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Gera in News


The Times of India (Times Property) - 1 August, 2011

Taking a cue from other cities in India, Pune, too, needs to give a boost to its infrastructure by practicing the private-public partnership (PPP) model, which is the need of the hour, says ANURADHA RAMAMIRTHAM Pune, the sixth largest metropolitan city in India, has it all- IT companies, the automobile giants and the developers. Piggybacking on this phenomenal growth, Pune is poised to become a Tier I city soon. However, the core issue that remains at the heart of the matter is lack of infrastructure. The government appears hamstrung from doing what is necessary to match the pace of infrastructure development in the city, painting a sorry picture. When it comes to infrastructure, the private public partnership (PPP) is ideally a tried-and-tested model practised all over the world. According to realty experts, access to good infrastructure is a basic human right- adopting the PPP model holds the key for Pune. The PPP model is a route to follow in the construction of mass housing, since the government's ownership of the end deliverables is high. The model can ensure better results, since there is a sufficient degree of governance involved. This can ensure the safeguarding of consumer and public interests. A PPP contract is, by definition, transparent and it recognises the rights and responsibilities of all project-related parties. This means that the concerns of all stakeholders - including end-buyers - are more effectively addressed. There is higher accountability because a PPP contract involves various institutions, including the government, financial institutions, investors and contractors. "In the case of Pune city, it is quite evident that there has been no proper blueprint for growth and no organised urban planning involved in the city's real estate evolution," says Sanjay Bajaj, MD, Pune, Jones Lang LaSalle India. Until recently, primary emphasis has been on immediate capitalization on development potential. This has caused significant infrastructure problems in the central city. "Civic and social infrastructure are most definitely going to play key roles in determining the attraction of existing residential locations and the viability of emerging ones in Pune," adds Bajaj. While other states in India have made effective use of the PPP model, Pune seems to be hobbling in this regards. For instance, ports, roads and urban infrastructure based on the PPP model have met with success in Gujarat. Similarly, Karnataka has done well in the areas of airport, power and roads, while Punjab has made use of the concept for roads. Developers observe that a lack of political will is the only reason for the absence of a PPP approach in Pune. There is a stark contrast in the approach of developing the infrastructure between the private player and the public body. Although the public body has support from the Centre and the state, its hands are tied and it has to adhere to government norms. Atul Goel, MD, Goel Ganga Group, says, "Any public body (the PMC) is more of a policy making body. However, when it comes to implementing these policies, they are not very successful. Execution of policies takes the government three times of the time taken to draft them. For good infrastructure to be in place government should only have the policies in place and implementation should be left to private players." Avers Rohit Gera, Joint MD, Gera Developments, "A private player has far more access to capital than a municipal body. Also, they will be able to deliver projects far more efficiently and faster." However, Pune did register a few success stories in projects based on the PPP approach. For instance, the development of Kharadi area and the Pimpri-Chinchwad Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS). In fact, Panchshil Realty invested Rs 49 crore in developing a four-and-half km road in Kharadi. An international look and feel has been given to the road that includes with landscaping, roundabouts, footpaths, cycle tracks and center dividers. Development of the Kharadi area has benefited both the government and the developers. While four years ago, flats in Kharadi area were being sold for Rs 1,500 psf, the current rate is around Rs 4,500 psf and more. "There is also a difference in the quality of the infrastructure built. For the next 15 years, Panchshil Realty has the responsibility of maintaining the road built in the Kharadi area. So, the quality of the road built is excellent thus, ensuring minimal investment towards its maintenance. As a result, citizens don't have to face issues like potholes," says Yogesh Mehra, Vice-President, Residential, Panchshil Realty. However, absence of the PPP model in Pune city is a problem that developers are facing. Working out a formula, where developers are compensated for investments done towards infrastructure development has to be in place. According to Satish Magar, CMD, Magarpatta Township Development and Construction Company Ltd, "A proper PPP model has to be worked out which should include points the compensation model for the developers and how the road acquisition would be done. Once this is worked out, it can be introduced." Essentially, following the PPP model approach in Pune is a win-win situation for both developers and the PMC. While private players will invest in the project, deliver a quality product and on time helping in Pune’s growth, they will benefit by setting of the tax on the investment used to build the infrastructure. With developed infrastructure, a rise in residential complexes will help the government rake in more taxes. Also, the government can divert its budgets into development of other avenues. In fact, adopting the PPP approach in Pune city is the need of the hour. QUICK BYTES REALTY EXPERTS AFFIRM THAT ACCESS TO GOOD INFRASTRUCTURE IS A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT LACK OF POLITICAL WILL IS WHY THE PPP MODEL IS NOT IN EFFECT IN PUNE CITY

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