Monday, June 15, 2020

Common Man, Govt & Real Estate!


 “It was so easy to sell anything to the common people, if one could add an element of magic and some religion into it”...Anand Neelakantan.

I am always happy to choose or say being able to choose words of wisdom when they are from our fellow countryman, as in this country wisdom is rarely resepcted. And no wonder the author is none other than Mr. Neelkantan, who is author of the Bahubali Saga which made money wheel spinning for the makers of the movie! Though the words speaks about success of Bahubali series & for ages the same formula  Disney is running successfully at global level!  But in our country this formula isn’t restricted to just entertainment, when its dealing with common man of this country! Take it any field of life may it be electing their rulers to fighting a war against virus our leaders have used formula of religion & magic, extensively from ages, making the common man feel happy at least for a moment to forget his or her sufferings! And when its matter of home then the more use of the formula as recently one news about home loans, caught my attention & it made mem remember the words from Mr Neelkantan about common man. Though the rulers forget that this formula is fine with movies as its three hours time which common man wants to enjoy but when its dealing with life issues then one needs to give much more than just magic & religion. Because actually the common man has only one religion & that is “limitations”! If you are confused, then tell me whom you call a common man, is he the one who can buy whatever he (read as she also) can buy in the mall or dine at any restaurant without looking at right side of menu card or can get admission to his daughter (or son) in the school of his choice or can buy any car he want to drive or he is the one who can buy a home at any location he wants & of any size & loaded with all the amenities, will you call such guy a common man? Well, most will probably say yes to all the qualities but the last, I am sure! Joke apart, what I meant is a common man is the one who has limitations on doing everything whatever he (or she) wants to do in his life &  most of the time that limitation is in the form of budget i.e. money constraints! Now tell me,  am I wrong in defining a common man as if you can do all of above mentioned things at your will, then all such things needs power either in the form of position or money or both & with power & money at your service can you be still labelled as  a common man?

And then we are a developing country so the difference between upper class & lower class is more intense here (I am referring to buying power only when I say class) as I am not saying common man is necessarily should be poor only by money power. Unlike western countries we have two types of common man here , one is real poor common man which comes from a class who survives more by their physical natured jobs or say skills such as drivers, security watchman, cook in restaurant, a plumber & many such but not a beggar definitely! And then there is another version of common man in our country, i.e. “Middle or Higher Middle Class Common Man”, he is educated & may not be doing any physical skill job. But he is the one who has no voice at any policy level especially which are related to him, is also one aspect. And this type of the common man can be a small business-man, professional, teacher, salaried person & yes he can be even a small scale builder too! The common factor between both these versions of common man is, one, they hardly have any say with govt; two, no govt actually cares for them & three; they both have limitations on most fronts of the life! And yes there are two more common factors & prominent ones i.e. most of these common men from both the versions are always under some debt & live on EMIs. And then both of these common men are either homeless or searching for own home or get settled in a home which is illegal or with adjustments of basic necessities of the life! About the earlier aspect i.e. loan, the poor class common man gets succumbed to loan sharks (Sahukar or Pathans) at very heavy interest rates as no so called big banks (are some names in banking reading this?) don’t even allow this class to enter in their posh branch offices leave apart giving them loans. As well govt bankers are also reluctant as they don’t get the security in a manner they want from this class, so the only option poor class common man is to take loan from some Bhai or Lala! And about middle class common man, banks loves them as they are best clients when its repayment of loan & then they agrees to whatever terms & condition the banks put in the loan documents they feel banks are like god giving them blessings by sanctioning the loan!

Well, now it’s not the common mans situation in the country  which is essence of this sharing which you must be wondering but the last common factor between two versions of the common man i.e. housing, is the subject I want to share. But before that I felt it necessary to put forward the scene of common man as or else one wouldn’t understand the graveness of the home situation for the common man, in this city as well most cities of the country. Now let’s see the scene of poor common man’s home front as most of these people settles for slums (sorry guys but that’s fact) or illegal settlements like gunthewari (illegal small plots layouts). Reason is simple they just don’t have enough money to buy a flat or else willingly nobody will live in slums as it’s like Ghettos of modern world, only thing is unlike Jews, here they are allowed to move in & out of these Ghettos for their daily chores of earning. But life is nightmare here, if you don’t believe then all those who are reading my this sharing go & stay for one full day in any slum nearby your so called cozy home & then write what you felt about the experience! Now, the issue is how we provide these poor common men homes they want in their budget in city as they all are dependent on the higher or middle class common men or rich men for their earnings so they have to be nearby residences of these classes or at least have a connectivity to their residences which isn’t available even our Smarty City is a fact! So question is when govt knows these basic problems of poor common man, why govt is not solving the same instead putting it on builders to provide homes in cheaper rates! As well why all the polices of SRA i.e. slum redevelopment has failed in past & why it’s just connected to TDR generation, why can’t govt makes a fund at central level & use it to build homes at plots of slum & sale the remaining portion of plot for commercial or other such purpose & make the proposal viable by joining hands with builders instead allowing them alone to deal with slum issues! I salute to the brain which tied slum development with TDR generation as no one ever thought what if the TDR rates won’t increase or the parent plot’s development itself if comes in problem. Because TDR is like a parasite thing, only if real estate on clear or say open for development plots is in demand TDR will be in demand & then height was tagging TDR rates with ready recknoer rates which made few slums as blue chips & few slums labelled as dumped scripts, depending up on the location. I think priority should be development of every slum, so come up with viable & sustainable & fast result giving solution. And second is not allowing new slums to form at any cost as if you allow the there will be residents to move in as migration of new poor class is ongoing process is a fact so demand for new slums will always be there! Means we need new homes apart from existing slum dwellers for this poor common man version, is a fact or all the cities will be engrossed by ocean named slums!

And now about middle/ higher middle class homes i.e. which we call as  ral estate. Here also if you see, the rich class means with buying capacity of Rs 1 crore or more, in city like Pune, they can dictate terms & buy mostly anywhere they want to, but the issue is with the common men whose budget fluctuates between Rs 30 lakhs to Rs 75 lakhs! Like poor common man, they too can’t drift far away from city as like poor common man this class is also attached to city for daily things & then along with their own jobs they have other issues like their kids’ schools, shopping, recreation etc. Here the two classes differs as poor common man’s only issue is a roof on his families heads & he don’t mind where & how it comes, so slum is ok for him. Problem with middle class poor man is he is very much law abiding & can’t dare to buy illegal home as well he has social fear factor also i.e. “Loag kya kahenge?”, so he can’t reside in slum!  Means what society will say? So the middle class is in real soup as they can’t live in slum, can’t buy illegal flats nor can move far away from city as connectivity & infrastructure is a problem. So they try to earn more by putting all possible work hours, so they can get a job which can match EMI equation & finally get a home somehow in their limited budget!

Here again govt & many people blames builders for making homes beyond the budget of even higher middle class common man but what then the govt or the so called leaders of the businesses doing about it? Rather joke is on one side country’s top financial names (and rulers) are advising builders to lower the rates of flats, but on other side their own banks (including govt banks) are asking common man to resubmit salary slips to disburse the next instalments of already sanctioned loans! Wonderful hypocrites’ we are, aren’t we? And then the govt which makes poor common man to leave his native place & live in slums of the Smart City, the very same govt turns a blind eye towards demands of real estate about infrastructure development evenly in all parts of the city as well connectivity, which is the only way to make more homes available in the middle class common man’s budget!
I think it’s high time for our rulers to open their closed eyes & awake on housing front & make some real good policies & implement it & that’s not some atomic science but common sense & a will, is all what is needed! Till we don’t work on it, every day of the common man from both the classes will keep on dying either in search of his home or even in his so called own home! And govt is free to hang some scapegoat for these deaths in the need of a home!

Well, to end I will conclude with a scene from our beloved Dada Kondke's one movie Ram Ram Gangaram: Ashok Saraf is shown as a butcher in a village & as it happens in most villages on Sunday mornings, the villagers used to take their hen (murgi) to the butcher for skinning it. To every such villager Ashok Saraf is used to ask, “katu ki nahi katu?” (means, shall I kill this hen or not?) & only after getting the answer Kato i.e. kill, he worked his knife on the hen to kill it & skin it. Seeing this, Dada Kondke asks him, “yaar Mamhdya, when you know the villagers gets their hen to you to kill, why you to ask every one that stupid question, katu ki nahi katu?” The butcher Ahsok Saraf smiles & answers, “when they say Katu i.e. kill, the sin of killing the hen goes on the respective villagers head & not mine!”

Do I need to explain the characters’ role (govt & builders) about providing homes to the common man in the cities after reading the story, adios with this note!
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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