Sunday, February 24, 2019

Real Estate, 4 FSI & City !!





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“Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance”…. Ban Ki-moon.
Ban Ki-moon is a South Korean politician and diplomat who was the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 2007 to December 2016. Before becoming Secretary-General, Ban was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations. Well & it’s his such clear vision about development which has made his place in one of most respectable personality in UN an organization which thrives to make this world a better place! Though there has been many Indians also who has represented our country at UN but sorry to say when it comes to development our all intelligence, vision, thinking whatever you call dries up & when it our Smart City Pune, well lesser we say its better! As nobody opposes development but we have forgotten the term sustainable before it or else we wouldn’t have been coming up with policies one after another which one day are going to doom the city is not just I say but look at the history of the every big city around the world & you will agree to it!

Yes, I am referring to current developments like Metro or BRT (well, please don’t ask what it means, really bored of it) i.e. Bus Rapid Transit, Ring Road as well there were some thing like Mono Rail & oh yes Hyper Loop also & last in thing is HCMTR i.e. High Capacity Mass Transport Route (or road, does it really matters)! If I am sounding like a perfect Sadashiv Pethi Joshi Kaka (read critics) then indeed I want to be as had the most of Punekars' really aware about all above issues then this same would have been their tone speaking about every these development but all Joshikakas’ (read puneakrs) are busy in protesting against Helmet or angry for Water Cuts or held up in traffic jams! So I took on their role for a while & I repeat it’s not about the development but the cost we will be paying for is what I am warning about!  For e.g. read all recent news regarding city’s top list of development projects I mentioned above i.e. Metro to latest HCMTR, one best thing is whenever we gave such fancy names, we (read our rulers) feel very happy & elated about the project thinking they are doing something like space-ship which in a way true as the way these projects often ends up may it be BRT or even some fly-over, they cost like space ship & crash in the end making big bang like a space-ship only! Sorry again Joshi kaka in me but no more, well what I meant is the expense we are doing in terms on money but then our "Mai-Baap" govt (read PMC) doesn’t have money then what, and then FSI is the master key to all our answers! And why not, as look at the budgets of our local bodies i.e. PMC? PCMC which are supposedly responsible for all the developments & what you see? On one side every year budgets figures are increasing (read swelling) at the same time every year the actual collection (revenue ) figures are decreasing & no one asks where this so called supposedly to be collected money has gone & who is responsible for the same! At the same time govt keeps killing (yes that the word) real estate means dream of every home buyer by adding burden on home prices directly or indirectly; recent addition of 1% stamp duty for funding Metro is classic example! Why the new home buyers only should pay for city development & why not add the burden on all tax payers (property tax) is the question I will ask. And then what about millions of residents of this city which are living in illegal homes which pays zero tax but enjoys every facility the city infra offers, why their contribution is to paid by real estate segment? Why can’t such so called city infra tax is added on every single automobile sold in this city, as they are the real culprits for traffic jams on city roads! Hundreds of such questions are there but who cares, as it’s a builder & his flat buyers are getting burdened not some auto industry or slum dweller, so let be it!

One more thing "Mai-Baap" Govt kindly thinks from humanity angle & is keen to regularize every illegal construction by so called charging some fine/ premium (whatever you call it, what difference it makes any way) on such homes (illegal) but has someone ever asked how much money has been collected from all such fines as these homes are there but where is the money collected from regularizing them & why this income head has not been added in every city’s civic body’s budget? Well, answer to all above questions are simple, you won’t add any burden on automobile sales as the owners of these industries are big shots & they are respected (read celebrity) citizens of the country, how can they be burdened when they are actually serving the Nation via their industries! About increasing property tax; are you mad, suggesting something like this, don’t you know this is election year, who will give votes to the Party (political & not night life party) which demands increase in property or any such tax! The recovery from illegal home’s residents; well, had they got money why they would have stayed in such illegal homes in first place! At the same time attitude of citizens is also equally responsible as citizens wants service from the city but are not ready to pay for it or else every time there wouldn’t have been oppose to any type of hike in property or such taxes! As well millions of defaulters are there when it comes to payment of taxes as why PMC has to issue notices  as well go for amnesty schemes in first place & why the citizens doesn’t pays the tax which they are supposed to pay on their own! On this point many citizens says why we should pay tax when we don’t get proper service, well to all such citizens go to places like Marathwada & Vidarbha & then you will realize how comfortable your life is in Pune! Ask every migrant coming for education or job to this city from remote parts of the State why he is leaving his home town & coming to this city, if it’s not capable of offering good life to the citizens, & he will tell you the reason! We may not be best city but scene is lot worst in other cities & if we don’t want to end up as worst then we need to pay taxes as well keep pressure on civic body to give value for our taxes!

But then best way every planning authority, civic body & the Thaliva (the Boss) of all urban planning i.e. UD thinks the best (read only) way is increase FSI & get money generated from it & use that money for all Metro, HCMTR, BRT & Hyper Loops!  But then what about the supporting infra required for people who will be living in this additional FSI generated homes & oh yes, what’s this 4 figure thing, why every time its 4 FSI, I am sure that some study must have done but I am curious where this 4 times FSI figure comes whenever its some infra development is there! And then if all the money generated by selling this TOD i.e. 4 FSI for the so called Metro or HCMTR  the from where the money for road, drainage electricity, schools, play grounds, open spaces, gardens, water supply & many such will be coming  from; will we be making Stamp Duty 100% then for the new homes? And what about the existing DP’s fate, is it not more that 10% change in DP when entire city’s FSI is getting 4 times increased in a way, as all above routes covers nearly whole city! As all the present amenities (schools, hospitals, gardens and many such) except Metro or HCMTR are designed for 1 FSI population, is what my childish engineering brain tells me so what about gardens, open spaces which are required to be kept in proportion of 1 FSI, from where we will be creating such open spaces? Oh, yes one more thing, what you think, the Land -prices of such 4 FSI plots will come down or increase; interesting food for brain isn't it? As this is directly related to rates of real estate i.e. Homes!

Unfortunately 4 FSI can be generated virtually but public places for the people living in these 4 FSI homes won’t or can’t be ever created virtually! And then to my knowledge any project above 2 lacs sq ft build-able potential need Environment Clearance with detailed Environmental Impact Assessment Report possibly happen due to such development, what about crores of millions sq ft build-able potential which will be generated by giving this 4 FSI, well we be not requiring any Environmental Impact Assessment for this decision; is one more childish question which got popped up in my brain!  

I repeat Real Estate welcomes every infrastructure in the city & don’t mind paying for the same (read contribute) but then I appeal to all the Urban Planners do consider that, taking responsibility & burdening are two different things! Real Estate is taking every possible responsibility for city’s needs but if we keep burdening it then we are killing city in the end by killing Real Estate & the end is not far, mind it!
-- 
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

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Apana Time Aayega!

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“Abhi koi aur batayega main koun hai?”... Murad aka Gully Boy.

In nutshell, “Why I need somebody else to tell me what I am” is the best way I could translate this dialogue (or quote) from the movie Gully Boy which I stumbled up on this week end! I am die-hard fan of movies but very very rarely it has happened that after watching a movie I felt like writing something about it immediately, though off-late you get to read hundreds of reviews on FB/Twitter/ Whatsap (thankfully I am not on Insta) about any movie the day it get released. And in addition you get to read about it in every news papers which were only source of knowing about the movies but then Internet driven social media has got out artists (read critics) in many & the movie Gully By itself has social media as its back-bone, so I thought I too will wash my hands in flowing Ganges (means, “mai be bahati Ganaga me haat dho leta hu”, don’t ask me what it means) , now if you are going to kill me for this English translation language then you won’t enjoy Gully Boy, is what I will tell you in advance as it is full of a dialect which we shrug off like a cockroach has fallen on our hand!

Ok, “Intensely slow story of a zopadpatti boy who makes to his dream of becoming a rapper!”  Those who doesn’t know what is a rapper, they also can watch the movie, btw Badsha (singer not movie), Yo Yo Honey Sing are two Indian rappers & rap is a type of hip-hop music, though its more popular in western music but a current rage in youths!  In above 10 words one can tell story of the movie & in a way its mix of Dhoni to Chakde to Iqubal to ABCD (Its also a movie) to Jo Jita Wo Sikandar, where hero (read lead character) by fighting against all odds especially poverty & parents (mostly poor or single parent or no parents) & no exposure to world or having no infrastructure to succeed which we call legacy; achieves success which in societies terms is fame & money! Well, on this theme (read story) there must be at least twenty Bollywood & more than fifty Hollywood movies (again mostly hit) & is said to be based on some real life character, yet what’s special about this Gully Boy?

Is it the lead role guy Ranveer Sing who is today’s youth icon, or Director like Zoya Akhtar who has given, Jindagi Na Mile Dobra types flicks or supporting star cast like Alia Bhatt, Sidhant Chaturvedi(as MC Sher, Hero’s friend) & Vijay Raaj, who knows their width, depth & breadth of role & fills it perfectly; what has made Gully Boy such a lethal poison, yes it’s a poison, a very slow one which once injected at the start of first shot of movie keeps on intoxicating you for next two & half hours & even when you go back to home after late night movie & keeps you awake looking at ceiling of your bed room & you wonder what has happened to you! That’s the impact it made on me & that’s the reason of this sharing as to start it’s not just story or direction or Ranveer Sing, or Aliya Bhat  as well supporting star cast nor the music which continuously keeps hitting you with its rap beats as well the lyrics (in true meaning like Aag i.e. fire); it’s the combine effect of all of it which makes you numb with intoxication because all of this has been captured in the camera & the canvas of Dharavi i.e. Mumbai’s pride, biggest slum in Asia! It’s not first time Dharavi slum has been back-bone of any movie, Slum Dog Millionaire has gone winning Oscar with it but here in Gully Boy Dharavi hits you the way nobody has hit you ever! Its dull, yellowish gray colors with sullen faces of residents & endless expand of tin structures, garbage flowing everywhere, narrow lanes, stair cases, stray dogs (yes they are very much part of it, in many frames with people), nallhas with girder foot-bridges across them, BEST busses, Local trains & their bogies! Here in this world of Dharavi, people don’t live between the walls but the walls lives between people such is scarcity of space & the camera covers every minute details with cold aloofness! And yet like shown in some Room-Freshener’s advertise, the camera-man covers the stench which is inherent part of Dharvai with the ease with which all the characters’ has accepted this slum life! After a bit you also become part of Dharavi like all the characters on the screen has & that’s the first sign of poison has hit you!

But then, Dharavi has been shot in all seasons in many movies by more powerful (read big names) Directors yet best part of it comes through Gully Boy is the way Ranveer Sings character has accepted this dogs’ type life & has kept his gift (read determination) alive within! A canvas as dark as Dharavi could have (should & does) killed hardest of the man or woman & made him or her surrender to the life’s brutality. Just the way Ranveer’s father’s character has accepted that his father was nobody, he is nobody & so Ranveer will also be nobody & on that the quote (dialogue) I have used at start comes from Ranveer, that’s gist of Gully Boy! In continuation Ranveer says one more thing, “Allah ne muze tohafa diya hai aur mai wo khone nahi dunga” i.e. God his gifted me this Rap thing (i.e. made me artist) & I won’t allow that gift to be wasted! I think this attitude or determination or confidence whatever you call is the best thing all Gully Boy team has gifted us by a venomous way! 

Has some one realized that actually Zoya Akhtar has given us Gully Super Hero just like Spider Man! You don’t believe me? Take a look at this, we speak about the youths around today, they have everything & yet when they don’t get success (their definition whatever it may be) then they blame every other person for it & retaliate, mean what, just give up actually by doing nothing & hang on especially on their parents! For all such youths Murad (Ranveer’s characters name) delivers hard slap on every such face as just like Spider Man aka Peter Parker, he has nothing. He lives in a place which is slum, he wears torn clothes, his cell phone net pack is finished so he has to borrow I-pad from his girl friend, he travels by BEST or Local train, he don’t have decent shoes, no pocket money, when his father gets ill he has to do drivers job & he studies as he wants a degree because his father is paying for his studies & he respects it. He silently accepts step mother, hardly few years younger than him & still took beating by father for singing Rap but he raise the hand on his father not for himself but for his mother’s pride & oh yes to take care of his mother he steals cars too! And like Spider Man he too is gifted by his Rap music & creativity & just like Spider Man keeping that super power aside he struggles like a common man for survival but in much much positive way, patiently & with shy smile on face. He is never shown guilty of his status or poverty rather he answers all the humiliation through his lyrics which burns heart out of the listeners!

Well what is a Super Hero after all, he has some super powers but that doesn’t mean every time he has to fly up in the sky & catch falling aero planes; even singing or writing songs can be super power which Murad has & he uses his super power to make every common man’s life better by writing “Apna Time Ayega” with the mask of Gully Boy! I think here this movie scores on every such type movie as this is not the journey or story of someone just becoming successful by fighting adversities. This is story of a Super Hero, who is just any-body from slum & yes with a gift which we all are in some way & Murad by using this super power gives confidence to every that person who thinks he or she has got nothing & his or her time will never come, Gully Boy gives them hope, yes, “your time will also come”! And while doing this Zoya has shown the real meaning or depth of Rap music as Murad doesn’t write just rhymes while creating Rap i.e. playing with words but he writes words which are feelings actually  & its modern genre’s Shayari with Dum! 

One last finer aspect, our Gully Boy is shown Muslim & knowing the present social scenario in our country yet not a single person he comes across in his journey to fame (read success) asks him what his caste or religion is; as terminologies like talent, dedication & self belief knows no such boundaries! Thanks again Zoya Akhtar for silently giving this most important message regarding our nautanki secularism this country proudly carries!  Zoya & team, to conclude all I will say is keep poisoning us with more such venom as millions of Gully Boys are in dire need of such dosage more than pulse polio & they are the future of this society & “their time” is running out!
-- 
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

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Policies, Real Estate & Affordable Homes!







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“We should not be focusing on quick solutions. The really important concern for policymakers everywhere is to prevent disasters - that is, the outlived events that matter the most”… Robert J. Shiller.

Robert James Shiller is an American economist, academic, and best-selling author. As of 2018, he serves as a Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University and is a fellow at the Yale School of Management's International Center for Finance. No wonder with such personalities keeping tab on the govt, USA has reached to top of Economic Power’s list despite all ups & downs created by its rulers on & off policies! And speaking about policies we top surely in making policies which creates controversies more than the desired outcome for which the policy has been made & when these policies are related to land use (read real estate) then the more fun adding spice to the entire matter! And every time our "Mai Baap" govt announces something related to real estate then I wonder where we are heading on the front of making homes affordable as well planned growth, environment conservation & lastly the latest in thing (read fad) Smart Cities! If you are feeling I am behaving like a full-fledged Punekar i.e. criticizing everything around then read these news papers headlines in last week, No Construction along the Rivers on both banks, CRZ  policy lifted; making thousands of hectors of land free for construction (CRZ is a policy restricting any construction in distance of 500 m along the coast line of Oceans ), then there was a regular news covered by all media & needless to say it’s about regularizing (read legalizing) all the constructions on govt land (don’t ask means what) & lastly one more news was there that as per data from eight major cities in the country the real estate developers (read builders) owe (read cheated) to the investors/ lenders & flat holders for near four lac crore rupees! Well, one will ask what’s relevance in this news as what policy making has to do with last news because real estate was always infamous for giving jitters to its money lenders! Indeed but truth is now a day’s its becoming more frequent & with big names also getting painted as bad when it comes to returning money of following commitments & it’s this aspect of real estate makes me share my views about policies!

For decades real estate or anything related to land or buildings was considered as money making business as land is limited but our needs related to lands are infinite! We need land to build our homes which in turn needs essential to luxury commodities which needs factories & factories needs roads, railways, wear-houses & then people living in these homes as well working in factories needs schools, malls, hospitals (well gardens & forests too) & recreation things.! So we need land & its limited as you can’t create land in any factory but yes you can use the available land for its maximum potential & for that you need to make policies & here is where the chaos started! As people (read builders) started realizing it’s the polices which can make land potential increase & then rest of the policy makers also soon realized that actually they are the one who are creating virtual lands via FSI/TDR/TOD/Paid FSI tags & builders are making money! So the policy makers once got wise with this knowledge started making policy for individual city or suburb (read as per the demand & not need) & then finally "Mai Baap Sarkar" awakened that if everybody related to land policies is making money why cant govt also make some!
Till that time so much of burden (read financial burden) has been added on the land, both i.e. land rate first & that of FSI as well expenditure in generating that FSI, that the homes has become out of reach for the buyers as however luxurious & best quality homes you build & with world class amenities with investors money pumped in, yet finally you need some family to actually buy it & live in that home! And when with all these policy makers ( read all segments connected to land) wanting their cut from the money which actually was going to come from the pocket of this home buying family, they realized there are no or very few families who can actually buy their dream home! And this is why the last news is related to all other policy news i.e. builders owing crores of rupees to investors as well flat holders! 

Because if you go through last decade especially regarding polices then it’s not, “Ease of Doing Business” but “Ease of Not Doing Business” is the scene! You don’t believe my words, then above two polices are best example! As for so many years there was no construction allowed along coast line of sea-shores up to 500 m & its huge area & suddenly when all such lands poor land owners must have sold with frustration as its of no use; then one fine morning govt announces, yes you can build in the zone which was supposed to be No Development Zone for years! Don’t tell me how many original land lords or aspiring builders will be benefitted with this but a handful of big sharks that must have swallowed these lands already for their rosy development dreams! I can see the tag lines, “sip first cup of your morning tea with sound of waves” or “why you need a bathroom in your home when you have entire beach as your bath room” types! And it’s obvious this money from the changed land use will go to lucky few as well the govt as there will some hefty premium for allowing buildings here in CRZ! But the very same govt takes different stand about the rivers which are finally going to merge in the oceans only, see the joke, around the rivers which carries water to the oceans, construction has been banned but around the ocean itself it’s been opened & for decades it was vise e versa & then most of the cities in the State are around some river is also a fact!  Now don’t ask what happens to the person who has bought land around the rivers considering the then present rules were allowing construction along the banks of the river barring a stretch of some 25 m wide! All such builders are doomed & their only fault was they thought the policies made by govt are like engravings on rock (read unchangeable), well it’s not, policies made by govt (about real estate at least) are writings in sand, which can get blown by wind or washed away by waves, is the bitter fact & that’s one of main reason of down fall of real estate at least in this State!

And if this is State wide scene let’s see what happening on policies regarding real estate at our Intelligent, Smart, Oxford of West & Cultural Capitol of State City, yes I meant Pune! Right from TOD (Well, Transportation Oriented Development is long form) FSI to not allowing TDR on 6m wide road (and yet making them 9m), to parking policy to premium rates to ban on constructions adjoining the nallaahs (yes they were streams some years back), to ban on construction along foot hills (and lifting it too), to redevelopment of ULC affected societies; the real estate in city is confused, devastated, frustrated & yes helpless about the policies on this front! Feather in the cap is Aviation Ministry’s NOC for buildings above certain heights & reason is threat to airports in & around Pune. Well, many came to know that NDA (National Defense Academy) has air port also which actually is an air strip. Nobody denies the importance of our defense establishments yet for so many years these airports were & are here & so was development but I don’t remember any threat to them. And then out of blue we come with a policy to protect these air ports, that’s fine, issue is the way such policies are framed & implemented without any system in place causing delays & distress only for the real estate! As who decided the zones regarding height restrictions, what kind of survey has been done, what about Pune’s  basic ground contour as this is city of hills so the average ground level varies largely from suburb to suburb, many such questions are there which has been either ignored deliberately or negligently, And then no system is in place to measure the height of building from mean sea level, certify it & issue NOC in time but one has to go via grinding process involving agencies like Geographical Survey of India & “Baap of All” i.e. Defense Ministry, both of them gives damn to the development of the city rather considers it as virus in the body! With all latest technology like Google Maps at hand why we still need basic certification like height from ground level from some govt institute which has been forgotten its own purpose of existence, is I will ask! Instead ask any of these defense officers or even Geographical Survey’s officers which are supposed to give NOC for height for buildings in Pune, that while driving in some new city does they refer their own dept’s maps or Google map & their reply will say all! 

Outcome is one more NOC has been added in endless list of such documents required to get sanctions for a building & one more expense head too got added for the that family which will be making home in this building. Problem is not with NOC’s, problem is the system involved in giving such NOC’s as why can there be Single Window at local sanctioning authority (read PMC/ PCMC/ PMRDA) for every such NOC! But then in this country you don’t ask such question & definitely not if you are a builder by yourself as the PMC itself can’t run Single Window within its jurisdiction, thinking of applying it for the organizations out of PMC is something which I would not dare to even dream! And another side of this coin is which dept (read system) will miss to have a cut in the cake (read real estate) by allowing some other organization getting their NOC’s rights!

And on all this back ground there was a news in which our Hon PM is saying real estate prices has came down & that’s success of the policies by the govt & that’s why today’s youths can fulfill their dream of owning a home! Indeed real estate prices has come down but it’s not just policies success but somewhere its outcome of the greed of the builders as well everyone related to real estate is one main reason to make the homes out of budget of genuine buyers & slowing down the sales; which is main reason of fall in real estate prices! As this is desperate effort by the builders frustrated (read defeated) by real estate related policies, who are in cash crunch due to slow down of entire process of manufacturing of the homes which is making them sale at prices even lower than manufacturing costs! At the same time the scene on other side is millions of people in every city (even the above eight cities in news) needs their home & want to buy it & can’t buy a legal home so are succumbing to illegal homes which eventually gets regularized via some policy only! 

Hon PM Sir, we have all respect of your efforts for making homes available to all the countrymen but then for that you need to make a comprehensive policy by which the real estate itself should feel that this is an affordable business in first place, is what I will request to look in!  Or else the day is not long where affordable homes’ (read any type of homes) policies will be there but no makers will be around to build those homes!  
-- 
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

Monday, February 4, 2019

Broken Cycles, Burning Buses & Smart Citizens!





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 Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work”… Vince Lombardi.
Vincent Thomas Lombardi was an American football player, coach, and executive in the National Football League. Well, few personalities can’t be measured in words & so was Vincent i.e. Vince as he was a wonderful human being & a great coach, who could make champions out of common men! It’s his above quote which shows his clarity of mind to achieve success as a team because what is a society but a team in nut shell! Though when this society is of our beloved Pune city, (Smart City too) then I doubt neither the citizens nor the rulers have ever heard name of Vince or else they would have at least some sense in displaying commitment towards the city as a society! I know, many die hard Punekar’s won’t like my statement but look at the news in recent & from both sides i.e. as citizens attitude as well rulers (well that we know, yet) regarding our so called civic sense or culture or duty towards city, whatever you call it & then I am sure you will understand what I want to put forward!

First is news about the two private companies (well needless to say both foreign cos’) who has been generous (read fool) enough to lend thousands of good condition cycles for the citizens of this city & at very cheap rate some Rs 10 per hour (pardon me if wrong but it was cheap) has decided to wind up this scheme which was floated under Smart City Mission (well it’s still on). And reason is negligent (read criminal) attitude of citizens towards these cycles as well the rulers who were supposed to keep control on such citizens! By now most of you have seen the new green/blue colored cycles parked on footpaths (where else as no place was planned for them) of every suburbs as how can one ward (read Mananiya i.e. Corporators) be left behind from others when it’s displaying the love & affection for city & citizens. Even when it’s fixing of benches or garbage bins or paver blocks on footpath, like plague suddenly entire city seems to have new ones & cycles weren’t exception to this rage! And then media also was publishing snaps of every kinds from the society riding these cycles may it be University Campus or suburb like Baner, suddenly for a while it seemed that entire city has time travelled few decades back & bicycles are replacing all other vehicles! But as usual this was just a fashion wave & just like any new fashion vanishes from the window display of shops; these cycles started being found anywhere but under the riders bottoms! Again media started publishing snaps of these cycles in garbage, in nallahs (there are many in the city), in slums & many were in damaged situation! This was & is true color of the city which takes pride to call itself Cultural Capitol of the State!

Let’s see what went wrong with the "Cycle for all" scheme as it’s said every failure has seeds of success ahead but provided we nourish those seeds & not kill them by ignoring which we are expert at in Pune! First of all there was no planning as usual before launching this cycle project as right from the place to park these cycles to which category these cycles (read users) have been targeted at, nothing was thought of! And what was not thought of is attitude of we the People (read Indians) as when we get something as public property then it’s nobody’s property is what we feel & use it accordingly! Here we don’t spare our Gods’ premise as its public property making it dirty by every possible way, how then the cycle like thing we would have spared! So the first mistake was relaying on the goodness (read social responsibility) of Pune public & making them available cycles with nobody to own them! Then the billing system is way hi-tech i.e. Wi-Fi or internet or online payment types; keeping due respect for "Achee Din" how many people who are required to use cycle for their day to day living can use online payment? And then there was no decided or fixed pick up & drop location (read shelter), outcome is we could find cycles after use parked (read thrown) anywhere in the city even in nallahs! And lastly there was no one to keep control on any of the misuse of the cycles, remember we are dealing with citizens who don’t follow  traffic signals unless there is a police man that too in uniform, these very citizens throw garbage in their own city’s river right standing under the board “Keep you river clean”, its these citizens only who ride their vehicle in BRT lanes (though BRT itself is a joke) & never bothers about driving in one way from wrong direction, lastly this city’s residents needs to get fined for not wearing helmet for their own safety! Well, do you think with all such attitude some else would have been fate of the free cycles!

I wonder when we try to make this city Smart, why we forget what we are in first place! However you push or train a donkey yet it will never win a Derby race for you, is a basic fact, isn’t it? Keeping due respect for intentions of the civic body (read PMC) & its bosses to promote the use of cycles in city, all they could have done is use the man power which we have got in abundance. Many who are in there 40 plus age must be remembering cycles were available on deposit of mere rs 10 as well per hour rent Rs 2.0  (yes you read it right, rs 2 only) just few decades back & most people using them & returning the cycle one piece. On same line there are so many youths unemployed, all PMC could have done is outsource all these cycles to few of the youths & make them available at a fixed rate pet under strict manual control, so issue of cycle would have been with a fear in mind of the user that he has to use it responsibly & give back the cycle in time & in proper condition as he is answerable to someone while taking service of such cycles! Instead the civic body went on trying for hopeless solution like make the cycles available with online payment controlled locking system (by use of mobile phones); & we have seen outcome of it! In this city, people try to break the ATM machines which have CC TV & Security guards & you were hoping for these very people will use cycles with no owner actually, by paying on line; whom you are fooling but our own selves! I am sincerely sorry if I have hurt feeling of sincere Punekars’ as not all citizens are that bad but let me know if one sentence what I have wrote above is false or has put forward wrong facts! We can’t digest free meals is a fact & with failure of cycle renting system we once again proved it. I hope the civic body has learnt its lesson by both service provider companies in cycle scheme has winded up the project & in future will improve, as that’s all I can do! Why the rulers who makes such polices doesn’t take in confidence some business minded people (read Credai) who might have been guilty of making some money but are experienced in carrying out any idea successfully & make it sustainable commercially too! Yes I am referring to associations like CREDAI, CCI Or MCHI, even Merchants Association, as its these people who cares for city & knows a how to execute a venture without going in loss yet achieving the target. They all would have told, this idea of making cycles available with on line payment system & nobody to own them is bound to fail!

And then the target of making these cycles available was to reduce the burden of two & four wheelers from the roads but have the people (read citizens) of this category used these cycles to go their destinations? Answer is big No, all the use of such cycles was by few students & just for fancy or fun for joy ride! Because in this city, where space to ride these cycles safely is; is the question I will ask to entire city as can somebody provide the realistic condition of so called Cycle Tracks in city. Just by marking some paint strips on footpaths & putting signage it doesn’t makes cycle track, but who will tell this to our rulers! As every footpath as well so called cycle tracks has been encroached by parking of vehicles & all sorts of street businesses (anda bhurji, hawkers, CD sellers are few) & the poor cyclists has no choice but put his life in danger by driving among the bigger vehicles & their lawless drivers! Just try cycling through the ocean of vehicles in this city & surrounded by smoke from their exhausts & you will know why no working man or woman can dare to use cycle even for going to work! Till we don’t make dedicated cycle tracks its dangerous to use cycles in this city unless you don’t have any option is what most people thinks as you can’t go to office all sweating & with face covered by dust & smoke fumes, if at all you reach safely! Ideally these cycles could have used to commute from home to nearby public transport station may it be PMPML or Metro (when it will come) or even a rickshaw stand then there might (just hope) have been more takers but…

…But once again we are back on two wheelers & four wheelers & till the first Metro starts running in city (keep dreaming), let’s keep tangled in “break, clutch, gear” named hell with pollution levels from the exhaust of the vehicles going to new high every day! By the way if we the citizens’ are responsible for cycle scheme failure (more than civic body I meant) then our dear PMC/PCMC are not behind when it comes to irresponsibility towards the city. As the latest news coverage leader is PMPML (I still like the name PMT) with every day busses not just breaking down on roads but actually burning (read catching fire)! I think with nearly fifteen to sixteen odd cases in a year of busses catching fire while they are in running on roads we can name the PMPML busses as the infamous mutant character from Hollywood “Ghost Rider”, whose bike burns like hell while he rides it & leaves fire marks behind! Only difference the Ghost rider is immune to fire but the commuters on PMPML busses are normal humans who do get burnt by fire! And this is just one example of negligence towards public transport by civic body which is so keen to make people use less of their automobiles. The lesser we speak or write about public transport & its service to commuters, is better as the only effect it makes on readers (and writer’s too) is their BP shoots up!

Very very high time fellow citizens’ (And CREDAI as well MCHI & others) to get united & raise our voice as not just real estate but entire city’s fate lays on all these aspects which on face are minor & we ignore them as one more failure (fiasco) of civic body! Well, it’s not as these small failures are warning bails of a Tsunami which is in waiting as today already there is no space on road to move & even a distance of four to five km is taking some thirty odd minutes & more. Do mind the day is not long when every road & lane will be choked by our vehicles & even to get on the roads from doors of our society will become impossible & that day every trade of this city will become as stand still as the traffic on road & we only will be responsible for that; because our fault is we kept mum when we could have made difference, Smart Citizens we are!

-- 
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.
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