forest officers you come across (if at all you come across any as that’s not a common man gets to meet every day) are really dedicated to forest or wild life? Look at the body language of most of them, all they are doing is duty as they don’t display love & affection for wild life or else many things forest dept can do which currently are not being done on the front of making common man aware for wild life in first place, conservation will follow later!

And for that what we have to do is make people understand wild life is not just about tigers & in some remote forests but it’s about butterflies, frogs, snakes & even sparrows along with grass & trees & yes water bodies like rivers around us. To conserve wild life doesn’t mean just save tiger but it means give space to every other specie which is part of nature & to save wild life one need not have to go to forests as well get in to forest service’s but we can do it in the backyard of our bungalow or in the premise of our concrete building as well very much in city like Pune too! Indeed we have to save the tigers also but before that we need to save hundreds of species like sparrow & mainas which we are driving away from our city! Wild life conservation doesn’t mean attending wild life film festivals or going to Tadoba & clicking snaps of tigers, it is just one aspect of the cause. Wild life conservation means what I have done personally to make even a single species breathe at peace in its habitat & this habitat can be developed or cultivated right in the midst of a city like Pune in the form of a small patch of greenery or a water body clean enough to survive some fish! Wild life conservation means deciding by myself that from today I will not pollute my river which is home ( read habitat) of many species as well I won’t allow to cut a tree unless its utmost necessary & then I will plant at least two trees for one such cut tree & see that they survives! While doing this if I am celebrating birthday of my son by spending some thousand rupees for a party in posh hotel then I will spend some money for the people who are actually working for protecting forests far away from me as that will also make me a wild life conservator!

Keeping due respect for all those who are active part of Wild Life Week, please note that need of the time is to make this week a movement & make every single citizen of this city ( read respective city or town) part of it as then only we can really celebrate this week. Or else all the wild life will remain in films & exhibitions & on that day we will have to celebrate not Wild Life Week but Wild Life Punya-Tithi as the wild life will be long gone already! 


-- 
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
Take your issues to Hon PM at link below..
Think Green, Think Life