Monday, January 24, 2011

Budget Shaharache ! Part 1

Man proposes God disposes… Old Saying

Such thoughts must have been crossed in the mind of Hon Comm when he was reading the budget of our beloved Pune city for 2011 i.e. first year of the new decade, to the  PMC elected members!

As however the noble thought may be but all depends up the God & unfortunately the city has too many Gods! Right from the numerous so called Jagruk Nagrik, NGO”S, Builders, Gold smiths, Hoteliers, Transporters ,Industries too the Supreme God i.e. General Body of the city who consists of elected members i.e. Corporators, all of these have to be satisfied with their interests then only the budget will be through! In all this, where is the voice of true god i.e. the Janata Janardan? What’s their say on their demands as well the promises made to them on during election? Here I remember the movie Gajani of Amir khan in which he has shown patient of Short Term Memory loss! We as a public are also diseased with same thing & its growing every day! Only difference is we have this disease just in reference to the various promises made to us by our elected members as well Govt regarding the development of this city!

Let’s see what’s the intentions & actual reality about the budget & then we will talk about what the city needs! Please don’t take my words as criticism as there is no deficiency of critics in this very city, what I am trying to analyze is what is the scenario about the city development on the start of new decade as well this will be last budget before next Municipal election, so its interesting how our supreme god reacts on Hon Comm’s proposals. This is the time when we can analyze that can even the God be selfish! Because city right now is growing like Sachin Tendulkar’s carrier story i.e. what ever he does now is a record! May it be a hundred or one more one day or test or every single run he makes in international cricket! Every day scaling a new record is what we are also doing as a city, may it be a new educational institute, new vehicle on road, new accident or a new hotel coming up! Unfortunately here also we top in some dubious records & that is road accidents along with highest number of vehicles per person. What a shame for us that we know exact numbers of vehicles & type & make but we are unable to know number of trees with us which actually will be counter parting the pollution created by these vehicles!

What the Hon Comm has in budget has proposed is not just add on taxes but it's increase in revenue which no doubt is a must for the city development & each time we can’t be dependant on Central Govt or World bank for funding our own projects. Issue is will the Supreme God’s accept this on the eve of forth coming elections? Because that means annoying the true god which they remembers once in five years! Please take a note that, here my intention isn’t put blame on any single segment of the society but what is mentality of the society or thought reflection you can call it. Though the true god is also equally at fault for being quite over four years & getting awake only in fifth year! Here many will say what we can do about it? Well this question at least we could have asked in time!

There is ( I presume) a provision of accommodating suggestions from the citizen in the budget about the works to be done on priority basis in their neighborhood, which again always has been disapproved by our supreme gods! Yet it is there & how many people have availed it? How many times we collectively have gone to our cooperator or ward office & submitted list of the works to be done in our surrounding, rather how many of us knows where is our ward office & who is officer in charge there? We always criticize slum dwellers for getting favored by elected members as well by administration for all their needs but have we ever thought why? Its simple they always fight collectively for their demands & they vote also collectively! We all so called white collared can only fight with each other collectively & that’s why our demands remains in our own minds only!

Yet some questions remains over the intentions of Hon Comm’s comments or suggestions on increasing taxes or current policies. Like, what about the tax recovery from slums ,as if nearly 30% of the city population is from slums or that kind of establishments, what steps or measures have being taken to recover property tax from them & what’s was the contribution from the same in last year? Because any tax hike will pinch only to the person who is paying the tax! Similarly there is need to decide on the increase in revenues & for that some bold policies are a must! For e.g. while traveling around the city one can see lots of open land & being in profession related to land, I know many of them comes under various reservations such as roads, parking, gardens etc. Why PMC on her own isn’t doing the development & giving TDR or remuneration to the land owners on not just fast track but super fast track. Why we keep waiting the developer or the land lord will come forwards & do the road development & then rest of the development will follow! Is this city runs on individual’s development plan for his land? Because by now even a small kid knows that if the road net work in any area is good the rest development automatically follows, indirectly generating more revenue for PMC. Here we can take example of our neighbor city i.e. PCMC, where you can see good wide roads crossing even fields where no development has been around.
Also any property development is directly related to the development of such infrastructure in the surrounding. For e.g. after construction of Rajaram Bridge Sinhagad road & west part of the city i.e. got connected & the rates as well speed of development around Sinhagad road increased significantly. Similar is Paud roads Bhusari colony area got prospered after cancellation of Kacara depot. So we can imagine the significant impact of budget on real estate.
For me any land which is shown as residential in Development Plan & is undeveloped is like money laying in bank without interest! Such should be view of the PMC as then only revenue will increase.

What I feel is it’s not about the rise in tax or octroy but it’s the trust of the tax payer that he is getting returns out of what he has paid is important. Reality is, there’s an increasing feeling that what ever policies or development PMC implements they are made either keeping interest of some individual or for some particular business only. And some where PMC elected members, administration as well some of the trades are incapable of generating that confidence in Janta Janardan! The budget needs to overcome this lacuna & instead of figures let the work speaks for itself, which will definitely help in melting down the resistance for any tax hike.

Lastly , I will like to appeal to the citizen of the city that please remember, being aware about our responsibilities doesn’t mean just paying our property tax in time!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo_power Committee, Credai, Pune

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

Social Side of Sanjeevani !

Think Green, Think Life

Budget Shaharache! Part 2

Men do not love Rome because she is beautiful; Rome is beautiful because men have loved her. - Leopold Kohr.

I think it’s high time for our so called God’s of Pune city to remember this quote & understand the meaning of it! Year after years budgets after budgets have come & gone & forgotten the promises as well provision made in them. I don’t say that the city hasn’t have any development ,indeed there are good efforts like few bridges across the so called rivers flowing through the city, some road widening like Sinhagad road, Nagar road, Solpur road in tits & bits, the BRT on two routes though I have always failed to understand the meaning of Mix BRT ! I think it’s a good joke in technical terminology like  "Headache in head or Vison fault in eyes!" As when BRT is supposedly Bus Rapid Transport, giving a separate route for those buses then how one can say mixed BRT at places! And along with we have number of jokes like Z – bridge joining Dean & Narayn peth, Paud road fly over connecting lesser traffic wing of Karve road leaving remaining traffic to get jammed or Mhatre Bridge which is closed for heavy traffic or Pedestrian’s flyovers & underpass which are usually deserted & the great fly over the highway at Wakad going towards Hinjavadi we have many such around. Even the way fly over is designed & built at Hotel Sadanand, baner, it’s very risky for vehicles coming from Bangalore side & taking turn towards city. The city is getting more famous for wrongly planned structures than the real engineering monuments is a fact & its not my personal opinion only but refer all the media news as well talk to any common man & you will get the same outcome about city development.

We have already talked about how budget & its allocation for the works as well their implementation is important for the city. So in last 10 years i.e. first decade of 2000, what are most significant developments of our city? Can we name them? Here I am referring to works supposed to be done by local body i.e. PMC & not private developments. Long back in one of Abhijit Desai’s critic write-up about Hindi songs he mentioned, "its very difficult t name Lata didi’s ten top song & it’s equally difficult to name Anuradha Paudwal's too!" As it’s impossible to choose best of Lata didi’s song, so it’s impossible to remember ten songs of Paudwal, was the sarcastic part of it! Same feeling is there when we compare Pune city on scale of development with other cities, it’s difficult to name top ten developments in the city & it’s job of all those connected with this topic why so? We have good engineers, knowledgeable minds, and veteran politicians in the city along with very alert & aware NGO’s. Then what’s the problem in not planning proper development plan & execute the same. With due respect for his good intentions, Hon PMC Comm. has said that the budget should be at least Rs.10000 crores & we should not weigh the budge on basis of amount spent! Isn’t both are a bit cross statement? If we don’t apply the scale of amount spent then what criteria we should apply for judging the implementation of budgeted works? Sure then it should be the common man’s quality of life before & after budget. So let’s have a look from that angle.

Why a white paper isn’t published by PMC each month from the day of budget about the amount allocated for a particular work & its progress by volume of work & amount spend on the work? To my knowledge in any private company there is a work progress chart for each job undertaken & its monitored weekly, and then only you keep the track of any work which you have undertaken! Here day, months & years we keep reading in news paper about projects like Paud road, Baner road or Elevated road, the list goes on & on & we are unable to know about the end completion date of a work which is part of budget! All these leads to negative mindset of the common man towards the city governance as well about the entire system which consists of Builders, Politicians, Govt Officers, even about the Ngoc’s who many a times make oppose just for the sake of it without giving any concrete solution.

As a developer rather as a citizen first what I feel about budget is it should be transparent & result oriented. It’s not just the provisions for the various works but their proper planning & execution is what matters most when we talk about budget. The city is growing & we ought to provide infrastructure which will cover its Social as well Physical needs. On one side Sassoon Hospital is over flowing with patients and on other hand what we read in news is the plot which was reserved for general hospital is allotted to a developer! We need good public Hospitals on all eight sides of the city along with recreational centers for masses as not all can afford multiplexes or private hospitals. Same is with PMC schools & drinking water. Each time when city development is discussed we think its only traffic which is a problem for us but major problem lies underground & that is Drainage & Water lines net work. It’s now over 10 years of newly merged village (the term itself has got old now) & major chunk isn’t having network of these basic services & reason is we are not fast enough to acquire the roads! Leave apart other reservations & their execution. Because the better services is the only key to bring better people in this city & make them stay here & these better people is the key to bring better business in city which at end will generate revenue for the city only!

These should be the key factors of any budget as the budget is face of development & it’s every citizen’s duty to keep this face presentable or else like the quote about Rome, Pune won’t be beautiful any more as no body will love her!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo_power Committee, Credai, Pune

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

Social Side of Sanjeevani !

Think Green, Think Life

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Surviving Tiger !


I have sent 100 winter kits including a full neck sweater,handgloves & head gear( kantopi) for the forest guards & guides in Knaha  Tiger Project.Yesturday on 14th it has been handed over to the Hon Forest Director Mr Himmat Negi who took keen interest in the process & Dy Director Mr Mahanto by my frds & distributed among the field staff & guides who accompany the tourists on their jungle rides. Winter is real chill at Kanha & tem drops at 3-4 degree centigreds! Yet they have to do their job right from early mornings when most of us are fast asleep in our four walls' warmth!

"Save Tiger" isnt a job of any single NGO or person or Govt, its everybody of us who can contribute in our own way & strengthen the people who are actually working over there!

Thought of sharing my team's contribution with you  ,so as u can spread the word
 to make more & more people aware about their responsibility towards the cause :)

Post sharing this news....

I got huge response on sharing the news about sending winter kits for kanha forest guards/guides. About tasneem's enquiry,here is something.

I travel  quite frequently in lots of forests across the country,one as hobby ,second as assisting on their water management program within the park wherever i get called from them.
During these travels I see lots of things where we can can assist to strengthen the infrastructure around the forest,as jungle is not just tiger & trees but its people around the same & then there are people like forest guards, guides & labors working within who are actually engaged in jungle conservation!
A lot can be done for them for eg take a case study of Kanha..
Agreed forest dept have funds as well the officers like Mr himmat negi are doing a lot yet the task is so vast that any help from outside is welcome. It helps actually as well it helps in boosting moral of those who are working in extreme conditions as temp in kanha varies from 3-4 degree centi in winter to 45 degre in summer!

Most of the guards & guides do get uniform but its just 2 sets. So u can contribute there. Also the labors don't have any thing u can gave them pants ,shirts preferably earth colors!
U can give jungle shoes/canvas shoes. Cycles & cycle repairing kits. U can give medical portable kits, thermal water bottles.

Also the schools around the forests are imp to make the kids awear & we can donate stationary for the same along with clothes for school kids. We can give water dispenser as inside the forest there are guard huts & they rarely get hygienic water to drink.
Even for schools we can give battery inverter as power is a problem always & many basic medical especially snake anti venoms needs a particular temperature to be maintained to preserve.
We can give solar /led lamps and torches for the guards as well guard huts.
So many things by which we can contribute.

When ever we celebrate new year / birth day try thinking gifting such items for those who really needs them & will be very happy with ur gesture. My team got such a warm welcome from Kanha which is beyond expressing & more imp is the feeling "yes , we are actually part of save jungle moment" !

You can contact me for any info as well
Gift Gallore, 9923558588 , ,
the agency who can asist on procuring the goods as well deliver to the destinations.

( special thanks to Hemangi & her team at Gift Gallore who not only procured the kit but went all the way long to kanha to deliver the same)

Sanjay Deshpande & team Sanjeevani
Sanjeevani Dev
Envo_power Committee,Credi,Pune

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

Think Green, Think Life