Put Pune Development Plan On Municipal Elections 2012 Campaign Agenda

With the Pune Municipal Corporation Elections 2012 coming up, the usual spate of election promises by corporators to improve the infrastructure in their respective wards are being made. As positive as these promises are, they miss the larger point – Pune does not need segmented, fractional development.

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Piecemeal development is exactly what has been happening all these years anyway. The haphazard development of Pune has followed the usual course of opportunistic urbanization. Certain areas receive maximum attention while others are completely neglected.

The Pune City Development Plan (DP), which now includes 23 villages around the city, was recently approved after a massive delay of six years. If properly implemented, the DP has the potential to give the benefits of proper urban development to Pune’s real estate sector, its economy and to its citizens. The city as a whole needs better, wider roads and traffic management, improved water supply and more hospitals, gardens and playgrounds and open areas.

It is not just some areas being administered to by individual corporators that need to see change – the whole city needs the changes that will make life easier for its citizens and contribute towards more rational growth. The patchwork improvements that are being promised will not help Pune to develop scientifically, rationally and beneficially. A closer look at neighbouring Pimpri-Chinchwad would reveal just how much can be done for a city if its policy makers adopt a unified and holistic approach to development.

While Pune continues to stagger under the pressures of infrastructure deadlock, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) is already passing on the benefits of visionary urban planning to its residents. The planned development model adopted by the PCNTDA has consistently ensured that real estate growth in the entire Pimpri Chinchwad belt has taken place in a logical manner. As a result, infrastructure in the PCMC has become one of the brightest gems in Maharashtra’s urban development showcase.

The Pune Municipal Corporation Elections present the city with a good opportunity to insist on the proper and timely implementation of the Pune Development Plan. In the 23 villages which have now come under the DP, there has been little or no progress on infrastructure for more than two decades. There is an urgent need for proper roads and other physical infrastructure in these areas, many of which which have already seen a lot of irrational construction and illegal projects.

If Pune’s development Plan is properly streamlined and implemented, all old and new areas will benefit from improved road networks which will help in the decongestion of the inner city. It would be a mature election platform to promise the implementation of the DP in a timely and progress-oriented manner, rather than promising to improve only certain sections of the city.

We look forward to one visionary candidate in the upcoming Pune Municipal Elections 2012 to take up the cause of the Pune Development Plan as a whole.

Posted by: K. D. Nagarkar

Sri Sri Ravishankar To Inaugurate SSRVM School At Woodsville On January 15, 2012

Sri Sri Ravishankar, the iconic spiritual guru and founder of the internationally acclaimed Art of Living spiritual lifestyle system, will personally inaugurate Sri Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir school at Woodsville, Moshi (Pimpri-Chinchwad) on January 15, 2012.

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The inauguration and ‘bhoomi pujan’ ceremony will take place at 2.30 PM on January 15 at the school’s venue in Woodsville, a residential township project at Moshi in PCMC. Anil Pharande, Vice President of CREDAI Pune Metro and Chairman of leading township developers Pharande Spaces, will also be present as Shri Shri Ravishankarji conducts the ceremonial blessing of the school and addresses his followers and the school’s staff.

“The arrival of SSRVM in Pune’s Pimpri Chinchwad area is a landmark event in the history of a city which is known as the Oxford of the East,” says Anil Pharande. ”We are indeed honoured that Guruji has selected Woodsville as the place in which to launch this unique school, which will be a blessing to parents and children.”

The renowned spiritual leader, a staunch supporter and advocate of sustainable living, has personally selected Woodsville as SSRVM’s venue on the basis of its ecologically friendly configuration. Woodsville is Pimpri-Chinchwad’s most talked-about self-sustaining residential township.

The SSRVM educational model is a proven process of self-learning that builds life skills and nurtures leadership. It is staffed by highly qualified teachers who receive special orientation and training at Sri Sri Teachers Training Academy. In the words of H.H. Sri Sri Ravishankar, “Every parent would like to have a child whose personality shines wherever the child goes. It is the personality that is appreciated everywhere. Such pleasing personality is the main aim of this education.”

The educational system developed by Sri Sri Ravishankar employs an innovative and compassionate system of learning which features a curriculum for all-round development of its young students. The school’s syllabus is customized to NCERT guidelines and includes Sanskrit, Yoga, Karate, Sports, Dance, Music and Arts, which helps the child to blossom in all aspects of life. SSRVM is an initiative of the Art of Living Foundation, which has centres in more than 150 countries and enjoys a special consultative status with the United Nations Economic & Social Council of United Nations.

The Investment Potential Of Pune’s Growth Areas

The 2012 Government Ready Reckoner for Pune shows a property rates increase of between 20-25% in some of the rural areas, primarily those that are being developed rapidly. Is this surprising? After all, would one not expect rates to go up more in urban rather than rural areas? Not necessarily.

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In the first place, it is the developing areas of Pune that are the investment hotspots, not the established ones. This is because these areas, though priced lower than the central city locations, are seeing addition of infrastructure and rapidly improving connectivity.

This means that property investors focusing on Pune can pick up properties at lower rates and watch their value grow as these areas become better connected to the city’s economic hubs. This phenomenon is already being witnessed in areas like Wakad, Punewale, Moshi and Ravet, all of which benefit from proximity to the Hinjewadi Infotech Park, the Expressway and the PCMC manufacturing belt. The demand for housing in these areas is high and increasing with every passing month.

It must be remembered that the price of housing is determined by the demand for it. In any given area, housing prices grow in tandem with the growth in local population. The basic logic is simple – as more people are added to a local economy, the more housing is required – and the greater the demand for housing, the higher will be the property prices. Pune property investors are obviously interested in cashing in on this trend.

The fact that Ready Reckoner rates are rising should also point the way for aspiring home owners. This is the right time to buy a home in one of the rapidly growing development areas of Pune. Investment in the right kind of home in the right kind of location can provide them a comfortable lifestyle now and financial security for themselves and their families in the long run.

Here are some quick guidelines for the selection process:

  • Ensure that the project is being constructed by a reputed builder with a good track record for timely completion
  • Ensure that the location has appreciation potential – ask a local broker by how much prices there have grown over the last three years and how much they are expected to grow in the next three years
  • Do not go by price alone but look at what is scheduled to happen in the location in the near and distant future
  • Invest in a township property. Township properties generally show better resale value than standalone projects because they have better infrastructure, security, construction quality, facilities and ambience

Posted by: K. D. Nagarkar

Pune Real Estate: The Price Of Rapid Urbanization

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By the most recent reckoning, India’s population currently hovers around the 1.15 billion mark. It is estimated that by 2030, this figure will have grown to around 1.53 billion. India’s urban areas are just about ready to burst at the seams, on the heels of an accelerating population explosion.

The population growth in India’s rural areas in the present decade is around 18%, and over 30% in the urban areas. This pattern of urbanisation is seen as encouraging, since it seems to indicate that India will attain the global urbanization standard average in the course of the next decade.

However, it is also true that this upsurge in our cities’ population is putting available civic structures like public transport, water supply, drainage, sewerage and obviously the supply of housing under severe pressure.

This raises the question – how are India’s real estate developers addressing the problem of insufficient infrastructure in and around their projects in the main cities? The fact is, they can’t do much.

In cities like Pune, property buyers have no choice but to turn a blind eye to the absence of sufficient infrastructure. They are aware of the fact that they will face numerous inconveniences, but what can they do?

Many opt to buy into projects that boast of compensatory measures to overcome the infrastructure deficit. These would include independent water supply if a reliable municipal pipeline doesn’t exist, electricity backup to make up for unreliable power supply and sump pits if the area does not have adequate sewage.

However, such projects in Pune City are few and far between, and homes in them come at extremely high prices. Also, no matter in how many ways Pune developers compensate for lack of civic infrastructure, they cannot add more than a token patch of landscaped lawn by ways of natural ambience.

The high property rates are a real problem. Many of those who buy flats in Pune have saved all their lives for buying their Pune dream home. They have made a lot of sacrifices to make this happen; having finally managed to save enough, they buy their homes and immediately regret it.

The maintenance costs for their flats are far too high for them to bear – a lot of them can’t afford petrol for their cars anymore. They travel to and from work by bus.

We have all looked at the parking lots of highly-priced residential projects and seen dusty cars with handmade posters on the rear windows saying things like ‘Homemade Detergent Soap Available at Flat 12A’ and ‘Tuition For Stds. V to IX – Contact Mr. XYZ at Flat 26C.

It simply makes no sense to invest everything in a home and then live in financial stress afterward. The solution obviously lies in finding a home where the same investment buys you more.

The choice is between paying a certain amount on a small, under-equipped flat in the crowded central city or on a spacious home in a location blessed with natural beauty and and sound infrastructure.

The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, which planned its residential areas decades ago, offers such options. The integrated residential projects in Ravet and other sectors of Pradhikaran close to the upcoming International Convention Centre offer the kind of homes that Puneites have always dreamed of, but never been able to own.

The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation also has an extremely vibrant economy, offering more and more job opportunities across all business sectors with every passing year.

Finally, because of the regulated nature of the PCMC real estate market and the high emphasis on civic facilities and amenities, there is no question of an eventual infrastructure deadlock. The real estate prices are way below those see in Pune, too. For that reason, these are the kind of homes that will be sources of joy for several generations.

Anil Pharande is Chaiman – Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm operating in the PCMC area of Pune, India.

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