Revamp Pune Property Tax Distribution System: BJP

PUNE: The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded that the property tax distribution system should be revamped as citizens are not getting bills on time.

The standing committee approved municipal commissioner, Mahesh Zagade’s, proposal to appoint an agency to assess all the untaxed properties. Besides adding new properties to the tax list, the move will help identify domestic properties used for commercial purpose. This step will add to the PMC’s revenue.

In the last two years, the PMC has brought nearly 80,000 properties under the tax net. However, an estimated 45,000 properties still remain out of its ambit.

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Take H1N1 Vaccine Only If Doctors Advise, Says NIV Director

PUNE: If you are planning to take shots to prevent the Influenza A H1N1 virus, then do so only if the doctor has advised you. Also, go to proper hospitals to avoid any adverse reactions.

Director of National Institute of Virology (NIV) A C Mishra gave this advice on Friday at an awareness programme organised by the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) and Disha Social Foundation.

He said the present weather was conducive for the spread of swine flu. “The H1N1 virus has not undergone a significant change, so medicines and vaccines currently being used can be continued,” said Mishra. The programme was attended by members of social organisations, voluntary groups and people working in the health and medical fields.

Pimpri-Chinchwad mayor Yogesh Behl said, “During the Ganesh festival, all mandals should display posters to create awareness about H1N1. If the smaller mandals cannot do so because of a funds crunch, the PCMC will provide them the posters. People should eat healthy food and sleep well to improve immunity.”

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PCMC Will Invite Bids For Empire Estate Flyover From Aug 15

PUNE: The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) will invite bids for construction of a flyover at Empire Estate in Chinchwad, estimated to cost around Rs 95 crore, by August 15.

The flyover will begin in Kalewadi and cross the Pavana river, Pimpri-Chinchwad link road, Pune-Lonavla railway line and the old Pune-Mumbai highway and end near the Autocluster in Chinchwad. It will be built on a 45-metre-wide Development Plan road. The PCMC is in possession of most of the land.

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PMC Plans To Go Clean, Seeks Central Funds

PUNE: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) will submit a comprehensive Cleanliness Plan’ to the state within two months to seek central assistance to improve sanitation, cleanliness and sewage treatment in the city.

The All-India Institute of Local Self Government (AIILSG), a government body that enables local bodies to contribute to the development process and provide citizens with a better life, met civic officials on Friday to discuss the plan.

Pune is a dismal 65th in the Union urban development ministry’s ranking for cleanliness and sanitation standards. In one of the most daunting tasks taken up by the ministry, 423 cities and towns with a population of more than one lakh were recently rated on parameters such as complete elimination of open defecation, elimination of open scavenging, and safe collection and disposal of human excreta.

On the basis of the rating, cities have been classified as red, black, blue and green to denote increasing levels of achievement of good environmental and health outcomes.

A green rating indicates a healthy city, blue indicates a city recovering but still diseased, black indicates a city that needs considerable improvement and red indicates a city on the brink of public health and environmental emergency’, requiring immediate remedial action.

No city in the country could qualify in the green category. Only four cities Chandigarh, Mysore, Surat and New Delhi municipal council area are in the blue category. Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad fall in the black category. While 229 cities are in the black category, the remaining 190 fall in the red category.

Of the 38 cities in the state which were part of the survey, 27 are in the black category and 11 in the red. Smaller cities like Satara, Akola, Ichalkaranji, Chandrapur, Bhusawal, Panvel and Amravati have fared better than Pune.

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Twin Levies Hit Home Sales, Registrations In Maharashtra

It’s turning into a battle between property developers and home buyers in Maharashtra, as the two argue over who will pay the service tax and the recently-imposed value added tax. The twin blow is holding up a large number of property registrations across the state, say top realty brokers and developers.

In Pune, the auto and information technology hub, property sales have come down by half because of this issue, says Pankaj Kapoor, managing director of Liases Foras, a real estate research and ratings firm. “The Pune market was doing well in the last quarter, now with the imposition (of the levies), it is badly hit. Even the sales have been hit in the peripheral areas of Mumbai [ Images ],” Kapoor says.

According to Kapoor, home sales in Mumbai have been impacted to the extent of 15 to 20 per cent due to the problem. Recently, the state government imposed one per cent VAT on the contract price of the houses mentioned in the sale agreement registered on or after April 1 this year.

With the Centre’s imposition of 2.38 per cent service tax on under-construction properties, which came into effect at the start of July, the additional burden (excluding the five per cent stamp duty and registration charges) comes to 3.38 per cent of the property value.

Suppose, if a person buys a house of Rs 1 crore in Mumbai, he has to now shell out an additional Rs 338,000 as VAT and service tax, which effectively translates into an equated monthly installment of around Rs 4,000.

What has made matters worse for buyers is that the additional burden is coming on top of the sharp rise in home prices. According to a report from brokerage house IIFL, residential prices in Mumbai and the National Capital Region of Delhi have increased 20-30 per cent since March and have reached new highs.

“Any additional cost is going to impact sales,” says Mrunal Duggar, vice-president, Homebay Residential, a unit of Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj. Already home sales in Mumbai went below 6,000 units in May after 11 months of 6,000-plus a month, the IIFL report says.

Developers say the state government might also impose one per cent of the cost of construction as labour charges, which will increase burden further. Duggar of JLLM say developers should look out for the any additional burden on the potential customer in the reviving market.

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PCMC News: Changes At Dange Chowk To Reduce Traffic Congestion

PUNE: The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has set up channelisers on three sides of Dange chowk on Aundh-Ravet road in Thergaon to allow motorists a free left turn without causing congestion.

In addition to the channelisers, zebra crossings will be repainted and footpaths built on all sides. Traffic signals will be installed and the existing road dividers will be extended to segregate flow of vehicles. All the measures would be in place in a month’s time, assured Patil.

An official of the traffic department of the PCMC said, “The widening of Aundh-Ravet road is in progress, so channelisers on the fourth side of the chowk, leading to Tathawade, will be set up later. The traffic signal at the centre will be removed and signal posts will be installed in the channelisers on all the four sides.”

The PCMC will soon conduct a drive to check encroachments along the roads converging at the chowk. As a long-term measure to reduce traffic congestion, the PCMC plans to construct a flyover at Dange chowk.

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PCMC News: Free Bus Pass Scheme To Be Restarted

PUNE: The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) will shortly ask the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) to restart the free bus pass scheme for students in the municipal limits.

The PMPML has provided 80 buses for ferrying school students, and the PMC has already implemented the free bus pass scheme for this academic year after resolving all payment related issues.

The civic administration has tabled a proposal to give Rs 2.62 crore to PMPML for payment of arrears. The proposal will come up at the weekly meeting of the standing committee, to be held on July 27. The proposal states payment of Rs 1.64 crore was made to PMPML after receipt of a letter dated April 26. The civic body had to pay total dues of Rs 4.26 crore.

There was no budgetary provision in the secondary education department for the free bus pass scheme, and so no provision for payment of dues. But, there is a provision of Rs 7 crore for students’ quality enhancement for secondary education department, and the deficit amount of Rs 2.62 crore is expected to be paid from that provision with the approval of the standing committee.

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Pimpri-Chinchwad: Pune’s Last Hope For Planned Residential Development

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Pimpri-Chinchwad, the twin city located south-east of Mumbai, is the fifth most populated city of Maharashtra and also one of the most prominent industrial destinations outside Mumbai. In fact, Pimpri-Chinchwad is the decisive factor in making Pune the second largest industrial city in Maharashtra after Mumbai.

Industrial Utopia

Over 4000 industrial units in the large, medium and small sectors dot its landscape, among these some of the most reputed industrial companies in the country. If one includes Bhosari and Dapodi in its purview, Pimpri-Chinchwad’s repertoire reads like a regular industrial Who’s Who. Among the major names are:

  • Bajaj Auto Ltd.
  • Force Motors
  • Sandvik Asia
  • Alfa Laval
  • Forbes Marshall
  • Atlas Copco
  • Kirloskar Filters
  • Kalyani Sharp
  • Mahindra and Mahindra
  • Hindustan Antibiotics
  • Kirloskar Pneumatics
  • Tata Motors
  • Indian Card Clothing
  • Finolex
  • SKF Bearings
  • Greaves Cotton

… and many more

Pimpri-Chinchwad’s status as a power-driven property destination also derives from its matchless connectivity. Its strong road network encompasses major transportation corridors – the Mumbai–Pune Road, the NH-4 Bypass, NH-50 (Pune-Nashik Highway) and the roads connecting Aundh to Kalewadi and the Mumbai–Pune Road to Bhosari.

Development Potential

Until fairly recently, Pimpri-Chinchwad was perceived primarily as an industrial hub and not a residential destination. However, with industrial development on ascend the population has grown exponentially there. Today, Pimpri-Chinchwad has emerged as a as a metropolis in its own right, with a thriving residential market on par with the best-planned cities and towns in India.

The residential market has multiple market drivers. The proximity to Hinjewadi IT Park apart, there is no doubt that this area’s future development will now be driven by the industrial clusters which are heavily concentrated in the PCMC area. Many landmark developments such as the International Convention Centre are coming up here, which clearly indicates that the PCMC area has a high potential for development. These projects are all part of the PCMC master plan laid down three decades ago.

Residential real estate development in Pimpri-Chinchwad has picked up rapidly in the last three years, and this area’s tag of an ‘Industrial City’ has vanished forever. The first wave of housing projects was driven primarily by the redevelopment of industrial campuses and plots into residential projects that catered to the workforce at the MIDC/industrial areas in Pimpri-Chinchwad and Talegaon.

Today, however, the fact that the PCMC area is, in fact, a meticulously planned area is making a truly decisive play on its real estate fortunes. Government-planned cities have various advantages over cities that have expanded via organic growth.

Planned development such as witnessed in Chandigarh and Gurgaon are the wave of the future in Indian real estate. PCNTDA — the Pimpri-Chinchwad New Township Development Authority — is a model closely based on that followed by Chandigarh, Gurgaon and Navi Mumbai.

Pune has witnessed organic growth, and the deficits in proper town planning have resulted in much of its infrastructure problems and shortfall in residential developments. In contrast, the properly planned Pimpri Chinchwad area – especially industry-intense areas like Chakan – should be able to avoid the mistakes done in central Pune.

PCMC has the advantage of proper town planning and the resultant infrastructure. However, there are areas of concern about how adequately development is being addressed in this vital growth area.

Residential Space Shortfall

The PCMC MIDC area encompasses approximately 3000 acres. The Chakan and Talegaon belt comprises about 11000 acres, which means that Chakan will need about 50,000 acres of planned residential development.

This kind of development will happen in a periphery of around 50 sq km. However, the magnitude of actual development today is lamentable. This is a major lacuna. 50% of Chakan’s industrial era is already developed and occupied. Major industrial giants like Volkswagen, Bajaj and Mercedes Benz have already started production.

The key area of Pradhikaran is the logical location for absorbing the residential demand of this industrial belt; however planning for the residential requirements of employees in these industries in Pradhikaran is completely inadequate. This needs to be done soon. To boost the residential sector in Pradhikaran, proper road connectivity between Pradhikaran, PCMC and Chakan must be established.

Pradhikaran has the potential of becoming the latest real estate growth area – not only for PCMC, but in terms of Pune as well. Pune is, in geographic terms, a small city typified by haphazard development of its real estate market. The PCMC area is a diametric opposite – it is 100% planned, with the groundwork for the planning in place since 1965.

Pune’s growth boosters are education and IT / ITES. In PCMC, and particularly in the Pradhikaran area, there is a plethora of factors to amplify economic and real estate market growth, including IT, automobile and various other industries.

The result is that a huge magnitude of residential and utility space needs to be developed in Pradhikaran alone. However, this has not been addressed by developers.

Three years back, the average property rates in the PCMC area were below Rs. 1000/sq.ft. Now, the average rate throughout the region is between 2500-3000/sq.ft. – a growth rate that Pune has been able to replicate only in certain IT-centric or high-profile residential areas.

At the current time, it is still possible to locate residential projects to commercial projects in Pradhikaran. This allows for maximum appreciation potential, since the demand for either of these two segments feeds the other. In another five years, the area will have reached such a high level of development that such juxtaposition will no longer be feasible.

Developers still have an opportunity to take advantage of this fact and develop residential and commercial projects close to each other. While this makes excellent business sense, it will also ensure that Pradhikaran will attain a balanced real estate profile that dovetails perfectly with the PCMC master plan.

Currently, the residential property rates in Pradhikaran range between 2500-3000/sq.ft. Once the International Convention Centre and the new International airport are launched, these rates have the potential of doubling. Until then, the minimum appreciation potential for Pradhikaran will remain at a steady 15-20% year-on-year.

Anil Pharande is President of CREDAI PCMC and Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in the PCMC area of Pune, India.

This article may be reprinted with proper attribution to the author and a link back to PunePropertyBlog.com

Pune Property Tax: Zone-Wise Agencies For Assessment

PUNE: In order to improve collection of property tax, municipal commissioner Mahesh Zagade has proposed appointing of zone-wise agencies to assess properties and bring those properties which are not being assessed under the tax net.

In the last two years, the PMC has brought nearly 80,000 properties under its tax net. However, an estimated 45,000 properties still remain out of its reach. Earlier when Zagade had proposed a 22 per cent hike in various taxes in the draft budget, the move was rejected, suggesting that an efficient collection of property tax would be a better alternative than tax hike.

Once 40-45,000 unassessed properties come under the tax net, the civic body was expected to get an additional revenue of Rs 100-150 crore.

The PMC’s tax collection and assessment department has already submitted a plan to the standing committee, in order to widen the property tax net in 2010-2011. After octroi, property tax is a major source of revenue for the municipal corporation.

The department has proposed that digital pictures of all properties be taken for record and an aluminium plate be fixed on each property, identifying its survey number and other details. The department has also proposed that all information of properties in Pune be recorded at the PMC office.

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Pune Can Make Rain Water Harvesting Work

PUNE: The writing is on the wall. The city’s population is rising and its water needs are growing by the day. So the city must save water through as many ways as possible or faces cuts year after year.

Among the options, rain water harvesting (RWH) stands out as the most workable solution. It has been tried and tested in several metros like Chennai and Bangalore where it has improved groundwater levels significantly and made new buildings in Mumbai explore the option.

While individual efforts in the city to store rain water to recharge ground water levels stand out as classic examples and many citizens back the idea and want the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to make it mandatory for all buildings, the civic body says it is not such a feasible way to save water. Experts find it a question of willingness.

At the top, the state government is keen on rain water harvesting. The water supply and sanitation department had issued a government resolution in 2002 approving RWH as a means of improving water supplies. The GR details various RWH techniques, their costing and availability of funds.

However, civic officials want the push to come from the state government. “The PMC is waiting for the state government’s directives to make a RWH compulsory for new constructions in the city. As of now, it is voluntary for new constructions. Once the state issues directives, the civic body will follow it,” said PMC’s deputy city engineer Rajendra Raut.

Unlike Chennai where the government made it mandatory for all buildings including government offices to have RWH in 2003, the PMC has said the costs and infrastructure made it an unfeasible option here.

Of the 6.5 lakh properties in Pune, only some 600 have implemented RWH. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) grants concessions in property tax to societies that implement one or two of the eco friendly techniques like rainwater harvesting, solar heating techniques or vermi-composting.

A five per cent rebate is granted if any one of the techniques is followed and ten per cent if two techniques are implemented. City engineer Prashant Waghmare said, “We have not made it compulsory. It is not possible to ask old property owners in the city to opt for this technique as they do not have the space or the side margins required to set up the system.

“It is not feasible to make rainwater harvesting compulsory. It involves cost and infrastructure. At many places the geological conditions do not permit such a system, especially where the hard rock forms the base of the land. Setting up such an infrastructure is expensive in such cases,” said Raut.

RWH consultant Jyoti Panse said the techniques was not prohibitive. “Compared to the price we pay for water during crises, the RWH investment is less and a one-time investment.

Until the PMC opts for a metered water system, people will not understand the value of water. Once water is tagged with value, people will understand its worth and the importance of rain water harvesting,” she said.

That there is little initiative from the citizens too is apparent. A total of 8,063 properties were given tax concession in 2009-10. According to the property tax department, 1,185 had implemented solar heating and 2,171 had taken up vermicomposting.

In sharp contrast, just one property had rain water harvesting. In a combination of two techniques, 4,227 properties had both solar and vermicomposting while 579 had rainwater harvesting and vermicomposting. Willingness will be the bottomline for RWH to gain ground, said Panse.

All That You Want To Know About Rain Water Harvesting

Can I harvest rain in my own house?

Yes. Structures to harvest rain require little space. A dried borewell, a row of soak pits or a tank concealed below the ground are all that you need. The open spaces like rooftops and the ground can be used as your catchment (surface to catch rain).

How much will it cost?

Costs vary depending on the area of your roof and other structures that you will use to harvest rain. But it does not require major construction work, so the expenses suit most pockets. Find out for yourself on websites including http://www.rainwaterharvesting.org

Who will build it and how long will it take?

You need someone who understands RWH. It is simple, but it still needs someone who has experience in the principles of rainwater harvesting. Then a skilled mason or a plumber can do the job for you within 10 days.

Who will it benefit?

Your groundwater will get recharged. But as groundwater finds its own way, your neighbourhood will gain too. So for best results, get all your neighbourhood societies to become rainwater harvesters as well.

What will be the quality of water?

You are putting rain water into the ground, which once contaminated, cannot be cleaned easily. Do not let water with sewage or other dirt flow into your recharge pits. This is why the cleanest rainwater is from our rooftops. There are also filters to keep some dirt out.

Does it require maintenance?

Once or twice a year, at very little cost. Remember rainwater harvesting means that you have to get involved. This is about making water all our business and about building our relationship with water, with the environment. Harvest rain and learn the value of each raindrop.

What are types in rainwater harvesting?

Rooftop RWH is the one in which roof-water is collected and directed into a bore well pipe after filtration or can be stored in a storage tank and used for non-potable requirements

Collection of rainwater that falls on the ground is called surface rain water harvesting. This water is polluted as it comes in contact with the ground, so it should be recharged into the ground by means of filtering recharge pits

(Source: Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi)

Why Rainwater Harvesting

  • It is a simple, economical and ecofriendly technique of preserving every drop of water falling on the earth.
  • It is the process of gathering and storing rain drops and preventing runoff, evaporation and seepage for its efficient utilisation and conservation.
  • It is an effective option to gather rain water and store it.
  • Harvesting helps utilise a large quantity of good quality water which otherwise goes waste.

Just A Little Space

Harvesting rain needs little space. A dried bore well, a row of soak pits or a tank concealed below the ground are all that is needed. The open spaces, rooftops and ground can be used as catchment area. Groundwater will be recharged, and as groundwater finds its way around, the neighbourhood will gain too.

Cost Factor

The cost is calculated based on the size of the building and various other considerations. Pune receives a total rainfall of around 700 mm through the year. An apartment block or a bungalow with 1,000 sq ft terrace can save around 60-70,000 litres of water every year.

Hardware costs for installing a rainwater harvesting system is between Rs 10 and Rs 12 per sq ft of terrace area. Harvested rain water can be diverted to existing bore well water or flushing water storage tank.

Approximate cost of this storage tank is Rs five to six per litre of the tank capacity. A building of Rs 24 flats will incur an expense of about Rs 1 lakh for installation of the system.

This article was reprinted from the Times of India.