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