Sunday, April 26, 2020

Bade Loag Badi Baate aur Real Estate!


“If a fool believes in some rumour then best way is let him do so”...

By now all of you must have understood this is one more lockdown philosophy & now nearly forty days have gone & ten more days to go (is it just ten?). And do forgive me for the sarcastism (some may call bitterness) of the quote regarding the topic I want to share but the reason is not the frustration for being locked down! As I fully understand that it’s in my benefit only & then there is no other alternative but the sarcastism is for the people’s reactions or way of expressing & even those whom we use to (soon it will be used to) warship in business as well social life! No need for the names to be mentioned (that hardly makes any sense, it’s in blog name only) as one is head of a very big housing finance company as private bank & respected in real estate fraternity as well international finance circuit & another is one of the oldest business family in country & more respected for his social maturity as well grace with which he carries a business empire & then there are many others but that’s fine as when its hitting real estate below the belt no one in this country keeps in the last line!

I have taken up this issue, as in past also many big names which we only (read as real estate fraternity) have made big, have been vocal & twitting also in lashing out at builders & developers, whatever may be the reason but never for anything good is a fact! If floods chocks city roads- its due to builders, traffic jams in Metro citi-s, its due to builders, trees are being cut-builders hand behind it, some reservation of play ground is shifted & a building is build-who else but the builder, a river has been encroached- it has to be a builder behind it, pollution levels increasing, i-s builder lobby & the list is as endless as Hanumanji’s Punch! Fortunately till now nobody has held builders’ responsible for the epidemic & virus but the spread or threat of the spread is most in slums as well in the illegal settlements, we all know. And exactly this is where our social idol Mr. Character Business Man of country has hit the builders (read as real estate) that it’s the greed of the builders which has been reason of the slums as well illegal constructions! And what a perfect timing of quoting his views, when the epidemic spread threat is most in these localities or settlements in Mumbai & Pune! Thank you Mr. Character, on be half of entire real estaters; had been some other time I would have just bowed down (like all others) & let it go but not this time. Even if you don’t intended or the media has misread & misprinted what you have said (a standard practice post statement) yet there are millions in this country for whom some names are god & when its morals & character & good practices, your name is one of them, this is why I felt writing back!

Sir, first of all, agreed whenever any wrong thing (read the list above) related to any piece of land may it be regular land, or under river or some reservation then the name of the builder is bound to happen as that’s the industry which builds or creates new structures. Just the way in this recent virus outbreak, it must be job of some research lab of microbiology or virology which has gone wrong. But then please look about millions of people who also are resident of this country & residing in some legal home (you are also included in it), these thousands of building are also creation of some builder only, isn’t it? Indeed there are few wrong  entities in this business which are in automobile industry also who makes fake or duplicate spares but let me tell you, no builder alone can build an illegal building unless he is  Super Man! As agreed behind every illegal building there has to be a builder, same way behind every non-affordable legal home also there has to be a builder but then behind him, stands the entire system which includes our govt as well media & the society too, of which you & me are also part. Because no illegal building can be erected overnight, not even in China, so what the so called system which has created RERA & IOD/CC like labyrinth processes to get one plan  sanction for a normal builder (like myself), is doing when the while illegal building gets build over few months? And then may it be a residence or some office use in such illegal buildings, who are the occupants, they too are citizens of this very country sir, just like the way they purchase duplicate spare parts of a car of your company also! So will you blame all legitimate auto makers as wrong & corrupt?

Now coming to slums, indeed it’s a curse to our cities but then again how can you blame just builders for making of slums because these millions of people are unable to afford a legal homes that’s why they surrender to slums & then no slum is possible without support or say consent of the rulers which we call govt is a naked truth even a child in this country knows but you & other so called Mr Characters’ never blamed govt for making slums, may I ask why?  Today the police are so meticulously implementing their powers for lockdown, why the same police & the system shut their eyes & ears to the noise of slum like Dharavi getting build & break it when it’s in making only? Sure Ddharavi hasn’t been build in a year & when you were young then it must be small in spread, so where were you al so called South Bombayites when Dharavi reached to the volume of today’s size? Never remembered anybody demanding its demolition as it’s totally illegal!
And then if you are counter arguing that’s its builder who made homes non-affordable because of our greed that’s why slums got created, then with same logic can be applicable to thousands of illegal lodges which shelters poor travellers that they can’t afford room tariff of The Taj Hotel, so they have to stay at an illegal hotel, isn’t it? Sir & speaking about affordability, just a small home build in remote area like Timbhaktu can’t be called as affordable rather you can make definition of affordability for others as who better than you know what happens when you make somebody’s dream of car to Nano size to make it affordable! It’s the entire setup including land cost to infrastructure to construction, to need of market as well social & financial position of a buyer all this decides affordability, not surely some bunch of uneducated businessmen whom you call builders!

Well, “baat jub afordability ki nikali hi ha to aur bhi kisi bhai saab ne haat dho liye apane bahati gnaga me”! Yes, one more name which has high respect & more importantly which has been raised from ashes of housing sector i.e. real estate only! He also jumped the train of hitting builders at perfect time saying reduce the falt selling rates, may it be even for ready possession inventory! Sir, you are also a respected worshipped name for us & again for both of you I am sorry for “Chota muah badi baat” but sir, affordability has to be two way, or else it would be called as charity, isn’t it? How will a banker repply, if I say, please reduce bank interest rates by 20% so that it will be affordable to me for building my project? I will like to know the answer, as that will enlighten me the formula which you have suggested for builders to survive! Indeed a home is costliest product in this country anywhere you not just in Pune, Mumbai of Delhi but even rural parts also or else the famous  phrase, “lagna pahawe karun aani ghar pahawe bandhun” wouldn’t have been exist here in Marathi which of course both of you legends won’t know as its in desi language,. Well, I will try to translate for you, it means two things a man should try in his life, and one is getting married & second is build a home, as both are toughest things a man has to face. No wonder real estate is one such weird industry as imagine for ages in this country when building one single home of own is considered as such a pain, what it must before building thousands of the homes, that too for others!
In a big city, to build one small building of even ten flats takes so much time & stress as there might have been times few decades back when being a builder was cake walk & all money but that’s no more for the present genre of the builders. I am not saying real estate is most hard or worst business as it still has money  which has got loads of hurdles along with it is a fact. As right from getting a clear legal land to obtain permissions, to build & to sale, is no more an easy job, courtesy the system we have here! Let me tell you gentlemen, govt as well media cares a damn for real estate & its issues yet every time there is flood or epidemic every govt organization expects help in kind or in money from builders (read as Credai) & we respond with open hands & mind, however pain we ourselves may be in! But when its policies or views to be considered nobody remembers builders as that time teaming with us is a taboo in this country, this is what we need to change if you want affordable legal homes & at reduced rates!  Even knowing all the fact, if you are commenting or blaming the builders for creation of slums or asking builders to reduce rates of the homes, then sorry gentlemen, all I will say is this is like a Guru telling some hungry man importance of “Upwaas” (fasting) with his stomach full!

Dear Mr Character & Mr Finance Guru (& all others) who takes pride in slamming builders & real estate, I am sorry for my anguish or frustration & let me tell you we respect you very much for you achievements & contribution for the country as well society. But please don’t make your line big by cutting our line small (again a phrase from Akbar Birbal)! As we respect you for your knowledge, wisdom as well experience but all these qualities are praised only if they are used to make other common mortal men (read as builders) a shade wiser & better human being &  that’s not going to happen just blaming us like any other cheap tabloid do; is all I wanted to share. And certainly this wasn’t expected not at the time when we all need to be united & fight the economic war forced on us by some virus! Sorry, again if I have hurt anybodies feelings then, “Michhami Dukadam” means Dilse Sorry!
Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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