Pune Mayor: Go Green, Get Tax Rebate

Mayor Mohansingh Rajpal has said that builders should play a more pro-active role in developing facilities for recycling of water, rainwater harvesting, sewage treatment as this will help reduce the load on Pune Municipal Corporation.
“In return, the PMC offers a 10% reduction in property tax that will make a project more attractive to buyers,” he said, while inaugurating the property exhibition series of CREDAI, Pune, VITS Hotel, Balewadi.
The mayor said, “The young generation of builders is doing a lot of good work for the city. Pune needs more and more young people in the process of development of the city,” he said.
The mayor asked CREDAI members to explore ways in which tourism can be increased in the city and assist the PMC to develop projects such as cleaning up the river, development of a world class exhibition centre, museums and malls.
The CREDAI, Pune, exhibition is from August 6 to 8. Projects on display cater to 1BHK to 5BHK flats, bungalow plots, pent houses, farmhouse plots covering all areas in PMC and PCMC.
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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.

World Environment Day: Green Company Award For Pune Firm

Pune-based leading Innovative Infrastructure Solutions’ provider Synefra Engineering & Construction Ltd has bagged the ‘Global Green Company of the Year 2010’ award under the category of Global Green Corporate Social Responsibility Awards 2010 for its efforts and investment towards environment and sustainable development.
The award was presented by Green Energy Foundation (GEF) in association with UNESCO on the occasion of World Environment Day, held at MCCIA Trade Towers last week.
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World Environment Day: Green Company Award For Pune Firm

Pune-based leading Innovative Infrastructure Solutions’ provider Synefra Engineering & Construction Ltd has bagged the ‘Global Green Company of the Year 2010’ award under the category of Global Green Corporate Social Responsibility Awards 2010 for its efforts and investment towards environment and sustainable development.
The award was presented by Green Energy Foundation (GEF) in association with UNESCO on the occasion of World Environment Day, held at MCCIA Trade Towers last week.
Read the rest of the article here.

On World Environment Day: Tips To Make Pune Greener

When we speak of the ecology, we are speaking of our environment. In cities like Pune and Mumbai, the first thing that comes to mind is traffic pollution. A lot has been said about this, and Pune is certainly a significant contributor to environmental pollution.
The problem is much lower in the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, thanks to its green cover, carefully controlled real estate development norms and wider roads. However, we can rely only so much on regulated real estate – if we want a sustainable tomorrow, each of us must begin to think ‘Green’ on an individual level.
Yes, each of us can make a real difference in keeping our environment clean for our children, and our children’s children. It requires awareness and discipline in our personal lifestyles, and these are values we can pass down to the generations to come.
Many Pune property developers, particularly in the more sustainable PCMC region, are introducing various new ways of preserving our ecology. This is their contribution to the day when we can hopefully, a few decades from today, strike Pune off the list of the most polluted cities in Asia.

How Sustainable Are You?

With growing awareness comes responsibility. The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has already undertaken many eco-friendly initiatives to provide cleaner, greener homes to its citizens.
Many developers have begun to take sustainable real estate development seriously and begun launching Green Homes on Pune’s outskirts. Now comes the question – how ready are you to bulwark these efforts on a personal level?

Solid Waste Management: Non-Biodegradable Plastic Bags

The Government’s drive to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags was a step in the right direction. The premise was that plastic (polythene) bags do not break up into harmless elements with the passage of time, and that they are extremely harmful to our environment. It had been noted that cattle eat the bags they find in municipal garbage disposal sites and often die as a result. Burning them was not a solution – the fumes do more damage to the health of citizens.
The answer to the problem lay in banning regular polythene bags and introducing ones of lesser thickness. Sadly, pressure from the commercial sector did not allow this ruling to come through. That, however, does not mean that it was not valid.
What You Can Do: Avoid and discourage the use of plastic bags. For shopping, carry your own bag with you, and insist on brown paper bags for individual items.

Alternative Energy Sources: Solar Energy

As developers of modern township properties in Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation know, solar energy is the answer to may pollution-related problems. Though solar water heating equipment is expensive and does not yield the speedy results that electrical or diesel-driven units do, it harvests a free source of energy without giving rise to pollution.
What You Can Do: Use solar water heating facilities where they are available. Consider investing in a small solar heating unit if you are an individual homeowner who is not lucky enough to live in a sustainable Pune township. Installing a solar heating unit for your home will give you access to a limitless, cost-effective and environmentally friendly source of energy.

Cleaner Automobiles: LPG Fuel

Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is a cheap and almost non-polluting alternative to conventional, petroleum-driven automobile engines. With the introduction of LPG drives for autorickshaws and private cars, a significant step has been taken in saving our environment. Petrol-to-LPG conversion kits are getting cheaper and more readily available.
What You Can Do: If you own a personal automobile, consider installing a LPG drive. If you own a business that employs a lot of inner city transport, using LPG instead of fossil fuels will make a significant difference. Also, encourage others to do the same.

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint: Plant More Trees

Trees and plants are more than just decorative – they are Nature’s first line of defense against pollution. They absorb carbon dioxide and convert it to oxygen. The more trees an area has, the cleaner the air will be, as is evidenced in the PCMC and some of the less over-developed areas with residential properties in Pune.
Your Contribution: Simple – plant trees. Make every birthday, anniversary or festival an occasion for planting another one. It will beautify your surroundings and be a lasting heritage for our future generations.

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.
You may reprint or quote this article with full credit to the author and a link back to PunePropertyBlog.com

On World Environment Day, MCCIA To Organise Urbanisation Seminar

The Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) has organised a state-level seminar on ‘Sustainable Urbanisation – Cities in a Changing Climate’ on World Environment Day (June 5 and 6).
Member of Parliament Supriya Sule, Pune Municipal Corporation mayor, Mohansingh Rajpal, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, Mayor Yogesh Behl, president Mukesh Malhotra, Member of Legislative Council Advocate Vandana Chavan and others are members of the organising committee.
The conference will cover topics like the current scenario of urbanisation, strategies for sustainable development and the importance of an environment action plan for civic bodies, building innovative economic models for growing cities, green architecture and urban design mobility and transportation, natural resource management, solid waste management among others.
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