Saturday, March 30, 2019

GST, Real Estate & Government!






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“This is a question too difficult for a mathematician. It should be asked of a philosopher"(when asked about completing his income tax form)”  Albert Einstein.

Well, even the greatest mind on the earth was helpless when its understanding the tax (income or any) he has to pay & I am happy at least on this front (read at tax front) we as a country are at par with the most powerful, sought after for living country, yes I am referring to the USA! So, no wonder the term Tax itself is enough to send jitters in mind of even the salaried class & needless to say what it must be making to the business people! Off-late we (read our rulers, means govt) are obsessed with the term “Ease of Doing Business” but please don’t ask what it actually means as like cold or warmth, this is something not just the person in business but everyone associated with the business has to feel it instead describing it! And when we say someone is a businessman then how you define it; is it just his balance sheet which reveals that he is a business man or he has to be an industry or unit or a shop or what? Well, by me a business man (read business woman also) is the one who has to generate him own earning by himself for his or her earning (read survival); in nut shell nobody gives him some assured fixed salary per month or year or even per day! With due respect to every salaried person, I don’t mean that getting salary is easy or of less dignity than being a business-man; what I want to put forward is definition of business man as I represent that class! And when this business is related to Real Estate then the taxation thing become more complex, it’s like the “Chakravuva” (strategic arrangement of the army which holds a warrior’s progress) of Mahabharat & you feel like Abhimanyu who has entered in it but now left all alone to get out of it & just like the Abhimanyu’s end most business men (read entrepreneurs) ends up getting defeated by this Tax named Chakravivyua!

Sorry if I sounded a bit melodramatic but as an engineer I have been always poor with financial figures & taxation too! Yet you can’t say I don’t know swimming when accepting profession on a Ship, same way trying my bit with the figures as well taxation & realizing the maze it has become here! To start with & yes keeping all respect for the intentions of govt for bringing in GST for real estate but as usual it’s the implementations which makes the real mess. Let’s see what was scene before GST in real estate, not that it was very clear as we had VAT i.e. Value Added Tax (I really get confused with such terminologies) which is applicable on every purchase of any goods. And then there was Service Tax which is for any service offer i.e. where labor or man hours are involved. So on any deal these two taxes were applicable & we are right now referring to just work related taxation. Indeed this system was creating bit confusion as VAT was State Govt tax & Service Tax was Central Govt’s making it necessary for every real estate man (read builder) to get two registrations & file separate returns for both heads. Also there was confusion on getting rebate on collected VAT & Service Tax from the customers’ i.e. home buyers. This is one more thing I never understood as why there has been rebate policy why there can’t be one simple plain method of taxation for all transactions! And then somewhere in 2016 both VAT & ST are abolished & one combine tax has been created i.e. GST. This GST was also different on different goods i.e. for cement if its 17% then for sand it was 12% creating confusion in the for all the builders as how you work out production cost, why there can be one percentile for one industry, no logic or at least I didn’t got it! And then for the finished product i.e. flats (read as homes) it was 12% which was big burden for a product as costly as home; and this was supposed to be charged by the builder to the flat buyer on sale value of the flat. Joke is then the builder has to pass on the savings he has made on the GST he has saved (god knows what & how) on the purchases or services during the construction to the flat buyers after the completion of the project. And here completion means not construction aspect but the balance sheet aspect. But what if a builder passed on some part of saved GST to the flat buyer (only if the builder is able to work it out) & then in scrutiny which going by the govt standards happens two or three years down the line after the project is completed & the tax dept demands more tax from the builder? From whom he will collect it then? Well, you don’t ask such questions here if you want to become a builder is the answer! And on top of it there was zero GST for completed projects. This hit the builders two ways as its big saving (near 8% even after rebate) for the flat buyers to go for ready possession homes as well how then the builder would get rebate on his spent GST on the construction processes? No answer again & things in real estate came to stand still!

Our “Mai Baap” govt woke up finally on the cry of builders (yes even builders can cry) & came up with 5% GST for flats (homes) instead of 12%. But then govt didn’t want to lose the money so it added one more condition to this correction (how I love these conditional things with govt policies!) & that was if a builder charge 5% GST to his flat buyer then he won’t be allowed to clam any rebate for the GST he has paid for the construction materials & services. In nut shell if average GST paid by the builder is some 12% on the entire construction cost then he has to bear it from his pocket! Now show me any Raja Harishchandra (a mythological figure famous for his kindness) who will bear any burden on spending from his pocket & why one should! Indeed we are in business & I agree that greed should not rule our business philosophy but then the philosophy in first place needs to be survived for that, isn’t it? I think with all respect again for good intentions of the govt, this fact about making the businesses survive first is what govt needs to understand before coming up with any policy! Time & again real estate’s main demand was, take the key people (read businessmen in real estate) in confidence before bringing any policy especially as sensitive as GST & there are still good builders around who knows about doing fair business for giving proper suggestions! Agreed the country if going through a transition & considering size as well diversity here, no change will be possible over-night but at least we can make that change happen smoothly! As what is the logic for applying GST for ongoing projects & zero GST for completed project I really fail to understand. Because when the product is costly as a home & when we speak about affordable homes where every rupee counts its obvious that the customer will go only for ready-made (read completed home) if he is saving few lacs of rupees in form of GST! But then by doing so we are breaking backbone of real estate industry as from where the developer will be getting the money; as the Banks won’t give loan to buy the land & customers won’t book in ongoing projects because to save GST! Has the financial wizards in govt thought this will make developers to bend knees in-front of the private financers (loan sharks actually) & borrow at very high rate risking the project itself going in loss or adding production cost which in actual is going to be paid by the so called affordable home’s buyers only!

What govt has failed to understand about real estate is unlike other industries; here the product is not getting ready over night with increasing machinery. Right from obtaining hundreds of NOC’s, which includes environment to aviation ministry (thank God yet Space Ministry is not involved) to getting land possession & many more NOC’s during construction, the entire process of completing one product goes on for more than two years (minimum time). And during this if you change the tax calculation system type basic thing then it hampers the industry very badly as right from CAs’ to even taxation authorities all are confused about how to charge, what to charge & whether charged (read collected) taxes are right! And on such background where profession experts as well tax authorities are confused how you can expect the developers who are most illiterate (sorry, I meant not much exposed to finance field) can work out their balance sheet calculation & then are we not surrendering entire home buyers to such lot who doesn’t even know whether their project will make profit or loss!

And then GST is just one of the bites which govt is taking from the cake (rotten it is now) named real estate as no other industry (read finished product) apart from tobacco & liquor industry is as tax burdened as real estate is a harsh fact! If you don’t believe, then see this; we have to pay nearly 8% GST (correct me if I am wrong) with this new no rebate GST policy. Then there is stamp duty & registration on land as well flats build on it which is nearly 8% in Pune (thank you Metro)! Then per sq ft of built-up area local bodies (PMC/PCMC) collects approximately Rs 200- 500 per sq ft making it nearly 5% to 10% of sale rate & then if at all you make some profit there is income tax also! So whatever sale revenue is the govt (it includes all head under the name) more that 25% of this & yet blames builder for making money more than he deserves! And oh yes, don’t forget the step-daughterly treatment by Nationalized Banks when it’s funding to real estate (read builders). As the govt takes lead in making surviving Industries like Aviation & Steel, by intercepting with Bank’s procedures, I don’t remember the very same govt ever tried with such softness for some builder! Look at the interest rates charged by the banks while financing to the builders (if at all they finance in first place) its nearly double than hospitality as well agro industries & then this interest burden is one more huge expense for the builder’s balance sheet! It was true that builders have earned a lot but that was glorious past & then govt has also earned out of that cake (read real estate) when it was fresh, isn’t it? Now when you want to regularize real estate like any other industry then what’s wrong in expecting fair treatment also along with, like other industries enjoys from the “Mai Bapp Sarkar”! Levy taxes on us but please simplify its working system & percentage should be rational is all real estate industry expects!

To conclude about taxation on real estate, I will just remind the govt about a tale from “Isap Niti” (a book of folk tales) regarding the Greedy Owner & his Hen giving one Golden Egg each day! Do I need to explain the resemblance here & who is playing what role when its taxation on real estate; the Hen (read real estate) is still able to deliver daily a silver egg if not golden but can’t change its fate if the owner wants to eat chicken only than be satisfied with daily a egg!
 -- 
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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For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

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Saturday, March 23, 2019

TOD, TDR, FSI & City!





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“A government big enough to give you everything you want, which in actual is a government big enough to take from you everything you have”… Gerald R. Ford.
Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. was an American politician who served as the 38th president of the United States from August 1974 to January 1977. Before his accession to the presidency, Ford served as the 40th vice president of the United States from December 1973 to August 1974. Ford was Lt. Commander in US Navy also before joining politics & that’s why he can bluntly say above words about govt from public forum! I wonder how many our politicians (read rulers) can dare to do so but then they do know that’s the truth at least when it giving something as big as Metro to the Pune city! Well, I am not sarcastic but recently reading (read facing) the policies of the govt (and I am not referring to any political party but the govts’; past present & future too) I am not just getting sarcastic but frustrated, angry, defeated & what not! Still if you don’t believe me then read the recent news about TOD or Paid FSI or Premium FSI or TDR ; sorry, if you are lucky enough you haven’t heard about it then no matter you can ignore all this stuff but by chance you are any way related to real estate then god bless you can’t ignore it. And yes even if you are aware citizen (jagruk nagrik) then also you should not ignore as all these terminologies may not bother you today directly but yours as well your city’s (i.e. Pune) fate is directly connected to all this!

And let me explain what all these terms mean & it’s not any rocket science but are simple terminologies complicated by the policy makers. First of all you all must have been knowing that “Mai Baap” govt is coming up with many big things (read projects) for us the people! Like Metro (its type of rail-way for the city), then HCMTR means it’s an elevated road passing through the city to divert the traffic from the city center without obstructing city traffic (amazing idea isn’t it?) then we have BRTS i.e. Bus Rapid Transit Route means dedicated routes (road/lanes whatever you call it what’s the difference it makes!) & there is a Ring Road (rather two ring roads) for the entire Pune region. And all these things (read projects) are to make Pune’s citizen’s life comfortable & they do need lots of money & main issue is govt, neither State or PMC/ PMRDA/ PCMC don’t have money to build these projects! But that doesn’t mean the govt should abandon its citizens & make them suffer with poor infrastructure, so the govt has come up with this idea of all above terms which all in nutshell meant just one this that it,  Buildable Area! So TOD means Transport Oriented Development by virtue of which govt can make policies to generate money for transportation related projects as well to make operation of these facilities profitable. Means, you will build a Metro but what will happen if there are not enough people to travel by this Metro, how the Metro will survive then? So, you need people & lots of them to reside around the Metro track & these all people will need homes, isn’t it? So the govt allows more home to build around the Metro under the TOD by generating FSI i.e. Floor Space Index to build these additional homes. Here the word Space in FSI is the only virtual as there said buildable area (FSI) is going to be utilized on the available space only because unfortunately however big (read powerful) the govt may be it just can’t generate the land i.e. space around the Metro or BRTS or HCMTR or the Ring Road, so it generated virtual Space!

Fine, no more sarcastism for all these noble thinking of the govt but problem is as usual the way these noble thoughts are converted in to the policies!  As first of all let’s put behind now the basic thought which comes to my mind that we need more travelers i.e. homes or citizens whatever you call it for the Metro to be profitable (to start I am considering only Metro) or we need money to build the Metro. For what we are adopting this TOD policy for creating more homes with the additional FSI as this question is the key to our problems. Because if we wasn’t having enough travelling population for Metro then why we thought of having a Metro in first place? And then if we want money to be raised to build the Metro then is giving additional FSI along the Metro route itself only viable option available? Why can we give additional FSI in the periphery of say five kilometers circle beyond the Metro terminals where land is available & proper infra can be developed? And here you give 4 FSI under TOD by which more homes can be created & the raised money via premiums charged for this FSI utilization can be used for Metro building. And along the Metro route give additional TDR & use that money to acquire other reservations in the city which will be going to be of equal need in future for the increased population as all this population living in the homes created by 4 FSI won’t be traveling twenty four hours in Metro only! They will need roads, gardens, cinema halls, hospitals, schools, mall & many such things, yes offices also & oh yes water, drainage, power, and internet too! From where we will be creating all this, we (read govt) will be having neither money nor space to accommodate all this!

Well, let’s keep behind this as Metro is already rolling (read work has started) so we can’t undo it but at least we can change the policies related to money generation for building it as well future operations. Now let’s see what was the scene before Metro (read TOD) came in the picture rather let’s see what’s difference between TOD premium FSI as well TDR & paid FSI, I meant the earlier category?  Before the Metro, PMC was allowing TDR i.e. FSI i.e. buildable potential rights on any plot from 1.4 times to nearly 2 times i.e. as per the size & road frontage of the plot. This too was in debate as for the plots with fronting road’s width below 9 meters, on such plats no TDR was allowed making many plots in the city area unviable for TDR. Again the logic given then was to reduce the future congestion on city roads due to increased traffic by this additional TDR building. Now don’t ask what will happen to entire city with nearly three fourth of the city getting 4 FSI! Sorry, no sarcastism I have promised, yet can’t help; anyways now issue is the charges (read money) generated through this 4 FSI which will be recoved from the builders of such projects (read flat buyers). As TDR was generated by acquiring the reservation lands in the PMC area as govt don’t have money to buy such lands but now when the builder or society or the land lord will get 4 FSI under TOD then who will give his or her land under reservation in lieu of TDR, is the question people are asking! And at the same time there was paid FSI provision already with PMC which was up to 2 times of the net plot area & joke is the rates charged for this paid premium FSI by PMC has been increased by 30% for the 4 TOD FSI & if the use is IT i.e. Information Technology Parks the these premiums has been hiked by nearly 150%! So the govt want to make the cake, eat it & yet keep some reserve also! Wow, great, you want 4 FSI then pay for it, fine but why one should buy such high rate FSI when he can get cheaper paid FSI by PMC or FSI generated by TDR? Don’t worry the govt has answer to that also (remember quote of Mr. President of USA?) & answer is if you are unlucky to have plot in Metro zone (well that’s another joke, will explain) then you can’t have paid FSI or TDR or there are restrictions to use that so you have to buy 4 FSI at the rates govt has described! And most importantly what about the land rates which will be demanded by such lands whose Smart Land Lords knows now that their land’s potential is increased by 4 times by the govt! So after buying land at such high rate will it be viable for the category of people who will travel by Metro, to live in these houses by paying the prevailing market rate which will be sky high with all this loading of expenses!

If, by now you head is spinning by reading all these stuff (imagine you are just a citizen; think what the builders, architects, city planners must be going through!) then take a commercial break, watch some Netflix series & start reading again! So, by now you have understood there are three types of FSI’s in one city & all three has different rates charged by the govt for allowing its use. And this too has been published now i.e. after Metro work has started & nearly one year back. Look at our vision, that we knew Metro is going to come some five years back but we couldn’t decide how the money is going to be raised for the same! It’s like we have a son & we know some day we are going to educate him, then get him married but we don’t know how he will raise his family post marriage or what will happen to our grandsons! As we are yet deciding how we will get him married in first place; same is the situation about Metro is what I feel! And then in one city as we have two development plans we have two policies for utilizing TOD generated FSI also (thank god, consistent we are, at least in making confusing polices, I must say!) because in PMC limit 4 FSI will be given in 500 meters circle of Metro stations & in PMRDA limits it will 500 meters all along the metro track, wonderful! Btw if a plot is unfortunate enough & coming in between two circles of Metro stations then even though it’s right on Metro track it won’t get 4 FSI is it(those who knows a bit of geometry can imagine what I want to say)? And then on top of this apex is confusion in parking provisions for the buildings with 4 FSI as how we will be accommodating parking for all these homes as if you have any doubts then ask any builder can he sale even a 1 bhk flat without car park or ask any flat buyer that will he buy a flat without the car park, there lies the answer in failure of the 4 FSI policy which is written on the wall but we are avoiding to read it!

I am not that fanatic types environmentalist neither I am against any development but high time especially about our so called Smart City as what we are going to make her end as! Because on one side rates of properties are stand still or going down yet on other side flat buyers are unable to buy even at so low rate! This means only one thing the product we call home is unviable for both i.e. makers as well the buyers & this is failure of policy makers only! Call it TOD or Paid FSI or TDR, question I want to ask the govt is what you want as end result while creating all these terminologies as if as govt your target is to make money for yourself only then nothing is going to work because in the process the policies become useless for all the users! Instead what I will suggest to the govt is, to become builder by yourself then as a govt you only give contract to the existing builders to build the homes & build as much with 4 or 6 FSI & the way you want & sale at whatever rate you can & then use that money (if at all it comes) to build Metro, Ring Road, HCMTR & what not! Only thing is then there will be lots of homes available & by luck (read out of helplessness) you may get people to buy them also but will there be life in those homes, is what I will ask!
-- 
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

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Tadoba, Changing Lives!






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“There is nothing like the thrill of walking through the jungle looking for a tiger and knowing they could be watching you already”… Ashlan Gorse Cousteau.

Ashlan Gorse Cousteau is an American entertainment journalist and explorer. She is known for her work with E! News, Discovery Channel and Travel Channel! Married Philippe Cousteau Jr. and they have produced and appeared together in several educational and environmental television programs & no wonder her work has taken her to many forests especially to the Indian Forests as her above words exactly describes the forests where tiger roams! And what better place there can be than Tadoba to live by her words as it’s here you see tigers in more abundance than any other forest (with heavy heart I am saying this as my first love is Kanha) & I mean it after visiting most tiger habitats in the country! And come March which I personally feel the best season to visit Tadoba & that’s for two reasons, first is its exam time so even if on-line bookings shows full yet actually turning is less that of enthu tourists whose only interest is tiger sighting. And second is the weather is just perfect, as at morning when you enter in park at 6.30 am its cozy chill in air & breeze, the sky is clear blue for photography & even when the sun rises up in sky still it’s not harsh as in April or May. Though it does get hot enough for tigers as well other animals to take resort at the water bodies, so there is lots of action at water holes in late mornings as well evening safaris which you can observe at leisure. And then for Choti Tara as well Maya (they are tigresses btw) posing for cameras is favorite time pass so that way season doesn’t affects their show. Sorry if I am sounding like Tadoba is some zoo & tigers makes show there but it’s not, I had taken full day safari & six rides in May & yet didn’t get to see a single tigress as after all its tiger & he (or she) gives us sighting only when our luck permits. Though as I have shared earlier also, when a tigress is with cubs then her movements gets restricted as she can’t move far away from the cubs & once you get her whereabouts (from guides & drivers obviously) then it’s safe to spend some time at such location. And if you lucky then chances are there to capture tigress or the cubs & if you are even more lucky then you might get information about the kill & then more the chances.

And this time we were surely more lucky as because of late reaching at Moharli, its slight delay for us to enter for first safari yet its 6.45am & its light cool breeze as the gipsy started moving the Tadoba forest came to greet us with open arms & I feel at home immediately. Even after so many years visiting forests yet when first safari enters through the gate my excitement is same as when I have seen first time a forest & when its Tadoba then anything can happen any moment! So was this first safari of the tour & when you are with likeminded friends then more the fun as the excitement gets multiplied & everybody starts pointing at some bush thinking he or she saw or hear something! My forest group was no exception, hemangi, saleel, aarti , shilpa & myself, though a bit cramped in one gypsy yet forest does makes you forget every discomfort is one more good thing about it! Well, this is one reason one should visit forests as it does cuts you off totally by body & mind not just from outer world but from even the person sitting next to you & he or she doesn’t mind it is the best part of it as he or she also is witnessing the same forest hypnotizing effect! In a way it’s like Meditation or Vipashyana as you are totally with yourself & become part of the nature (off-course if you enjoy forest then only or else I have seen people snoring & dead asleep on safaris, god forgive them is all I will say)! And we were told that Choti Tara has three cubs of some six months old & has made recent kill of Sambhar deer on Gosekhanar road. This is indeed her favorite territory as this road passes through bamboo thickset which is best hide-inn for the cubs as while so young the cubs are most vulnerable to attacks by smaller predators like jackals or leopards or even another male tiger as the two cubs out of three are male cubs! And by keeping them deep in bamboos tigress can move around for kill (hunting) as well eat it at peace. Here is where luck in forest matters as I will tell what happened ahead; the gypsy was on gosekhanar road where the kill was done & after khatoda gate (well there is a gate within the main moharli gate which only forest dept knows why), actually there is no need of any such gate as if you come by any other gate than moharli you need not have to make entry twice! And after making entry we headed to gosekhanar road & to our expectation soon we were looking at tail lamps of gypsies’ ahead, means tiger is there! Best part to my surprise was the gypsies were moving ahead at slow place yet moving means tiger was on move as we come closer towards the point where most cameras were focused I could see the reason of vehicles moving, dy. director of park was there with his vehicle parked & that’s why he was monitoring the traffic & it was great thing as Choti Tara has made a kill & had the officer not there then no gypsy would have moved making sighting to only few who were bang across her & soon that would have turned in arguments as well shouting from behind vehicles. But with this way all get to have a sighting & at peace. I think this is what the guides as well drivers must adopt by themselves but mostly they succumb to pressure from tourists (read photographers) and block entire way! Well, as I said even if you sight a tiger you need some luck along as in entire bamboo thickset there was an opening of say hardly 15 ft wide & tigress has dragged the kill right that spot giving all tourists perfect show of her lunch! Had she been sitting just few feet here or there then we would have been able to see her but no photograph would have been possible & this is what I call it lucky day! And on top of it when the mom was having her lunch the cubs gave us all the poses around her & the trip of foresters has started with a bang!  I repeat it’s not just the tiger sighting which makes forest but then you don’t get to see such scenes often is also a fact & tiger is brand ambassador of the forests is fact we can’t deny! One more thing which I came to know from the guides later, though we have had our quota of Tara & cubs few tourists wanted some more of her (I can’t blame them) & as this route was one way & the officer was not allowing to stay any gypsy more than some five minutes which is good, so they requested they will go all way ahead & come round back which is nearly some 20 km distance but to their surprise the concerned officer denied that reentering which by me is shocking! As why one can’t go & come back all the way round & do mind people come here for seeing tigers the govt, forest dept as well tourism dept advertises so; then what’s point in making such weird rules; I think senior people in forest dept must take round among tourists to understand issues which unnecessary creates negativity about not just the forest dept but entire experience in forest!

And then next three days we were Tadoba as when in forest many people I have seen that once they get sighting of the tiger usually lost the interest in further anything, agreed tiger has that effect on any mortal but then that’s the challenge in front of not just forest dept or guides but entire system which we call as wild life conservation to make the tourists feel the world of forest in totality. Rather I have all together different experience as when we sight a tiger that too very first hours of the first safari then the mood gets so elated that everything then  gets more beautiful! And this trip also wasn’t exception as with Tara & cubs we now moving with the way Poe the Panda moves with his tummy full! As I mentioned once the sun has come a bit up in the month of March its best time for birding & a bit late morning is time for raptors i.e. birds which hunts i.e. eagles, buzzards & such. These birds prefer to sit on atop of dry branch of a tree & gives best sighting with clear blue sky as the canvas! Actually all those who are regular visitors to the forests, birding is much more fun as well difficult for photography & Tadoba has got ample of birds too! As well Tadoba can surprise you with some unique sightings such as sloth bear or leopard though many of the tourists doesn’t understands importance of sloth bear sighting but let me tell you that is rare than tiger sighting as both these animals doesn’t have a fix destination or area & can wander anywhere. So sighting of bear or leopard is by chance only! And then while moving through forests one more thing you learn is fine tune your senses of smelling, hearing & looking! Because on the background of yellow-gray grass a small animal like gray mongoose searching its food can easily be over sighted & the trained eyes only can make you able to locate it & click! And this is why you need to have a good guide as well driver as their eyes & ears are trained to sight such small animals from a moving gypsy & after some time you also gets engrossed in that!

One such experience we got on very next day in buffer; for those who thinks buffer is some low type forest then behold as at Tadoba buffer zone which is outer part of core forest is more happening at present. Here the forest is dense, less travelled & with five tigresses & three of them with cubs, so you can imagine the action! On next morning as our gypsy was travelling through dense of buffer suddenly saleel & heamangi saw a gypsy standing beyond the dense foliage & its stillness told us what their eyes must be following, indeed a tigress was walking silently ahead that gypsy & this time I used a smaller lens to cover not just tiger but its entire surrounding. Nothing beats to look at a tigress walking in her own mood in her jungle & with the dense foliage around the whole scene was like some other planet! Best part came later we started following the tigress turning back & trying to track her movement using parallel routes. This is most fun that no alarm call at help as prey base is a bit less in buffer, the tigress’s territory is nearly some 30 sq km & she was on move to mark her territory. So we went ahead & started checking every cross path coming out of the foliage where she has vanished & then we spotted her coming out on a jungle track, that’s joy is no less than Columbus finding America! This time the tigress was coming towards us head on, every wild life photographers dream it is!

Then on the noon we again bumped with Choti Tara & her cubs with a road block as the gosekhanar road is one way & the family sat directly on road leaving no space for any vehicle to cross. At such time all one can do is waiting patiently & my experience is a tigress like Choti Tara never let your wait gets wasted! After some 49 minutes waits suddenly the gypsies ahead were rocking as the entire family walked past all the gypsies giving full sighting to all the eyes waiting for their glimpse, this is forest I told to myself! Actually sometimes camera is a botheration as you forget to enjoy the way drama unfolds in front of you but off-late I have learnt to keep camera aside for a while & keep looking at the object (read tiger) with bare eyes as these are the real take ways in form of the memory stored on hard disc of your brain! The cubs, hardly few months old are cute yet the stillness in their eyes warned their being tigers to every watcher! In summers the best time I always say is wait at water holes as lots of action happens there. Right from bison to wild boars to birds, every animal takes solace at water hole & in that process lot of action happens. One thing which is a bit funny is ban of cell phones on safaris in Tadoba. Agreed because of mobile cameras tourists tend to go close to the animals but at least the guides must have got cell phones as they can use the cameras to make documentation of many incidences in forest which is invaluable information. Or else with the help of NGO’s we can think of giving digital cameras to the guides of which they must give all the captures to forest dept at gate after each safari!
Another thing is we have to think of opening new routes or rotating the routes so new areas can be explored it will be interesting for the tourists as they will get to see more of variety in forest as well it’s like patrolling of the forest which will be great help for conservation. I think high time for forest dept to be a bit soft on such issues as do mind wild life conservation is not someone departments job but every person must be part of it & for that they has to be part of every corner of the forest. Indeed how to fit this in rule books is a tricky thing but rules are after all for conservation, isn’t it?

Actually six safaris is pretty short time in forest (well I doubt what number can satisfy me) yet the finest moment came when we were heading for tea break in buffer at Devada gate & as we approached the gate few gypsies were waiting for something (read tiger) & the tigress crossed the road right behind all the gypsies & the gate Disappointed faces went for tea stall at gate & I along with my friends headed for a souvenir shop on main road outside of the gate. There I met our another friend Anirudh Chaoji who is doing great job of conservation by actually staying at Tadoba giving up city life & do mind it does take hell lot gut to do that! While I was having cup of tea with anirudh, suddenly a shout came, “arr wo nikla tiger” & the tigress which has crossed behind the gypsies came on main Moharli-Chandrapur road & was crossing the road. Actually Tadoba buffer is divided for this road & it’s us, the humans recognize things like boundaries by gate & road type things while for the tiger all is his home. Fortunately my friend hemangi was carrying camera with her & in time I could click the tigress crossing main road. Many a times you don’t realize what you are clicking along with the object you are sighting & later when I checked the images, I could see the tigress was actually crossing from a zebra crossing & in the background a two wheeler guy (who was completely baffled by the sight of tiger on road) also has become part of the image, making all this lot more than normal tiger crossing image! Actually the entire drama lasted for merely two minutes but leaving behind life time memories for the lucky some fifty odd pairs of eyes; this is why we visit forests i.e. to take back such moments! There were few foreign tourists also & sure when they goes back to their countries they will tell, yes in India still tigers roam on the roads! When I posted tigress crossing main road on FB there were many comments especially about road kills of animals while crossing road. My observation is it’s not the people who live around the forests but the people who pass by as travelers are major issue. Especially the heavy vehicles drivers & their ignorance about responsibility towards the wild life is something we all need to work on!  As we can’t expect to guard every mile of the roads passing through the forests & animals won’t be able to understand our traffic rules so we together (read forest dept, transport ministry) can take awareness drive, high time for this initiative! As well make a proper guard rail or fence all along the roads in the stretch of forests, at least some lives will be saved! As govt spend millions on conserving forests as well tigers & other animals & one rash driver’s ignorance ruins it all is the sad fate of wild life which we only can change!

To conclude, recently I was watching advertise of Lufthansa air lines on TV & its tag line was “Some places do change your life”; though Lufthansa doesn’t fly to Tadoba but yes it does change my life every time a shade better when I visit here & I think that’s all I wanted to share!, Thank You Tadoba, till I came again, adieu !

You can visit some more moments at link below...

 -- 
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/

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Dubai, University of Development!
















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“An easy life does not make men, nor does it build nations. Challenges make men, and it is these men who build nations.”… Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Well, I would have been surprised has this not been the attitude of the man who has said it i.e. "Thaliava”, means in Tamil “The Boss”, of a dream we call Dubai! Actually its dream for many but it’s a very much reality for the people who live there in Dubai. One of my friend who is hundred percent Hindustani by Heart said to me in my recent trip that, “I Live in Mumbai outside of India & I am loving it, more with each day” & do mind he is living there since last eighteen years! Well, about me Dubai is the only city I have been visited four times in last five years & every time I wonder what should I write & it’s not in negative way I am saying it! I do love watching Hollywood as well Bollywood movies & reading articles about the same as movies are after all reflection of the society only! As I remember here reading an incidence by a celebrity when he has been asked to choose top ten songs by the legendary Lata Mangeshkar (please don’t ask who is she) & another lady singer who was supposedly compared with Lataji in 90’s. I am not mentioning her name as that will be injustice to her as whatever it may be I personally believe every artist is great at his or her place. After being asked, the celebrity jokingly said, “It’s difficult to mention Lataji’s best ten songs but more difficult is to name that other singers top ten songs, though the reasons are different!” It indeed was hitting below the belt as what he meant was Lataji is so great that to choose between her all songs top ten is difficult while the other singer is so bad that even her ten song choosing is also difficult for that! Indeed a bad example but while I share my experiences about Dubai trips I want to compare with Lataji’s songs i.e. such is every trips experience that I don’t know what I should write & from where as Dubai just like forest keeps changing & keeps surprising you every year if not day by its appearance rather presentation, I should say!

This time I was visiting Dubai after 15 months, more than a year & the World Trade Summit 2020 (Twenty Twenty they are calling it) is on the door step which will be held in Dubai! Indeed with slow down crisis all across the globe, Dubai also is not exception & its impact is showing on many fronts. For e.g. the buildings on main Sheikh Zayad road of the city which were under constructions last year are still not complete; which by Dubai’s standard is a slowdown is what I feel or else the city which has witnessed building world’s tallest building in just five years, does knows what speed is! And then the huge model of even more ambitious (read taller) project than of Burj Khalipha i.e. Creek Tower still was there in atrium of Dubai mall but the work at site wasn’t even has come up above ground! As a civil engg by myself I take pride in my profession as by mere looking at any ongoing site I can tell the scene about speed of the construction & I saw many buildings in my four day city tour where the work is either stalled or too slow! And then you can’t miss many “To Let” boards hanging on the shops even on main road. The scene in the malls wasn’t different as on Sunday, the Outlet mall was deserted which otherwise finds no place for parking! I had taken my nieces (actually it’s for them I went this time) to IMG Studio & the entire parking lot which can accommodate nearly 2000 plus cars was empty! The taxiwala said, “Sahab bahot mahenga rakha hai entry ticket, kaun aayega intana paisa kharacha karke”! Means entry ticket for the amusement park is way high & that’s why this isn’t doing well, was the feed back! And do mind it’s not some general amusement park with Merry-G0 -Rounds & Roller Coasters but its Marvel Studio & Cartoon Net Work association! In Dubai best way to gather information is taxiwalas as they know the pulse of the city & as most of them are from Indian Sub-continent i.e. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka & they feel comfortable to speak with us & in Hindi & always are happy when enquired about the scene around! Most of these hasn’t visited back home in last two or three years as they were uncertain about getting leave & the job back again on return!

Well, the scene wasn’t much different from our Pune city (I am not saying about country) where you ask any person whether he is happy with his job or trade or profession or business (read earnings) & you will get only complaints but here is where the similarities ends between Dubai & Pune! Indeed political as well social conditions are different but then business or trade (read money) recognize only one thing & that is opportunity & Sheikh Mohammad Maktoum believes that the opportunities has to be created instead waiting for someone to bring them to you! He is like one man army on a mission to turn the tables or say reverse the tide of slow down & he is not leaving any stone unturned. This is what makes Dubai special as right from extending Metro routes (in time) to getting newest attractions, Bollywood Studio is one latest, Sheikh Mohhamad knows that just shopping destination won’t make Dubai’s economy survive & the success of any city lies in creating opportunities mean jobs as well trading for every segment of the society! Because how many times an average tourist family will visit Dubai if it’s just shopping, once at the most twice but then they will discard the Dubai name from their travelling agenda is a bitter fact. But if a person gets job here or finds way to his skills then he will be forever spender in the city & this is what Sheikh is working on! And do mind this isn’t easy job as on one side you have to assure job or income to the citizens & on other side you need to provide them something which they don’t get at their native place & this is why you see lots of people from Asia or African sub continent settling down in Dubai but less Europeans of far Eastern countries like Japan or Korea! Because as my friend said, he (read his family) gets everything in Dubai which he wants & leaving the bad elements aside which are part of our country; corruption & absence of civic sense are to name at top of the list which is long! As the very same people who in India don’t wear helmet riding two-wheeler (rather proudly oppose it) & jump red signals or drives in wrong direction of one way, but here they do stop on red signal in Dubai even its past late night & theirs is single vehicle on road! Its these people only who allows their dog to poop right on middle of footpath here in Pune, carries poop picker while walking their dog in Dubai. If this is about civic sense then the govt here (in Dubai) when says ease of doing business, it means what it says & all the permissions of building sanction are given in 24 hours if your architect knows the bye-laws & makes the drawings pertaining to the laws! Here the govt (read Sheikh) makes the Laws understanding the outcome it will give & make sure that citizen follows the Law once made. It’s said that the locals (read Arabs) as well Sheikh’s family are above the law, well but then in our country it’s not just some families but most families consider themselves above the law is a fact, isn’t it? And then do mind I am not comparing us with any civilized European country but a country whose citizens were tribal & most illiterate lot just some fifty years back! So, to make them develop in a civilized law abiding society wasn’t easy job even with Sheikh’s tag on head!

And then speaking about development I saw hundreds of towers residential as well commercial coming up all around main city even in dessert! But, this but is important as at the distance of some 30km from the city center where the development at present seems to be cut-off by patches of sand unless a well build motorable road to the project as well water & drainage & power lines has been developed (read provided by the Dubai govt) no development permission is granted for even Sheikh’s family project! On this back-ground look at the scene here in our Smart City where projects gets completed & occupied & still we are unable to provide the residents water or power as PMC has no water & MSEB (I don’t like MSEDCL) has no electric meters! This is what Sheikh has done i.e. spend millions on creating infrastructure that too with fight against nature as imagine with nearly 40 inches of rain per year still Pune cries about less water whereas Dubai gets hardly 7 inch rain fall a year & with a strata of sand which absorbs water like sponge & doesn’t gives even a drop back! And then it’s not just water, road or power which makes people to come & live in the homes you have build, it takes much more than that & that is surrounding, social life & leisure activities; well Mr. Sheikh Mohammad understands this & taking steps for the same in Dubai! Right from building a canal through the city center which has become a wonderful socializing place for the entire city to creating gardens, natural habitat for birds to malls on outskirts of city like Outlet mall everything is being done by which citizens can spend their week end or free ours socializing with each other! The canal (water front) development itself has become one of the man-made wonder in dessert with wonderful walkways on both banks & foot bridges across it & yes dedicated cycle tracks too! Then there are places like Frame of Dubai, a nearly 400 ft tall free standing frame which you can go to the top & see Old Dubai on one side & new Dubai on other. Here they have displayed complete 3 D virtual presentation about what Dubai will be in 2050! One more thing is Gold Souk redevelopment or say, face lifting. It was oldest bazaar area of Dubai with cramped lanes & buildings leaning on each other & with thousands of gold smiths shops aligned along. This entire area has been made “no vehicle zone’ & converted in wonderful walk way like a plaza! Many such initiatives has been taken & more importantly executed!  Another aspect is public health & education, during this trip I saw more Hospitals than Hotels coming up in the city & that’s an important sign as health & education are the two things any man will need for his family while he settles in any city! One thing Dubai is promoting seriously & that is cycles; and when Sheikh puts a board on a track of cycle track it meant only cycles! At airport terminals the wall clocks in public areas are of Rolex, telling you richness of the city but more important is when you come out of flight & walk towards exit gate the Cycle Paintings on passage flooring greets you saying “This Way to the Happiest City”. This is main difference I observed (read felt) in recent trip of Dubai as no more it’s just shopping or fun destination but the target is make the city happy & that’s possible only by making lives of citizens happy!  Many people comments, what we can do here, what’s point in mentioning all such aspects of Dubai as nothing will happen here in our country, “yaha kuch nahi badlega”! Well, this is why I visit Dubai as if at all change will happen here then unless we see what to be changed & how, how we can change yourself! And if I may not change the city or country I can at least try changing my sites or my office or make my close ones know that they only can change the things around! We may not have Sheikh’s crown on our head but we can have his attitude towards life! Somebody has said about Dubai that it’s an open book for development, I differ, Dubai is not just book it’s a University of Development, all one needs is to go there & absorb as much he or she can! Thanks Sheikh Mohammad Maktoum for gifting us this University of Development is all I can say!

And now you will understand why people like to be in Dubai as money you can get anywhere (with due respect to your earning skills off-course) but you can’t get the life style (read ease of living) with just money as it needs attitude of entire society & not just some Sheikh to achieve that goal; I think this realization & its implementation is what I will call as a Degree of Development from Dubai Open University!!
-- 
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