Friday, December 31, 2010

Customer Relation & Real estate

If you can't turn yourself into your customer, you probably shouldn't be in the business at allLeo Burnett

Unfortunately when it comes to real estate with all due respect it seems that some where till recent past we have forgotten such quotes or the zest behind the same! Because the fact remains that this is one industry where the customer relation has taken a back seat or at least apparently that’s the scenario. Many a wont agree with my opinion & with pages of every news paper are filled with the advertising & numerous hoarding displaying various projects & prodigy of the developers, it’s hard to believe. Yet the truth remains that when ever a customer approaches to a developer the confidence level about the product getting delivered is pretty low. This can be judged from the questions a customer asks for e.g. is the rate the developer telling correct? , Can he assure the possession date? Are the amenities given going to be there in reality? What about the specification? Is the rate going to be same till end? Are all legal documents clear? And so many! Have you ever seen somebody asking such questions in a car show room or white goods shop?

Nothing wrong, the home isn’t like a daily buy type commodity as for most of the customers its one time buy in life! And the fact with real estate is it has failed to generate the confidence in the minds of customers about their product or the way deals are done. That’s why the customer is fussy & not sure about the developer’s commitments.

Now when we call customer, who exactly is in our mind? Many a will think this as an absurd question! Because even a kid can tell, the one who comes to you to buy your product is your customer! Well that’s what you expect a kid to answer but ask any MNC’s (multi national co) marketing head & he will say Customer is the one who by any way is in contact with the company! He may be your supplier, contractor, employee or even a courier guy coming at your office to deliver any package & off course the person who wants to buy your product too! Now that’s the way how you look at your customer as unless you identify him how you are going to make him confide in you? You can’t generate confidence in any customer by just advertising or spending budgets on PRO, but you make others confide in you by number of small acts for a longer period consistently! That’s the way people start trusting you, for e.g. take name of Tata, Wipro, Kirloskars, Toyota or any such name. They haven’t got the trust of their customers in one single night! It’s the years of service & following commitments have made them reach at the stage where they are right now! There are two categories which we can divide customers in: a. direct customer i.e. who is buying or have bought your product & b. All those agencies who are part of that product means right from your employees too suppliers. This is what real estate industry needs to pick up.

First we will consider direct customer & the grievances by them in real estate. For e.g. se the information brochure of few developers (which any way any customer is bound to do while on home hunt) & see the way area table is written! Most of the time it just mention one figure & then some shows chargeable area some didn’t & no ratios of what rate per sft is being offered or what’s the exact package is being offered? And he is just unable to compare the price range vs. product offered (which is area here) & then how he will trust us? Why we can have a single linear system like automobiles have on specification form to offer the customer? Same, hardly any brochure consists possession date as that’s another question followed after the money matters are taken care.

This is about the customer who is enquiring, once the flat is booked how many times the principal developer or his senior staff remains in touch with the customer? Gone are the days when means of communication were limited, today we can be accessible in any part of the world by means of cell phone, net etc. Being accessible is most important part in generating trust as many a time main complaint about the real estate is, once booking done the builder is not just available for any quarry! Here many of my collogues wont agree but that’s what market speaks & it's not my personal view! One need not have to be personally available, it’s just somebody should be available who can take care of the quarry of the customer is the zest behind it! And this leads to another important aspect of real estate & that is Employees. Maximum job changing happens in real estate, though exact figures aren’t there as this isn’t an organized segment but continuous staff shuffling does hamper communication with your actual direct customer. For e.g. some arrangement has been agreed between the flat holder & your sales man about payment terms & the sales person lefts the job & the next person again starts from ground zero saying he don’t know what has been agreed earlier!

These types of scenes are common amongst customer at marketing staff, site staff, and legal staff as well accounts staff. And these small things though may get resolved yet it annoys the customer & shatters the trust on us. Here what we can do is to take more efforts on assuring our employees to be with us for longer period at least project to project & try to formulate proper systems to document such communications instead keeping oral between personal levels. It will help in reducing conflicts with customers. And another common complaint heard is the customer has to follow the matter number of times with the developer what ever it may be! Here too we can make an arrangement of noting down ever communication as well giving some number to the same so we can give that number to him & he will be assured about getting proper attention. Also we should train our all staff about our responsibility towards our commitments. Never the customer has required following us instead we should be prompt on giving him feed back about his demands.

Here I remember sharing of experience by a senior officer in MSEB. He said in remote village when the light goes off because of any line fault & if the line man there is sleeping or is been drunk & unable to repair the fault, the public says “ MSEB is useless!”. But if the same guy attends the fault & restarts the electric supply then the public says “MSEB is real good & improved!” This shows the importance of behavior of your employees in trust building process of the customers towards your product as well company.

At my previous work place I have started taking get together of the flat holders on ongoing site at different stages of works along with site staff, marketing staff, contractors, and a practice which I am still following. This makes them possible to interact with all those who are associated with the project & understand the efforts we are taking for them in better way. Similar exercise we are doing for completed projects & there residents too. Many developers are afraid of such practices saying what’s need of educating the customer unnecessarily? As there are some bad experiences from the customers too, taking undue advantage of the developers friendliness! But then such things do happens in every industry!

Ultimately we have to decide for whom we are working & that only decides what we are going to get!

Sanjay Deshpande
Sanjeevani Dev
Envo_power Committee,Credi,Pune

Please do visit my blog to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !

Think Green, Think Life

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Living Together !

Living Together !

Most of us can read the writing on the wall; we just assume it's
addressed to someone else….Ivern Ball

While coming in the final topic of the eco housing, this sentence
always amazes me! As most of the times we are part of the readers of
the walls as the great man has said! We discus so many issues authoritively,
especially we Punekar have pride in it that even a new born has his
opinion on any of the topics & its birth right for the citizen of this
very city. But when it comes to deliver we always wait for someone
else to do it! May it be wearing helmet or buying subji from the
street hawkers & then hailing all other world for encroachments of the

Now, one will say what’s in it for eco housing? Well eco housing as by
now we know isn’t something directly imported from heavens! Its good
houses made by good people for your good living in them, is the
simplest definition I can provide or have done for myself. And when we
say good houses made by good people, here comes the Social Awareness
factor in picture! How you define someone good when the eco housing
front is the criteria? Rather put it other way can you book the flat
in a project made by the so called Union Carbide (? forgive me for
using specific name but it’s for illustration) However cheap & nice
houses they built. Well the answer will be a big NO by most aware
citizens. And it’s because the deed of a group or maker of the homes
will have to be counted when we call them good & precisely this deeds
we call as Social Awareness!

This particular factor is very less considered in our country while
buying any product why just homes! Because we are poor in
understanding the writing on wall! In western countries the buyer is
very much alert about the manufacturer’s activities on social front &
any single wrong step or even wrong advertising f the product can
hamper the sale of the product. That's why many of corporate giants joins
hands with NGO's or with persons who undertakes tasks of social welfare. One
may call it as social bribing too! We are not talking about
compensating bad deeds but it's to balance the business profits with your
social duty! I often wondered from where huge expenses like research
for wild life or tribal’s come & when I started watching National Geo
or Discover or Animal Planet then right from funding to such
expeditions too broadcasting them is funded by many of the well known
corporate like Shell, Toyota ,BMW etc. Now they know their product is
a automobile which is going to burn fuel & pollute surrounding however
little it may be but they can’t stop making cars neither people can’t
stop buying them! But what they can do is use their resources at least
some apart of it which is generated from making the cars for some noble cause & they just do that!

Look at the scene here in our country, the basic things like counting
trees in Pune city isn’t been possible because of lack of funding! We
say PMC collects enough money from builders & PMC sys builders are
making enough money from continuous rise in land prices! Have ever
anybody listened what the City says! Why we have a good real estate
scene in Pune? Because the city has pleasant atmosphere which comes
from lots of greens around, we have one of the best water resources
here, we enjoy almost uninterrupted electric supply next best to
Mumbai, we have finest medical facilities  for all emergencies ( if
one has money in pocket), We have PMC to pick our garbage however
waste we generate ,we have 20 lacs vehicles & we have petrol to feed
them, we have roads & flyovers to run these vehicles , we have
multiplexes & restaurants of all types for our entertainment ,we have
schools with best environment for our kids to get good education ,& we
have builders who takes care of all our amenities & give us a warm
cozy home to sleep in when we are back home and watch Kanha tigers
roaming in the forest on various channels !

Well well! Just look around & see what lies outside of our 50 km
radius of coziness or even outside of our compound wall of the well
secured complex! Millions don’t have a roof on their head leave apart
education or even basic medical facility! Many don’t have even
drinking water keep apart bathing luxury! We don’t have money to count
the trees in this very city & we are talking up on saving the tigers
in jungles which are hundreds of miles away from us! Have we ever
thought what kind of infrastructure the people there are getting? The
maximum snake bites happens in Chandrpur district where Tdaoba tiger
project is located & they don’t have vaccine arrangement as it has to
be protected at a particular temperature & lights are off most of the
time because of load shading! Don’t think of the arrangements like
rain coats or winter wares where temperature is extreme in changing
seasons! And by sitting in our living room we say Govt has to do
something to save Tigers!

The rural around Pune city are getting supplied by tanker water once
in  2 or 3 days & here we harass our cooperator for minimum 2 tankers
of potable quality in a day that too just when PMC water supply is
kept shut for maintenance! We have invertors fitted by our builders
even for our AC's & TV's & in rural one by one small scale businesses
are closing down because of non availability of the power!
We have school buses to collect our kids from our door step for school
& millions of kids don’t have even proper sitting arrangement in their
schools. Our kids school trips goes to various destinations even out of country too & have we ever thought there are thousands of school goers who couldn’t manage even PMPML’s bus pass also! And we expect the country to prosper & compete with countries like China!

May it be builders or buyers, how many of us have given a thought for
these issues & tries to do something for the same?  The ace badminton payer Saina Nehval who is delight of many Corporates now, wasn’t getting a sponcerer even for her routine training earliear! Sponsoring a
Sangget Rajani or a Race is surely important for business & is one
side of the coin but what’s more important is the approach towards the
less unfortunate side of the life! In this country only it happen  & its shame that an Archer broke her arch during practice & couldn’t go to Ashiad for not getting a sponcerer for buying the new one! Agreed there are good fells in the business but they have to be searched for & that's irony of the
society! It’s a most common fraze “ If there is will there is a way”, so it’s not important to describe what help an individual or a group can do but just keep doing our own share a bit. The need of the time is more & more developers should come forward & make their efforts seen to the society about so many issues which 90% population of the country is facing! And more & more flat
buyers should ask their builder about his contributions for such cause
& not just about the amenities or rate negotiation while buying theflat.

Here media’s role is equally important as many a times it’s been seen that they give step son treatment to real estate as when we give front page to land scandles then we should at least give some space to good deeds happening in real estate too, though they may be few right now but appreciation is a great tool to make people do better! There are people like Azim Premji in IT who can donate their all worth for the primary education via their foundation. Imagine what we can do if the whole real estate industry comes forward for the two very basic aspects i.e. Education & Child Health Care!

Again many will say what’s this to Eco Housing? Well guys all those
who claims to build eco housing & who wants to live in them, they all need
to look beyond our houses first to all these realities around,
acknowledege our own responsibility towards them & then we might be
able to do something about them & then only we will be entitled to call
ourselves eligible for living or making Eco Housing! As Eco housing isn't just building the buildings but it’s building a society!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev
Envo_power Committee,Credi,Pune

Please do visit my blog to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !

Think Green, Think Life

Monday, November 22, 2010

Speaking Hi Tech!

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense...Gertrude Stei

With due respect to Mr Gertrude he must have skipped the real estate industry while writing this famous quote!

As recently a study was undertaken via a renowned Management Institute in the country for a US software giant corporation. Its about use of software as well hard ware in Real Estate /Construction industry or call it IT ie Information industry in the country. As being one of the largest employment generating industry & turnover even higher than Automobile industry yet the use of computer & related services is not even 2% of its turnover!
Many will be surprised but as  with whatever limited exposure I have in last 20 years in real estate industry, I will say its failure of Computer Industry as well the Real Estate Industry combined! If Computer Industry hasn't been able to understand the exact needs of this business then Real Estate Industry wasn't ever truly open for the newer technology & laid their demands clearly!

Basically software industry is indirectly is a parasite in itself! No offence all software guys but it needs a customer industry to adopt their knowledge which in end is used to improve the parental industry! Here what has happened as the real estate has been never standardized so naturally IT industry has never been able to understand what this industry needs! And as the land prices is the only thing in world which keeps on rising without doing anything they never have been keen on improving the business with assistance of IT industry. Also real estate has got least of technical personals & don't required any licence or that sort of thing so obviously they prefer to stick to orthodox methods of construction !
I remember even in my Eng college days civil guys were more comfortable with T square for drawing than using drafting equipment,which other branches were frequent with!
Frankly the topic is so vast as well covering many aspects that it’s pretty difficult to cover all of them in a single paper. Till now the real estate stands as the largest revenue as well employment generating industry of the country also it has the honor of most unorganized industry too!
Its this Unorganized status of this industry makes it most potential for the IT industry & I think studying this particular aspect gives maximum opportunity to any management student of both the faculties to cover up the lacuna.
Such is the irony that after spending nearly 15 years in the industry I am unable to give concrete figures to any of my statement, simply because no official guaranteed statistics is available on the data I will be mentioning below, for e.g.

We don’t know exactly
1. How many houses we need leave apart city wise even in total country.
2. We don’t know what kind of houses we need.

3. What is affordability for the same in terms of money to fulfill this demand?

Above two basic questions leads key to many answers such as what kind of technology we are looking for to build these houses as well the infrastructural need these housing will require.

I think here is where IT can play a major role along with networking as such type of information will require a huge data collection which has to be backed up with the networking for the collection of same. Right now take example of a simple term in present housing development “Rain water Harvesting“!

Now RWH is being practiced in India since from ancient time, right from Mohanjaro-Harappa establishments & ask any person in the field, he can list hardly a few techniques. This is because of communication lacuna & no networking as well poor data storing facilities every local area developed its own techniques. And this technique got restrained to not even that State but that District only.
Consider Chennai in Tamilnadu, Surat in Gujarath , Sicar in Rajasthan & Pune rural in Maharashtra .All four have different needs & so have different systems of Rain water Harvesting. Now show me a single platform which gives such information and now consider the time wasted in collecting the information before finalizing any system. That was just one aspect of at least 400 activities involved in real estate housing.

Presently IIEC ( International Institute of Energy Conservation, USAID arm) made an Environment Impact Assessment Criteria for Pune real estate development. It has listed 88 main heads & nearly 200 subheads which are to be analyzed.
Now tell me with no single data providing network available of software for the same how one is going to do the job!
 Leave apart Environment data, I am sure there wont be hardly 10% developers who knows exactly how much money they have to pay to the various Govt agencies under different heads as no central data of that kind is available! We pay as the concerned consultants brings the chalans! This is the scenario & we talk about affordable homes! Affordability is knowing first at what cost the home has been manufactured or will be manufactured!
Right from identifying the potential land for real estate to hand over the finished product to the customer we can break the act in following 10 stages:

1. Identifying the demand of housing.
2. Zeroing down the piece of land as per demand
3. Acquiring the land (Including legal transaction)
4. Planning the housing as per the needs.
5. Procuring Material
6. Procuring Labors
7. Maintaining quality in construction process.
8. Providing physical Infrastructure such as road, water, power. Providing social infrastructure such as school, medical, commerce, recreation.
9. Marketing of the houses
10. Handing over and post occupational activities.

Now as in most of the actions except planning that to restricted the drawing part where support like AutoCAD software is there, rest all actions took extraordinary time either due to manual systems involved or no data base available.
 Like RWH a single plastering to masonry is being carried out by at least 7 known ways. Which will be cost saving where? How we are going to answer this?

Here I think we need the fusion of It Industry & Construction Industry. You have mentioned use of graphs & Charts in the paper! It’s unfortunate that we never bothered to keep record of even site accidents in the Industry leave apart Quality checks!

Major reasons is at many places there is no demand for housing or there is excess demand or demand is there but lack of knowledge restrains the demand on affordability reasons. Also there is a myth that application of IT in Real Estate will create un employement in the industry.

I thing firstly we have to acknowledge the lacuna on this front, then work out the reasons & then access the system to overcome it by developing the IT products which will support the existing system as well strengthen it on data base building. This will be the biggest task. And its high time for the Builders as well the Real Estate Industry as a whole to take this job which in end is a key to lower down the construction cost & making homes more affordable for the end users.

Sanjay Deshpande
Sanjeevani Developers,
Gharkool Lawns,100’ DP Road,
Patwardhan Baug, Off Mhatre Bridge,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kachara Kachara bahati hai...

There's so much plastic in this culture that even the vinyl leopard skin is becoming an endangered synthetic."Lily Tomli
Joke apart the above statement humorously shows the mentality of our society & ignorance about the biggest problem ever the mankind has faced,                  the Garbage or Waste!

Most important aspect of the Eco housing rather this aspect makes any new home not to get tag of Eco friendly & that is Garbage! One may ask why so? Simple, if you don’t build houses no new garbage creating centers will be created in Metros but that’s not possible as we all need houses to live, so all we can do is to understand the process of garbage generation & try to minimize it's production!

In early nineties there was a beautiful movie naming Ijajat... There was a song  " Katara katara bahati hai... jindagi hai..." when ever I move on the streets or any public place I just remember these lines except the word "Katara replaced by Kachara"! Yes we are flowing with Kachara i.e. garbage! When ever we visit foreign countries we are zapped by the cleanliness over there & that’s the first thing comes to our notice & yes the stale smell of air isn’t there rather we are not uses to such clean & fresh air. Those who are from rural must have experienced it when they come to any big city. And why rural even when we go by Deccan queen to Mumbai, immediately after crossing Kalyan the air fragrance changes & we try to reduce our intake of the same & then at the end of the day feel dizzy or giddy while coming back to Pune.

The basic difference in our & western culture is in the concept of cleanliness. Many American houses may be extremely filthy from inside but outside of the home when in public they give utmost important to this aspect. Exactly reverse is the case here, we may live in a filthy surrounding but most of the times our homes are chakachak! The easiest way of removing garbage for us is throw it out of our door! Just don’t bother what havoc it’s making outside until your own doorsteps are clean! This is where we are going wrong. As with increasing urbanization the generation of garbage is also on rise & for using any formula to find out the solution on garbage issue first we need to understand the society's mentality on this front. As in our mythology story, we all like Parijat flowers but we don’t want the tree in our premise!
Few years back when there were not so many companies’s selling there ready made products. And now right from pizzas to refrigerators (thanks god they don’t deliver cars in gift packing) every thing gets delivered in pack form & the packing in itself has own importance! And do mind once you open the pack & done with your product the packing is now junk in other words "Kachara'! And it’s increasing in multiple of the population as every ones need something & so does the packing of the same thing!
Now along with this our food as well eating habits have been changed. Earlier we were supposed to clean up every thing whatever has been served in the plate & still if it’s any leftover the house lady usually used to gave it to people who couldn’t afford even a day’s meal or to cows & animals of that category. But with the time earning has increased but our values has decreased & we feel shame in following such acts instead we just dump the left over in our garbage bean! The need of the time is make the end "Kachara maker" aware" ,here the end kachara maker is a common man living in any Metros of the country & assisting to generate more garbage by his daily activities ,may it be any Jarda pouch or CD's i.e.  E waste!

Even look at the way our definition of celebrating has been changing! No one says don’t celebrate but the times are changing, earlier the fire crackers weren’t that common & only at Diwali we use to bang them up. But now in any marriage or smallest of the election result or any get together we saw people using loads of firework. Who's going to look at the hip of burnt thrash after such show?  The festival like Ganpati with all due respect to the efforts of many NGO's about reducing "Nirmalya" i.e. the waste material of Puja,isnt getting reduces instead after the procession its impossible to pass from the place where the idols are being immersed! Is this the cause for which we started celebrating such festivals at so large scale! Here no law or any prohibiting act of the govt isn’t going to help us is a fact.

Best way for any garbage issue is try to disintegrate the same at the source only. But it depends on lots of thing such as quality of the society we are dealing with & their exposure to these kind of knowledge as well their understanding of their own responsibility! Mostly they are reluctant as they feel ok till the garbage is out of their eye site. Rather each grownup person as well children of the schools should be made mandatory to visit the garbage dumping yard of the city i.e. " Kachara Depot" & see the life of people living surrounding it. And this should be at least once in a year as then only one will realize how he individually is also responsible for this problem!
About setting systems there are many for wet garbage, right from vermicomposting to mechanical treatment & each can be adopted as per the site condition of individual establishment. But important is our approach towards the same. Many a places I have seen people are reluctant to segregate dry & wet garbage. Many don’t want to take efforts to collect it & then nobody is interested in maneuvering the vermi plant on daily basis. In addition to this at many places because of outer pressure the Municipal Corporation them selves collect the garbage! Now who will take effort if the garbage is getting taken care by outside agency!
Such systems should be banned rather provide such services at very high property tax so each society will be taking care of their own wet garbage. The PMC has made Vermicomposting mandatory to all new upcoming projects since last 3 years but who is going to keep check about actual using of them as well are they of adequate capacity? Does the Builder have set a system amongst the residents before giving them possession for maintaining them? For bigger townships maintaining a vermi pit is a difficult job so one has to think of setting up a mechanical plant for treating wet garbage & converting the same in maneuver. Many developers have done that like in Magarpatta city. More & more builders should do such thing & more customers for such colonies should demand it from their developer!

Similarly who is taking lead of incorporating such systems of treating wet garbage & segregation of dry garbage too in existing development. The PMC along with the Developers can try for some solution for their existing schemes.

Aware & educate but at the same time use proper methods of colleting as well treating  i.e. recycling & reusing of the generated garbage and filter these systems to the end level. Because it’s not only PMC's or any other Govt dept's job but it’s for our own better living we need to take care of our garbage.

Sanjay Deshpande
Sanjeevani Dev
Envo_power Committee,Credi,Pune

Please do visit my blog to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
Think Green, Think Life

Monday, October 11, 2010

Eco Housing mhanaje kay re Bhau ?

Now days the terms Global Warming & Eco Housing /Eco Friendly are so popular that right from the school kids to senior citizens all seems to use them frequently. It’s good on one hand as it shows awareness of the society about the issues but on other hand the matter ends there only. Like The famous Parijat tree in Satybhama’s home which is in possession of her but the flowers uses to fall in the premise of Rukmini, every one wants it but for others cost. No one cares whether it’s applicable for their own residence & it’s a fact! Rarely do I come across a customer who has keenly interested in checking the norms of Eco housing while buying the home & has made that as a 1st agenda. Mostly location, rate amenities, name of the developer, internal specifications such as tiles, otta etc & general amenities is what the buyer is interested in.

Mostly the Environment is last on agenda though there are a few who do ask some questions but that’s just to show that they are aware about it & never as sole intrest.But then the major reason is are we really aware about the Eco Housing? The general questions are Rainwater Harvesting is there or not? Solar are we providing? That’s it! Though nobody protests if we are not doing it, may it be mandatory! More important is while getting possession hardly a few really goes & check that whether the developer has provided such things & how they functions! With such enthusiasm of the customer it’s but natural that the service provider i.e. the developer too isn’t much interested at this front. As like in any business in our country here too the R & D here is market driven. I ain't commenting on right or wrong but that’s how situation is in real estate. There are exceptions who keeps on trying on there own but the percentage isn’t enough is a fact.

Now what’s actually an Eco Housing is? Frankly Eco Housing isn’t just something tailor-made which you can wear & start moving around, eco housing is a life style which one has to cultivate by oneself & do the things pertaining to the same. Frankly speaking any building which is erected on n open plot is bound to cause some damage to environment as the open plot absorbs rain water ,gives place for some trees or shrubs, becomes habitat for species even like rats or worms while a building demands electricity, needs excavation of the earth disturbing habitats. Then there comes people who needs water, generates garbage, and brings vehicles in causing fuel burning & air pollution, so many things which an open land would have never demanded. But we can’t stop building houses as they are also need of the society. So now what’s our job is to balance the building construction & the damage its construction as well utilization cause. This balancing act is the approach towards the Environment around & more strong & result oriented it is, we call it as Eco friendly!

Agreed we can’t do all the things totally in tune with nature or else we would have been back in cave age or living on trees but lets know what’s in our capacity is, so we can zero down on the target. On larger perspective Eco Housing is categorically can be divided in two parts, first is infrastructure & second is utilizing the infrastructure. For e.g. however the person staying in wants to save energy but there is no provision for solar water heating then I will be helpless & on other hand if the developer has provided solar water heater but I am not chaining by bathing habitats, like taking baths at evening & using all solar water then again in morning I will be using electric heaters for others bathing. When we say utilizing natural resources then we have to use them in accordance with nature only.

While speaking about infrastructure, this comes under the developer if we are considering buying a home from a developer. Here we can categorize the home in 6 very basic things & they are Energy Conservation, Water Conservation, Solid waste or Garbage disposal, Eco Friendly material use, Green Cover & Social aspect. Here one needs to check up the home as well the developer on these criteria. May be all aspects can’t be accumulated in one projects but at least has the developer thought of them is what I will look for. The subject is too much of depth & each category can be discussed at length which we will be doing in subsequent meetings through this forum. Will give you just one example to elaborate when we say social aspect what we are looking for? See as I mentioned Eco Housing isn’t the term which you can restrict to your own project, it has to cross the boundaries of the terms like me & mine! Have your developer does something which goes beyond these terms? Has he contributed something for the society on the Environment front? It may not be necessary that he himself has sponsored some cultural events or has a brand ambassador in form of a celebrity or gives full page advertises in paper boosting his envo approach but it surely will count that if he has been a cause behind surviving even 10 trees! This he can do by supporting an NGO in the locality around your project. By having a home with such developer you are indirectly joining hands with him on environment front. Ask his staff about such activities the group have participated in past, visit his past project, talk to the residents there & see that whether he has really been keeping an eye for eco housing. Understand what he is giving for the project & then only make your decision & then only you can call yourself also eco friendly!

The part 2 comes in as the role of customer after possession of such project. Many a times I have observed that the eco friendly facilities like solar or effluent treatment plant or even the bore well are out of use as the residents. See that the trees which have been planted grow properly as well you should think of planting new trees also! For am a system for proper use of the amenities like central solar water heaters & also to control the use of electric energy for common lightings is putting half lights of in common areas during late night hours. You can take lead in greening the areas around the complex also. See that the common areas like open spaces are used for festive purposes but not becomes the cause of pollution as in many societies celebration means late night loud speakers. Make the rules which will benefit the environment like banning or minimizing use of fire crackers within society premise! See that the plumbing lines are periodically checked to avoid the wastage of water. And instruments like level controllers for water tanks must be in condition & maintenance contract should be made with professional agencies for the same.

When we say we live in Eco Homes our attitude as well behavior also should be in tune with the same or the famous Marathi fraze it will happen “ Bolachich Kadhi an bolachach bhat”!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dhagfuti! Jago Pune Jago!

A sharing for the solution!

After Akbar Birbal story here is another one, it’s classic from Mullah Nasirudinn tales…

Lang back in rural there was a poor farmer living with his son & they had an old donkey. One day they thought the donkey has got out of service & should sale it. So they started towards bazaar, it was hot sunny day & soon they came across one villager & as per tradition in rural after initial greetings he asked where they are going? And knowing their plan he said to the boy that any way you are going to sale this donkey then why not your father rides it till bazaar? Agreeing to this the father mounted on the donkey & son was walking along, they marched ahead. After few distance they met another villager who scowled at father & said isn’t he ashamed that his son is walking in heat & he is enjoying the ride! After hearing this father got down & the son mounted the donkey & the march kept on. Again after some distance they met another villager ,who said they both are fools, as any way they are going to sale the donkey so why not have his services to fullest & why they both cant ride the donkey to the bazaar! Again agreeing to this both father & son ride the donkey & went on. Then come another villager who after seeing this hooted them that how cruel they are & instead riding the donkey they should lift him on their shoulders & carry it to bazaar as for the whole life the donkey has served them & they owe this much to him! Agreeing to this also they tried to tie the donkey & lift him. By this time they have come on a bridge & donkey has got annoyed with all this tying up business & started to flank its legs & in the commotion fell down from the bridge & got drawn!

Moral of story is simple, stick to your own line of actions & know what outcome you want, instead trying to listen every tom & Harry & alter your course of action or else you will loose what you have! And unfortunately the same thing is happening to the city & present rains & the usual chao it caused indicates the same thing, that we are no more different than the farmer & his son!

Come 30th Sept & the city again became a donkey & got washed away! How many years we will be suffering this pattern of heavy rains ,water logging in some areas ,few deaths & the routine ho haallla in media & the blame game it follows! No one is interested in going to route cause & solve the issue but all are happy in explaining how there system was perfect & how the illegal construction/obstacles have made this thing uncontrollable! Hello, what illegal construction we are talking about every time & nallah encroachments? Who has done it? How it has been permitted & why it’s only after rains all administration, public body, elected members, social workers, ngo’s & media realize it only after such disaster?

Have any of above bunch  ever actually surveyed even one single nallah in the city from origin to the end & studied the development along its banks & actually tabelize the facts of permissions granted to the same? Unfortunately we are best only in making vague allegations. Since at least from last 15 years whatever construction is along the nallh/natural water body/river which is shown in PMC Dp needs NOC from PMC’s drainage department & got the design of such retaining wall approved from licensed structural designer. Not only that the concerned developer has to take completion certificate of the retaining wall from the drainage department & then only he can get occupation certificate. Also since last five years the PMC has got all the natural water channels in the city surveyed & has made a map of the same which defines what water carrying section has to be kept at any particular section & if at any position the plot boundaries are making the gorge of the water body narrow then like road widening the developer has to kept the space from his boundary for water body. Again this is a must right from plan passing & till occupation certificate.

In spite of this all are screaming like its only illegal construction i.e. builders who are doing this! Fine, fault is there & I ain’t say no builder is part of it but is it all? By whose support it was possible & how? Are we not going to ever correct it? Is it only buildings which were responsible for such disaster? The rains on 30th Sept were phenomenon in itself as approximately 4”  water got poured from the sky in just 2 hours making all calculations of the water carrying sizes wrong. Also what Primo hasn’t anticipated is the runoff factor coming in to these water channels & existing status of the developments at the banks of the same,is what my observation is.

How many societies or bungalows (leave apart the slums & real unauthorized structures) fulfill the norms which recent developments follows for the retaining walls? Study the damaged compound wall as well water logged societies & the picture will be clear in itself. Many societies are below nallah water level with no proper retaining walls & no water draining arrangements & now when other bank is channelized they complain about illegal construction damaging their wall! But have they confirmed their own lacuna ever? Though no fault of them as most of such developments were done when such stringent norms weren’t in existence & at that time as on other side there was nothing the water has got its own way to spread on opposite bank thus reducing pressure on the wall of such societies.
A proper physical survey of identified critical areas including prominently marking of boundaries, should be undertaken and technical institutes as well organizations like  AESA and PBAP and MBVS could also be roped in so as we get exact idea of issues involved.

Another thing is wrongly planned drainage works through the beds of such water bodies. On one side we wont allow a single inch here & there (at least on record) when it comes to nallah boundaries & on other side we see huge drainage chambers in nallah bed reducing the flow carrying capacity. At many places the culverts are wrongly constructed blocking the flow thus generating pressure on upstream developments walls. At places even the service lines are crossing the nallah beds right in middle level blocking the water flow! And we blame on encroachments.

Many a roads especially in sloping areas around hills haven’t planned by keeping in mind the water flowing over from slopes & then it gets accumulated at any one place & found the way destroying whatever comes in the path. The recent water rampage in Ad Municipal Comm’s bungalow is the best example as baodhan is a hilly area & the NDA road creates most hurdles for rain water flowing from baodhan hills. At many places the PMC itself have covered the nallahs & have utilized the space above for things like market! Road side rain water gutters are always a problem & it’s high time that we should consider the open drain rain water system than the closed ones.

No harm in laying services or using nallah channel for development but by doing this what risk we are causing to upstream developments, who will take this in account?

Most important is greening as much of open land available, this will help the retaining of the rain water & reducing the runoff which cause flash floods. No point in blaming each other as city is growing & it does needs homes for all categories of the society so more & more land is going to get utilized for building the same is a fact for the future. Have we realized, the most illegal/unauthorized or call it slum, usually get developed around nallahs or natural water bodies? Reason is simple the basic hygiene thing ,that is drainage for human excreta is free at such places! It’s the use of the land which we have is going to make the difference.

The issue isn’t the rain water or dhagfuti; the issue is how we are looking at it & what we are actually doing for it! As rains isn’t in any bodies control but the way to tackle with rains are surely in our control!

Jago Pune Jago J

Sanjay Deshpande
Sanjeevani Dev
Envo_power Committee,Credi,Pune

Please do visit my blog to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !

Think Green, Think Life

Sanjay Deshpande
Sanjeevani Dev
Envo_power Committee,Credi,Pune

Please do visit my blog to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !

Think Green, Think Life

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Parking Parking !

Though the Supreme Court decision has come just few days back but it’s started the turmoil which was expected! Because we are worst at hitting the alarm call at right time & best at sounding it at wrong time & run for the cover when there is no cover left! And this is applicable to all nodes related to real estate industry!

For e.g. no case goes to Supreme Court directly, it has to pass through maze of local judicial bodies & then high court & then if the Supreme law authority feels it’s important enough to hear the matter then the case is admitted there & heard & verdict is given. Though once admitted the process there after is fast enough in compare to local level things. But surely the said parking matter by a Mumbai base Panchali Co op society vs. the Developer M/s Nalchand Laloochand didn’t pop out in one night! In fact the case has been first filed with district court way back in 2004! In this entire process no private organization or association or segment of the society thought it’s important to monitor the case or to become party for the same! And now when hardly few including the most real estate dwellers, the society apex bodies & the media have gone through the judgment leave apart understanding it, all ready the hohallah has started about ongoing, forth coming as well completed projects & status! I read in news paper that even the existing flat holders can claim their money paid for the parking back from the developer. And in last 3 days from the news I have received calls from all segments about what’s the scene!

Now with all due respect to the Hon Supreme Court, lets see what’s the factual things are there about the so called a historic case & scenario in the real estate industry? To my knowledge the case was not for selling the parking to the residents, no resident was having objection for the same. There were 56 flats in 2 buildings & the plan was showing 28 numbers of car parking under stilt. The developer has sold only 3 to the residents & rest 25 car parking he has made grill with lock & key & kept in his possession. It’s this place shown to the society as parking has been converted as storage place & was or was proposed to sale to the outsider thus reducing the parking provision for the society. This is what society took objection asking the developer to make this place free for parking& in the process of arguments-counterarguments it come out as a byproduct as who owns the parking place. Obviously this has been done on the basis of whatever agreements has been made between the developer, society/residents as well the governing bodies like Municipal Corporation, Urban Development Dept etc & refereeing the bylaws about the same.

Agreed any new residential /commercial development has to be done in tune with the laws for keeping parking provisions for the users of such establishments & such space has to be utilized only for the purpose for which it has been kept. No two minds here, the question comes who will monitor this? For years since the real estate has been in existence transaction of parking place is a known thing then why suddenly this issue has popped up now? Answer lays in many things as day by day the space is becoming rare commodity especially in Metros! Similarly except few cities like Mumbai, Delhi & Calcutta, in mostly all the cities public transport doesn’t exist is a fact. Making more & more people opting for private vehicles, naturally increasing demand for the parking spaces. Even in above mentioned Metro's there is a big chunk of people who are not dependant on public transport for their commuting & have their own arrangement which usually is a car.

Also we are neglecting the social angle of the car/vehicular parking, in our country a Car isn’t just another gadget in house but its part of family and a pride possession too! Most Indian men's first dream is owning a home & then owning a car. May it be a Porsche or BMW for a millionaire or a Maroti or Santro for a middle income guy, the feelings are same. Rather a bit more sensitive towards their car are the middle class families because like the house for most of them a car is one time buy. This make the importance of the space for the car at par with your home i.e. flat/penthouse whatsoever it may be within the society.

And no one will like to have an unsecured place for his car is a fact. So whoever has the car makes it assured that he has a proper owned place for his car & most are happy that it’s along with the flat. Many a flat hunts does depend upon this very fact that the customer gives equal importance to ensure proper parking place & its availability, and then only they confirm the flat. We are over looking all these ground realities as if right from the beginning all the conditions were made known to the customer who’s buying flat then there are no chances of having any dispute over the parking issue is my view as I am in this line since 20 years & don’t have seen a single such complaint over allotted/sold whet ever you call but about car parking. Yes, there are few about the car not being fitted in the allotted car park but then if it’s accepted rationally & alternate arrangement is made then the issue has got settled mutually.

So this judgment will surely have to be studied before we go by blind following of the same. As many a questions will need to be answered, like if I am not getting the car park along with my flat what’s guarantee that the society will allot me in a fixed time span? Usually society/apartment condominium formation takes place over a period, then till that time where I should park my car? Will I be loosing first come first choice advantage for choosing the car park like I have in choosing the flat of my choice as an early bird? The news says I can claim back the money whatever I have paid to the developer for the parking, if I do so then will I loose the ownership of the parking which is allotted to me? And if the society is not formed whose right till then it is to allot me parking? What if the society doesn’t allot me the parking, where should I go for asking one? What if its apartment condominium & not co op society?

These are the questions which need to be assessed from the flat holder’s point of view. Also from the developers side if the customers are agreeing for allotment of car park, to themselves as well to other  & this is keeping in mind the mutual interest of all those involves, then is it legal? As if the buyer & purchaser agrees upon something which is transaction where no other party is having any interest then still will it be illegal? Also what I should tell to my customer when he asks for where he should park his car if I am not allotting him one?

By the way going with the same logic how all the malls, multiplexes can charge for the parking places which are meant for the people visiting these places? Going a step further even how Municipal Corporations can ask for pay & park things when the places are of public only?

As usual whatever you say the first reaction is it’s a lesson to the money hungry developers J but then in our country money earning was always considered as crime in spite of how ever legally you earn it! Problem is we are not learning to look at any problem keeping in mind the end outcome it will bring in & for whom! Like we neglect public transportation strengthening & fight over inadequate parking places!

Sanjay Deshpande

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ammenities or Burden !

In my nearly 20 years of association with real estate industry, there are some standard questions a client asks to marketing staff or to any person when enquiring about the projects? What amenities you are giving? Is there swimming pool? Gym is there? Clubhouse? That's all! I never have stopped wondering that how many of them at the end of the day are using it actually? But then real estate industry has always been driven by sentiments than practicality.

The gimmicks of luring the customer with above mentioned amenities started in early 90's as most of the seeking client were middle class back ground & has fascination about such things. Swimming pools that to privately owned was a luxury affordable by only super riches & having an own pool in the society was like coming the dream true! Similar was with gym & club house as not many gyms like today was offering services at minimum monthly contribution & gym was more a fashion than actual physical health keeping. Similarly the Club house was shown only in movies were upper cut of the society was shown playing card or billiard type game & the average middle class could just imagine themselves in those roles as not many private such places were there & not knowing also what’s exact use of such places in other time of the day except evenings!

Also the city's social infrastructure on this front was very poor, people wasn’t having places to make good time pass. Multiplex concept was no were on horizon were you can watch a movie, shop, play pool table & video games, eat & socialize with your family as well friends. No hangouts like Mc D, Pizza hut were there were you can entertain your guests & spend some extra buck u you hard earn. After all what’s the use of the money which you cant show off to your social circle! And joints like Turf club, PYC, Boat Club, Poona club were restricted for members & again at hefty fees which are out of the way to the most. The suburbs were not having gyms or pools open for all at minimum charges & all these made the Developers to use for the marketing of the project. Soon every middle & big size project was being advertised as lace with Spacious swimming pool, then baby pool came in then warm water pools & even covered swimming pools come in picture. The club houses were having right from carom to billiard tables to lounges within though hardly any one ever used to touch the tables except the younger generation for the fun part of it & the gyms however well equipped were rarely houseful as the equipments fast become outdated & no training facility!
Nothing wrong against the ammentites, what was wrong is the attitude of the customers about such amenities. Only the pool, clubhouse & landscaped gardens don’t make a home! One has to understand the real need from the house or else in later years the amenities become burden. Consider the day to increasing cost of living & whether its worth to spend much on maintenance on such amenities? Are we really using them at fullest? When water is such a scarce thing how many swimming pools we can afford! Also the safety factors & the incidences of kids sustain fatal accidents in pool in societies has made many of the complexes to shut down there pool. As the cost of having full time life guard & maintain the pool is enormous & many a mid sized societies can’t afford it. The gym is for fitness & the equipments need to be in proper condition as well the exercise has to be done under trained supervision which the society gyms lack.

Slowly people started realizing fancy pool tables & card tables are waste of space & what the society really needs is just a good place for socializing & arranging there small family functions which they cant accommodate in the flat. Similar is about cafeteria, as one needs to feel away from the home at a times & that’s why people goes to joints like Vaishali/Roopali after there game or gym for a cup of tea! As many times you will find you don’t want to see the similar faces around & that what happened in a complex cafeterias!

I am not against any such amentias or facilities but what I want to share is instead of going for these conventional amenities in the project look what’s the changing times needs! We need more & more open spaces around. We need the place to grow real big ever green trees like Neem, Jamun, Jackfruit, Mango etc where the birds can nestle & our kids can have feel of biodiversity. We need place which can be a simple big hall where we can arrange our family functions as well get together. The complex can have sleep over arrangements for the drivers as well their fresh up facilities. Also for bigger complexes we can consider having 3 to 4 self contend rooms for the guests. These the society can use for renting to the residents when they will be having some family function & earn some money too. Look out more for minute details such as displaying all the necessary phone numbers around at each lobby level so in emergency any one can be easily have access to such numbers. Think of the amenities like water recycling plants & separate arrangement to store as well pump such water. This can be used even for storing bore well water too. Have more open door sports activities as open play grounds are getting less & the kids of this genre needs to have that feel. (Mention sur parambya on trees). Also see that the developers have made adequate arrangements to maintain such amenities & at end they don’t become the burden on your pocket.

The times are changing & so we too need to realize what ultimately we want for our good living & not just the false world’s imitation around us. Ask for the amenities which will make our life real comfortable & so the environment around us & not just for the name sake of it! Or else at end like the marathi fraze              “ Nakapeksha moti jad whayacha”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Start of the Dark Age !

16 th july 10

Frds, something I felt like writing !

Few days back there was a beautiful article in Times written by an eminent figure ( extremely sorry for not being able to recollect the name) saying are we living in Gothem City? Now for those who are not Batman fans or have no liking about reading comics, Gothem City is native town of the character Batman where crime has become back bone of the society & our super hero Batman fights crime in the dark streets of the city at nights! Well if we read every days news paper I think as Pune lives to its repute, we may be a slow starter in compair to the our elder sister city ie Bombay oops Mumbai,but we overtake her always when we gather the speed on any front may it be fashion, education, commerce ,real estate & now the latest front is crime!

Its not now a new fact the wealth gathers all sorts of elements along & when a city prospers such things are bound to happen. Agreed the police force is there & it needs to be strengthened a lot & every new coming police chief is screaming all the time about the injustice on the infrastructure front with the Police force but then so do every govt/public body chief! The MSEB ie MSECDL has limitation on monthly funding so they are weak at maintenance of lines, the PMC is short of funds so they cant have BDP & reservation lands acquisition in time, the Collectorate has limitation on man power considering the spread of urbanization & so have limitations on illegal constructions! So many such limitations we see every day! Is that end of the day for an individual?

The crime knows no limitation but its the attitude of every one of us which makes this happen.Its not a single day development that lead to someone makes to give Supari of other person ,its weeks & months of delays,extortion & many steaks which leads to such a tragic end. Is it a final solution? The answer will be always no! But then there are people who either commit suicide or gives Supari when pushed to extreme on any front , is a fact too! For instance the recent killings in the city & around of the people where allegations are made by both sides on the system, social elements as well businessmen about involved in killings! We are no court or investigation team yet is it just a plain money oriented crime? Again the answer is No!

Especially when we look in the real estate segment the city has outgrown with demand going way ahead of supply. here supply meant a real quality homes affordable to the needy ones! Pune was always delight for the people of all segments to settle down because of its culture & the peace it gives to the resident. But the same factor has become the nuisance as not planned the growth on all fronts & we are at state where land is the scarest commodity & naturally every element related to it will try to squeeze something out of it. And when some of the element don't get his share which he thinks he deserves then one goes to any level to achieve it!

"Making easy money is the worst temptation a man can have"...James Hadley Chase, has wrote this in one of him famous crime thriller & now we are experiencing the same! Most of the society thinks the real estate has the easiest money in it ( which isn't entirely false also) but the way picture is painted & the way stakes are going sky rocketing ,these who are not well versed with the industry do tempt to believe it. And when such community comes in industry may it be in private or govt or social side of it but they want their chunk & fast! here I can quote N number of examples where the developer has been asked for ransom by by any local social worker in the name of flaws on the project, the matter goes to the authority may it be local public body or police or governing body,here instead being firm & giving justice to the right party they take stand of telling both the parties to settle the matter amongst yourself! And here is where the rift comes, as to settle has many angles & if the issues don't get agreed on money wise then the Supari factor moves in! This has happened in early 80's in Mumbai & now slowly entering in our peace loving city!

Whom you can blame? The officer has his life as well carrier at stake so he cant take Panga with the social worker who mostly is connected to some political party,the developer has his money at stake & he cant afford delay or losses (& not that every time he is perfect) & the goon who is expecting his chunk knows the weak link in the system & is not ready to part away with this easy money! Now analyze our self in each role & think why we landed our self in this place! If we all do our job keeping why we are getting paid for then such elements will never dare to give or take Supari!

Right from the media to top level officials as well rulers if they support & held up the justice then only lower cadre will have guts & will stand upright! Here now each of us moral is at test as we may be leading to becoming the Gothem city but we dont have any Batman to rescue us ,rather each of us has a Batman within.Lets wake him up & let him take the lead when such situation arises & then see the difference!

Sanjay Deshpande
Sanjeevani Dev
Envo_power Committee,Credi,Pune

Please do visit my blog to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hi frds,

here is something about biodiversity & forests.


June 2010

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly !

Long back there was a hit movie of Clint Eastwood,with three characters playing the attitudes as the title of the movie!

This time after my jungle trip at two of most celebrated forests in country Kanha & Bandhavgad & spending lot of time moving around tourists as well forest staff & the support system such as guides, gypsy operator & hotels around the park,some what similar heading I feel for my tour!

Well the Good is ...

about the forest that there are Tigers yet roaming freely in the forests like Kanha & the forest staff & more important the support system which is concerned about the forest.Though many things need to improve at route level & the first is the coordination between the three key factors related to any national park. They are Forest staff, the tourists ( here I mean common tourist & not the vip's) & the link in between these two i.e the support system which includes the hotel people at such places, the guides, the forest workers & the drivers of the safaris! Surprisingly all three hate each other enough so as not to have any dialogue or trust on each others interests & feelings about the forest & all three thinks that theirs are the most genuine specie if forest is considered & other two are their either to squeeze them or to obstruct them from their purpose.

For eg there was a recent case of getting a tigress got killed in Bandhavgad park & leaving three cubs of hardly 4 months old to survive on their own! Its said that the tigress has been hit by a speeding vehicle in forest which either can be of tourists or of forest dept. As only these two types of vehicles are allowed in the forest. Now there is a fight going between forest dpt & safari vehicles & guides that whose fault it is! There are many senior officers in forest dept who thinks that the tourists should be banned in the forest as it disturbs the animal movements as well their work of patrolling & protecting animals gets hampered. Its true in a way but then tiger or forest conservation isn't just one departments job! Forests are our national treasures & we cant keep them secluded from common man. Rather the more common tourists will learn about the forests,feel them around the easier the job of forest department will be come.

As it's the tourists which generets lots of empolyment in form of various services, for the local people which other wise would have been a problem. And its this segment who would have turned to poachers if kept idel & unemployeed. Now they understand that its the forest which is making them also to survive, so if forest survives they also survives!

But for this the department has to be properly managed & infra structured.Unfortunately this factor is not given a practical thought.Result is restrictions & more restrictions on tourists movement & then the common man feels dejected from the forests. At bandhavgad what they did is they closed the half of the park & kept just the ranges open where there is literly no water so no animals. Agreed I myself have seen enough of forests & know that forest is more than the tiger yet if u don't see even few birds or smaller animals like gazelles or mungus for miles of stretches then certainly u don't make good opinion about the forest or the way its being managed. The bandhavgad park is supposed to be the best for the tigers & that means the entire system is good but is it really true! As the only one range ie Tala is having water bodies so all the concentration of the animals is there & the department closed it that too only online booking 20 vehicles are allowed for each ride. This information one gets at the gate & even if the 20 vehicles who have booked online don't turn up yet those who have traveled for thousand of miles & came to see the park have to go away as they don't have online booking!

The ranges such as Khatoli or Magadhi where u are allowed to go instead, the guide & the safari operators themselves told u that there is no animal movement! Then what a common tourist should do than cursing forest dept? Here the fault lies with both as nothing wrong about the other ranges ,they have good forest but no infrastructural works for retaining water within them thus even the birds have deserted them! Also the tour operators or guides as they haven't any dialogue or trust with forest dept they just blame them instead showing whatever better things are there in two ranges!

The silver lining is Kanha, where at least a good rapport is there between the guides, safari operators & tourists. Also the forest staff is much alert & sometimes may be over disciplined yet keeping a keen eye on the animals. Lot of efforts have been taken & they are noticeable as I have been visiting kanha over last 7 years regularly,especially the center at Kanha & the way facilities like toilets being improved is remarkable,as we get hundreds of foreign tourists & they are bound to compair with their country.The museum & interaction center is also good.But here too some lacuna's have to be covered & that is it high time to make tourists clear that Forest is not The Tiger! And for this the first thing is to be done is close the Tiger show ,which is being conducted by the forest department itself. Here the men riding elephant start early in the morning to,locate the tiger & as soon they spot it, the elephants held or corner or pin the tiger at the spot & radios the center. At center then all the tourists get coupons with 100/ per head & the gypsies went to the spot where tiger is being held by elephants & then from there the elephants carries the tourists on their back to the tiger ! Well though its the sure way to watch the Tiger but its most ridiculous way for any real forest lover! Two things happens ,one is all the focus of the tourist spins around the tiger & they forget to look for other equally beautiful things in the forest & second is the tiger himself surely gets disturbed with this pinning up by elephants. And if the forest dpt on one hand claims animals getting disturbed by the movement of tourists on one hand then they are doing themselves more disturbance by tiger show.

Now another major aspect is about the park water management which is the key reason for animals movement within the park especially for the forests in central India, which don't have nay perennial water source. The park needs to have staff with the knowledge of such planning.Also important is to have separate staff to monitor the tourists & to monitor the forest as well animals. this will take the load off the existing staff & will help in having a better dialogue between the outsiders & the forest dept.

The Bad is...

On this front we are too Bad as the forest department is very poor on having infrastructure on manpower & infrastructure power. I never understood that we don't allow any vehicle except 4 wheel drive & petrol engine in the park & the forest dept themselves have diesel driven jeeps making more noise & exhaust pollution than any vehicle! Why we cant give them battery driven or cng driven vehicles at war level for patrolling! So many such small things right from the means of communication within the park to accommodation of the guards in the forest, many things are below par for human living. Many a chowkis have to fetch the water from nearly 4-5 km distance for drinking ! Proper bore wells with water softeners can be provided at such spots &a vehicle for drinking water supply to the guards can be donated even by some private corporates also! So many things to do here as forest guards & support system like guides etc plays a very vital roale in forest conservation as they are actually there at last end.But there needs a effort in this direction.

The attitude of most of the tourists! They just think that forest is a place where they can enjoy as they wish as they have paid the charges for entry. Irritating is the attitude of so called VIP's who roam in vehicle with govt tag & god bless us that they don't order the Tiger to sit in their vehicle! Even the police gypsies are there in breaking all the driving laws & blocking not only other tourists view but even the animals,just to get better snaps for their VIP guests! Even the common tourists get frenzied when sees tiger & force the drivers to put their vehicle ahead of others & ignores guides instructions to maintenance silence & enjoy the scene. This can be avoided only if there is a continuous awareness program & stringent punishment to the tourists & not just the drivers or guides.

Ultimately to save the forest & the animals in it isn't just one departments responsibility. Its our national treasure & all must contribute for the same. The extreme steps of banning the tourists wont work ,it will only increase in ignorance of common man towards forest.Rather more & more people should visit forests & contribute for the conservation of the same & also do something at their places when they go back to their cities from the forest. Important is this shouldn't happen at the cost of peace of the forest animals,that's what we have to achieve!

( click on link above for more snaps)

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev

Envo_power Committee,Credi,Pune
And the Ugly is...