Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Planting 2.50 Crore Trees & Killing 250 Nilgais'!

“To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor and have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy.” ...Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Clarissa Pinkola Estés is an American poet, Jungian pscyhoanalyst, post-trauma recovery specialist, author and spoken word artist. Similar to William Carlos Williams and other poets who worked in the health professions, Estés is a certified senior Jungian analyst who has practiced clinically for over 45 years. Her doctorate, from the Union Institute & University, is in ethno-clinical psychology on the study of social and psychological patterns in cultural and tribal groups. What Clarissa says about the trees seems literally taken by our State Govt as on 1st July, the State Govt has decided to plant 2.5 crore i.e.  some 25 million trees all across the State; indeed a noble drive & nothing wrong with the idea question is how many of them survive & what about conserving the existing trees? Presently all Govt machinery is busy in advertizing the plantation drive as well making arrangements to complete the target of plantation but on same time there was a news in Bihar State where nearly 250 numbers of  Nilgai i.e. Blue Bulls has been shot down & permission has been given for the same by MOEF i.e. Ministry of Forest & Environment! On prima fascia these two events or news will look like nothing common, as plantation of 2.5 crore trees is drive for aforestization undertaken by Maharashtra State Govt where as killing of some 250 odd numbers of Nilgais’ is decision taken by Central Forest Ministry & that to in State of Bihar, so what is common factor? Well today its Bihar, tomorrow it will be Maharashtra is one aspect & second is plantation is indeed good but what is the future of forests in our State? As ours is much more urbanized State than Bihar where Nilagi which indeed is a listed wild animal & has become threat to farmers, eating their crops so they have to shoot it down. In our State every day one or other species is getting absolute, look at the leopard conflicts in Pune rural area; same is nearby Tadoba tiger project where attacks of tigers on human beings, living in the vicinity or project tiger is common. 

On one side we are clapping our backs for rising population of the Tigers but on other side of the coin, where is the land in form of forests for this increased population of the tigers? And when I say land for the tigers it means not just forest i.e. trees & tigers but it means where entire life cycle of which tiger is at apex is! As tiger alone can’t survive in the woods, it needs prey in form of deer’s, wild boars, sambhar & many such herbivores animals. And all these prey animals in turn needs their food which is grass, leaf of many trees & fruits of trees like Umbar, Jamun & many more & yes the water bodies too & unpolluted water bodies is important! So all these grass & trees needs land to grow & serve as food courts for thousands of such animals. And along with serving as food court to the animals which are prey for the tiger, these grass lands & trees are homes for thousands of other species which may not be in lime light like tiger but they too are equally important links of tiger’s life cycle! As a forest is complete not with just tiger, deer & trees or grass lands but right from ant house to birds, insects & smaller animals like hairs as well jackals’, jungle cats, snakes & many such is what makes any forest a perfect life system.

On this background in our State which is one of the fastest urbanizing State; major threat is how to make the entire forest survive & just plantation of trees won’t make replacement for the fast vanishing forests is what we need to understand. As ideally out of total land available approximately 33% land should be under forests, where as though no one can be sure but in our State lands under all kinds of forest isn’t more that 15% is what assumed. This is way below the ideal norm & this isn’t definitely a creditable thing for our State! And result of this is major threat to entire biodiversity as every day we are depriving some or other species from its right to live or even survive! Right from pollution of natural water resources which causes loss of habitat for fish & water birds to utilizing every available sq ft of land for purposes like residential, farm houses or industry, we are reducing entire green cover around under the name of development. And when it’s not any of such use then we dig the earth or break the hills for natural resources essential for construction such as sand, murrum or metal i.e. khadi or stone! Reason may be any but end result is same i.e. reduction in forest area. This makes every species other than human being depending on forest either to get extinct or come in human habitats for its basic needs & get killed by humans under the offense of encroaching on humans! High time to remind our own self that development is indeed good but at what cost?

This is where the poor Nilgai’s in Bihar met their fate of getting gunned down as their only offense was their population has increased & they couldn’t buy land for their homes neither can appoint any architect or engineer to build a safe home for themselves, nor they couldn’t find any project where some developer has build homes for them! I can’t blame  farmers also, who are victims of these Nilgais as what else you can expect from a poor family which has raised the crop which is their only source of income & in one night if heard of some animals is grounding your hard earned crop to zero, you can’t expect sympathy for those animals by the farmers! Then who is the culprit, if not Nilgais' or the farmers which have pressurized Govt to gun down the Nilgais' heard? I think every one of us & the entire system, especially the one which we call Govt whose job is to see that not only their voters but every living object in the State deserves their home & well being. 

Unfortunately our all policies are made keeping us i.e. human beings in focus & that makes us most selfish specie! No, I am no philanthropic or some Saint to make such statement, what I meant is we are foolishly selfish as we haven’t understood what kind of life we want for our own self & yet we are making policies thinking we are doing them for our well being! As imagine a life with luxurious cars, perfect public transport, good roads, flyovers, IT parks, Malls, Schools, Hospitals & Industries taking care of our every need! Yes it will be a good life but without any greenery around or no birds flying in the sky or deer running across the grass lands & no forest around leave apart a tiger roaming in his kingdom or a river carrying black water with no vegetation or fish in it; will we still call it a life? Time has come to define what really good life is for us! I am not against development but whose job is to balance it properly, is the question I will ask!

I think planting 2.50 crores trees is a good move but more than that we should make space available to these trees & agreed every tree is important, may it be scattered across yet we need to focus on creating pockets of trees which can be homes to other species in form of forests. At the same time need is identifying existing such pockets which are in forms of lesser known forests may it be grass lands or shrubs or wet lands & make policies to conserve them. In our State hundreds of such places exist, urge every district governance to enlist them & make a program to conserve them. Tourism can one sure way to generate money for such programs as well tie up with corporate companies & make them adopt these pieces of forests. The only hitch is people don’t believe their money will be used properly for the cause when Govt is involved so we can use local NGO’s for such conservation programs. At the same time another important aspect is ever increasing population of human beings which demands continuously more land for their survival causing limitation for growth of forests! So a strong need is there to take birth control program with equal zest as of the plantation drive, which unfortunately our every Govt has forgotten!

Remember whatever we want to do to protect as well conserve not only the forests but every single tree & specie, let’s do it fast as time is running against the forests! Or else today its poor Nilgai in Bihar we are shooting down for over population, tomorrow god forgive us, we will have to order shooting down human beings itself for our survival; again whose survival will be the question & who will shoot whom!


Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Hon CM & Smart City Named Pune!

“I love cities, and I love city governments in particular. But in politics it would have taken me 8 years from implementing a policy before I would get to see the feedback. With programming I could model the same policies and see the impact immediately. Technology is a far more efficient way to test”… Jack Dorsey

For those who are not on Twitter, Jack Dorsey is an American computer programmer and entrepreneur widely known as a co-founder and CEO of Twitter, and as the founder and CEO of Square, a mobile payments company. Why I remembered his quote is in last month Hon Chief Minister of our State has conducted a mega meeting of all the officials especially of Pune city related problems. Then immediately in span of some fifteen days Hon. CM has been called by a leading daily & a Nationalized Bank (though this bank is in news for all wrong reasons because of its MD itself) to guide about issues faced by real estate & affordable housing in Pune city! Both these CM’s open meetings got huge publicity as who’s who related to city civic issues & real estate issues had been present & lots of topics discussed. Hon CM played safe, just the way great Sunil Gawsakr used to play West Indies fast bowlers pace attack i.e. leaving everything out of the stump & playing strait with whatever comes in the line of stumps; no hurry to make runs but just to stay on the pitch! Many wont like this comparison but I deliberately waited till one month to pass & then write my views as let’s see what is the outcome of all those mega meetings!

So what CM’s meeting has achieved, rally speaking nothing as in the first place why we need a CM to solve our civic problems, is something I will like to ask & why we need a public addressing of real estate issues? The term “affordable housing” is such a joke now that even a five years old kid who has been reading news papers for last year can tell us the hitches in it & solutions, provided we want solutions. And then just ask ourselves which of the issues discussed in those so called meeting is latest & not known to our present CM. Because if I remember he must be knowing all the issues right from last decade as take Metro or Garbage Depot or Airport or our beloved DP or merging of surrounding 37 villages everything is age old problem this city is facing. Agreed the latest in queue is PMRDA (Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority) of which Hon Cm himself has become now Chairman or President whatever you call it! That’s another joke as earlier PMRDA’s leadership has been given to senior minister from the city who is guardian minister also of Pune district, replacing him means he wasn’t efficient! So with this law what next for CM, I won’t be amazed if tomorrow CM becomes Chairperson of some Ward committee at PMC level! Come on, you are  CM & you have entire State to look after along with Urban Development Department itself under your belt which controls PMRDA & every Town Planning or Urban development related policies! This is like CEO of a corporate company taking responsibility of some individual department like Sales or HR head, just because he doesn’t have faith in any other team mate or no one is capable in the team to do that!

Let’s look at few of CM’s statement or say announcements from these meeting, which has become head line of the news papers as below...

1.    Corruption under the name of Urban Land Ceiling harassment will be stopped.

2.  Every obstacle in the system delaying development will be removed.

3.  PMRDA will be allotted land for its financial support.

4.  Setting up a transparent online system so nobody would be required to go to any Govt office

5.  We can’t stop urbanization but we can manage it properly

6.  Regulator on real estate will be a boon for real estate developers

7.  We will have to set a scale to define affordable homes

8.  Lastly just wait for few days for approval of Pune city DP

Apart from this CM also commented on many issues like Metro & water supply but let’s analyze one by one of these major factors which gets highlighted by all news papers & everyone is so happy with the meeting that I have no doubt in next few days the city will be problem free!

Corruption under the name of Urban Land Ceiling harassment will be stopped…

ULC must be the darkest era in real estate under this act as so much corruption has happened & joke is the purpose for which the act came in life way back in 1972, that common man will get cheaper homes with this act, for the very same reason i.e. to make homes cheaper the said act was removed; “this can happen only in India”!   And once the act has abolished yet many govt departments especially revenue & UD, categorized the cases & tagged them NOC will be required, reason even a school going boy can tell! Well who has stopped any govt why just our present Hon CM, to make a notification with due clarification for Solicitor General, that no ULC clearance will be required by any department here after for any land! Or if you feel then make a policy & start implementing it! And what it means corruption under the name of ULC will be stopped, how?

Every obstacle in the system delaying the development will be removed…

Great statement for receiving applauds; but Sir right from height restriction  to TDR policy to PMRDA by-laws as well making funds available for PMRDA from the revenue received in the form of crores of rupees from the premiums’, what has happened to it? Why it has not been collected in a separate account for PMRDA development & not being used for the same? Who has stopped the govt doing so? Why hundreds of clarification seeking notes  sent by various departments are pending in Mantralay; even as simple things like compulsion of two staircases in buildings above just four storied structures has not being cleared?  Who has stopped proposals like merging of villages in neighboring municipal corporations as if you don’t want to merge then say so & make a plan for development of basic infrastructure in those villages? Because the residents in all these localities don’t care whether they are in PMC or PMRDA or Collectorete but they need roads, drainage, water, schools, hospitals; so who is stopping govt to do so?

PMRDA will be allotted lands at its disposal to support it financially...

Indeed this is great move so they can sale some lands & generate revenue but then which lands? As for that they will have to a Development Plan in place & with the speed of making DP’s of even established civic bodies like PMC & PCMC when will be PMRDA’s DP will get ready & when they can sale their so called land & then when the revenue will come & what till that time? Why a dead line has not been set for PMRDA DP & why the revenue right now they are generating isn’t being used for their support only?

Setting up a transparent system by virtue of which no one will require to go to the govt office for any permission...

Well, well, I am pessimistic but not so much to believe on this dream which Walt Disney also wouldn’t have dared to dream! With all due respect, sir please first take review of the simplest online or digital document like 7/12; it has failed miserably & reason is the people in the system don’t want that common man should get any document sitting in his house or else how their houses will run! Though I am a pakka Nagpurian as you are yet sorry if I am sounding like a Punekar but Sir, just like the Akbar Badshah used to move at nights in Delhi road by changing his attire, please try to get some online document like 7/12 or change of name in MSEB meter or a zone certificate or even try to put your name of a PMC tax certification by using some other name than Mr. Devendra Phadanavis, as then you will realize what dream you are trying to see or show to us! Online is the word provided take it step by step & monitor the outcome of all existing online certificates or NOC’s, make sure that they are being issued to the needy ones properly & then take next step!

We can’t stop urbanization but we can manage it properly…

True, we can’t stop urbanization because we can’t provide water, roads, schools, jobs equally to all parts of the State, is what you meant? Then something is seriously wrong as right now Urban Development is focusing only few cities why not create regions & try to balance the growth? It’s a mammoth task but it’s doable as do you think Pune, Nasik are like what they are today, some fifty years back? We have to try right from today for Vidarbha & Marthwada then may be if we are genuine in our efforts by next fifty years we won’t have to worry for Pune & Nasik like we are worrying today! But till then when we say we can manage that means provide basic infrastructure to existing urban population & make polices accordingly & make it fast before the cities explode under the load of migration!

Regulator on real estate will be a boon for the developers...

We all know any governing authority is an added burden or pain on real estate or any industry. And I am not saying this because I am a developer by myself but this is what history says. Look what happened to EC i.e. environment clearance, a simple thing could have been implementing all the necessary green parameters right at the level of sanctioning authority but it’s not done & today getting EC is difficult than building a building! With all due good intentions no sane builder will oppose any regulator provided the entire system is properly set first & then only implemented; as well it should be transparent & non partial towards any segment of the real estate.

We will have to define scale for affordable homes…

This is perfect but when & how? As you only mentioned in Mumbai even by spending Rs fifty lacs one can’t get a home; so it’s not amount of sale but its budget of a common home buyer is important. Time & again it’s been clarified by the planners that if we create a balanced necessary infrastructure of amenities essential for life all around & make more land under the residential zones with proper connectivity to the nearby big cities then people won’t mind moving in such locations. New Mumbai is a classic example though failure at start & even in later stage also as even that has become unaffordable now! It’s not just cost of home but its day to day expenditure a person has to make for his living which includes commuting to work & school as well health care, also matter & if we can minimize all such expenses, that is what will make a home affordable! So before deciding scale of affordable homes lets first understand concept of affordable homes Hon. CM Sir, is I will request!

Just wait for few days for finalization of Pune city DP… 

In our childhood days there was a mythological concept called “Bramhadewacha ek minute” i.e. One minute of God; it’s in reference of a story where God asked to one of the devotee to wait for one minute, but God’s one minute is equal to some thousand man years & the poor guys kept waiting for ever for the God to reappear, such was the story! I think here also the “few days” means few years as already the DP should have been ready by 2007, this is nearly 2017 & joke is nearly some eight months back UD took away DP from PMC saying it has been delayed by PMC & will be cleared in three months by a specially appointed committee by State Govt & till today we have to listen terms like “few days more now” for the DP!  And it’s not just publishing of DP but its implementation should also be monitored, so where is the system for that?

Apart from above aspects numbers of issues those needs attention which includes Metro along with strengthening of existing public transport system as well prolonged issue of Airport which is a must to make Pune real smart! We need to make a centralized transport system which will work not for just PMC or PCMC but entire jurisdiction of PMRDA & beyond as that’s the need of the entire Pune Metro now. Simultaneously what is future of water supply of all this Greater Pune & how we are going to manage it along with drainage & garbage type by products of urbanization, is equally important; and for that we don’t need to bother Hon CM every time but all these answers lies within us only!
Unfortunate fact is with literally no DP in place for nearly ten years yet the Pune Metro is growing & no one has any regrets & same is the situation whatever you call it in PMRDA or PCMC! Today the need is having a Regulator for entire Govt systems itself, related to real estate & not just for Developers! Hon CM sir we respect you for your sincere efforts as well intentions but do remember these two things needs support of a action plan with deadlines to follow, then only one can see the dream named “Affordable Homes” for this self proclaimed Smart Pune! So “All the Best” & assurance of every possible support from us for the same!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

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