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No BMC action against Golden Chariot

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
By Raju Vernekar
Although the fire brigade has cancelled the NOC granted to the Golden Chariot Hotel, located at Hub Mall, Goregaon East, which was gutted in a massive fire on 29th December, 2016, the BMC is yet to take action against the hotel which was accused of blocking fire-exits and carrying out structural changes that allegedly led to delay in putting off the fire.
 Deputy Chief Officer has cancelled the NOC (FBL/S/106/1076 dated 01/11/2006) granted to the hotel, vide his letter dated 6 th March 2017. However BMC’s P South ward office maintain that  although the notices have been issued to the hotel for violation of safety norms, the hotel has moved the court and the court has granted a stay in the matter.
Basically in the writ petition (105/2017) filed by the Golden Chariot Hospitality Services Private Limited against the state government, the rule is yet to be granted. When the petition came up for hearing for the first time, a bench comprising justices Naresh Patil and M.S.Karnik observed that, “Registry has not produced papers and proceedings of the present writ petition. Hence it stand over to 22 February 2017. In the meantime registry to trace out and ensure that papers are produced on next date of the hearing. Now the petition is to scheduled to come up for hearing on23 March 2017.

Speaking to The Afternoon D & C, Assistant Municipal Commissioner Santosh Dhond said, “The BMC has taken required action in the matter. But now the court has granted a stay in the matter”.

Senior Inspector of Police Jyotsna Vilas Rasam of Vanrai Police station said that the cases have been registered against the hotel under the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act 1966, as advised by the BMC. “We are moving as per the instructions of the BMC, which is supposed to look after the issues like how fire broke out ? whether unauthorised structural changes led to aggravation of fire ? etc”, she added.

RTI activists Krishnraj Rao, Shaikh Fakhruddin Junaid and Sulaiman Bhimani, who have been monitoring the case, maintained that the Deputy Municipal Commissioner Kiran Achrekar and Deputy Chief Fire Officer V N Panigrahi had ordered the closure of the hotel long back.

But the hotel continues to function, may be due to collusion with the  BMC officers. Initially the officers dragged their feet making it easy for the accused to move the court, they alleged.

It may be recalled that a complaint report of the Chief Fire Officer dated 14 November 2014, had pointed out many irregularities including unauthorised structural changes, closure of fire exits etc and had directed the BMC’s P south ward to take immediate action in the matter. The report stated that “The P ward shall be asked to urgently visit the premises to verify the license and the area of trade and activities of the “Golden Chariot Restaurant” and take appropriate action under section 394 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act 1888, to stop unauthorised utilisation of additional area of the common passage for restaurant activities. The action of the hotel management could not be obtained despite many attempts. The catering staff at the restaurant said that everything was normal after the fire and now the hotel was functioning routinely
The high Court has not Granted stay to Golden Chariot but the AMC Psouth is protecting the culprit, the matter in the High Court is kept for admission and circulation as per High Court website
POSTED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Sulaiman Bhimani
9323642081

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Mumbai, 5th March, 2016: Last week, one of RNA builders' thousands of cheated flat-purchasers sent the builder a legal ultimatum, and started taking steps for going to court after discovering that their promised 17th floor flat in RNA Regal, a project in Kandivali West, is the proverbial pie-in-the-sky! In February 2011, Sandeep Kothari and Apeksha Khabiya, a non-resident couple based in Doha-Qatar, booked a spacious 17th floor flat in RNA Regal, based on the builder's promise that they would get possession within three years. The couple planned to return to India to live in this spacious 1365 sq. ft. dream house. After paying nearly Rs 30 lakhs up front as initial booking amount, the couple was kept in the dark by RNA Corp which fed them a steady diet of outright lies during the three-year waiting period. Every time the couple phoned RNA Corp, they were informed that the project was making satisfactory progress. In the end, the couple's rude awakening consisted of not one, but three shocking jolts!

Shock # 1: When the promised possession date arrived in March 2014, Sandeep and Apeksha were shocked to learn that no further progress had been made in three years, and that the project was practically at a standstill at “25% progress”, the same as the time when they had booked the flat in Feb 2011. Today, two years after making this shocking discovery, they are still no closer to getting their dream house.

Shock # 2: Almost five years after booking the flat and two yearsafter the promised possession date (March-April 2014), the couple was shocked to discover documents through Right To Information that showed that RNA Regal didn't even have BMC permission for going up to 17 floors and above!

Shock # 3: The couple recently sent their authorised representative to visit the site and make a first-hand observation about whether the construction work is in progress. They were traumatised to learn that no construction activities were going on, and the plot where RNA Regal was expected to come up, was partly blocked by slum dwellers. The authorized representative estimated that the encroachment by slumdwellers appeared to be two to four years old.

These are many causes for worry, not only for Mr and Mrs Kothari, but also for all the flat buyers in RNA Regal! RNA Corp's owners, namely the late Anil Aggarwal, as well as his sons Anubhav and Gokul Aggarwal, have evidently been keeping a large number of buyers in the dark.

Read the legal notice issued by GC Mehta and Associates on behalf of Mr and Mrs Sandeep Kothari: http://tinyurl.com/RNA-Regal-Kandivali

RNA Regal

How the NRI couple was cheated by RNA Corp:

  • The NRI couple booked a 1365 Sq. Ft. Flat on the 17th floor of RNA Regal, by paying Rs. 29.98 lakhs between February and June 2011 against the builder's demand for Rs. 29.28 lakhs, being 25% of the flat's total cost, along with expression of interest. Against this, the builder issued a letter of allotment.

  • The NRI couple made this booking based on the builder's representations that they would get possession of the flatwithin three years e. in the first quarter of 2014.
  • Afterwards, the NRI couple regularly followed up the progress of construction of RNA Regal and were assured by the builder's office that the project was satisfactory progressing.
  • When the date of possession arrived in March-April 2014, RNA Corp informed the NRI couple that still, only 25% of the construction was complete, and the project was stuck due to some “additional statutory requirements”.The couple was assured that efforts were being made and the necessary clearances would be obtained soon.
  • Upset at being kept in the dark until their promised possession date, the NRI couple now started enquiring about the project status by email on a regular basis.
  • In an email dated 4th April 2014, the builder assured that that construction work would resume by June 2014.
  • In an email dated 14th June 2014, the builder claimed that the approvals are expected within 10-15 days.
  • In an email dated 2ndJanuary 2015, the builder said that the necessary approvals would take another 2-3 months.
  • Later on, the NRI couple's emails dated 31/07/2015, 04/08/2015, 06/08/2015, 07/08/2015 20/08/2015 and 23/08/2015 and letters dated 08/12/2015 and 05/02/2016 were acknowledged by the builder's office only with great reluctance, but they all went unanswered.
  • Whenever the NRI couple or their authorized representatives visited India, they made it a point to visit the builder's office to inquire about the progress on this project and understand the earliest date of their getting possession, so that they could permanently return to India and live in this house. But during their every visit, the NRI couple were told about some or the other kind progress as well as difficulties that the RNA Corp had been facing. RNA Corp continually made promises, but there was no performance to back up these promises.
  • In spite of repeated requests, RNA Corp did not fulfill their obligation for executing a registered Agreement for Sale.
  • The NRI couple got a huge shock when they learned through RTI thatRNA Corp had not even obtained approval for constructing a building with 17 or more floors!
  • The Kotharis requested their authorised representative to visit the site and make first hand observation about the actual progress and whether the construction work is in progress. They were traumatised to learn thatno construction activities were going on and the plot where RNA Regal was projected to be constructed was partly blocked by slum dwellers. This encroachment appeared to be 2 to 4 years old!

Driven by all these unpleasant discoveries, Sandeep Kothari and his wife Apeksha have now reached the inescapable conclusion that RNA Corp has cheated them by retaining their money for more than five years, and has kept on making false statements as well as promises, which entitles them to invoke all legal remedies against the builders, especially under Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

For more details on this case, contact Advocate GC Mehta (Mob 9820141178 Email advocategcm@gmail.com)

Postscript: Of late, RNA Corp has been in the news for failure to fulfill legal obligations to various stakeholders, including flat-buyers, project-affected-persons, lending banks, and multiple government agencies such as MCGM and MMRDA. After years or even decades of slippery behaviour by the late Anil Aggarwal and his sons Anubhav and Gokul, the patience of many stakeholders appears to have run out completely.

ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY

Krishnaraj Rao

9821588114

krish.kkphoto@gmail.com

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It is all over the media. Unsuspecting, well educated residents of an upscale locality are losing their homes over something that is "not their fault". The builder didn't tell them that their flats were illegal, etc. Media loves this shit. More! Plight of people like us sells!!! More importantly, plight of people like us is registered as plight, instead of "municipal administration problem".

The residents have run campaigns, done protests, parked their vehicles to obstruct the BMC, and at last news, rioted. Political parties have bridged their differences and come to the need of their voters, led by Milind Deora, who is convincing people that illegal construction is really not such a big deal, and like all other illegal constructions, this one must be allowed too.

Over 90% of the articles fail to mention the name of the builder who built the illegal floors, "Yusuf Patel", so let's get that mentioned upfront, because this part of the issue is not disputed at all.

And now the Supreme Court has extended the demolition date to 31st May 2014.

And we also give media sound bytes on request that we want a corruption-free society, and how it is up to each one of us to fight corruption. Wondering if Campa Cola residents joined any protest march themselves.

No one is debating that the building is illegal. It was build on industrial land by Yusuf Patel, who also happened to have major clout and underground connections (also supplied silver ingots for smuggling that were adulterated with lead to underworld don Haji Mastan). Then the FSI was for five floors, but he went ahead and kept building up (and not for the first time). One building Midtown is 20 floors, the other, Orchid is 17 floors. No one is disputing that this is illegal.

The residents have ignored a Supreme Court order to vacate 102 flats within a 41 day period provided and barricaded themselves in the compound.

protesters from campa cola building facing demolition
Campa Cola compound residents protest - Image: Indian Express

This is a method. Builder builds an illegal building. Political connections keep it from being demolished. Builder sells flats cheap. People buy illegal housing because it is cheap and because it is practically tradition to get the government to regularize it for "humanitarian considerations". This does not change the fact that it is illegal. The idea that you buy cheap flats in a posh locality and get them converted into extremely high priced real estate on regularization is neither new nor something you can count on the government catering to. Illegal is illegal. Asking for leniency because you counted on government inaction is absurd. Political parties supporting such a demand is even more absurd.

The real question comes in the role of our upright citizens who are pleading innocence now. The claim is that they did not know the building is illegal and are now being evicted. They have been fighting for their "rights" since 2005.

Here's the deal. No one has a right to live in an illegal construction. So the "fight" was essentially to get an illegal construction regularized by getting the state to make an exception for them from the law. Milind Deora goes ahead and helpfully points out how this is routinely done, since the concept of politicians upholding the law is usually seen as inferior to the concept of politicians doing whatever people ask them to and earn goodwill (read votes) at the cost of laws.

Except for some reason it is not working, and the case went to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court too ordered the demolition.

But how true is this melodrama?

The Supreme Court verdict on the case states that the residents knew that the building was illegal.

"Although the members of the housing societies knew that the construction had been raised in violation of the sanctioned plan and permission for occupation of the buildings had not been issued by the competent authority, a large number of them occupied the illegally constructed buildings."

Architect Jayant Tipnis testified in court that he had warned the residents several times. He has also confirmed this in media (our real courts) and said that the BMC could have halted the construction too.

"The construction of the building and the six units started without a commencement certificate. I was brought in to ensure that plans were approved and the FSI allowed. The BMC did issue stop-work notices. But it stopped at that, so the constructions continued and the developers even covered the stilt area and sold it to a reputed advertising agency who then wanted me to get it regularised, Of course it could not be done," recalled Tipnis.

As engineers, on an average, had a three-year tenure at the building proposals department, they preferred to look the other way rather than take up demolition of illegal constructions in the city, said Tipnis.

The 70-year-old architect was already working with Patel handling his other building sites at Nagpada when he was called to take up the Campa Cola project. "Patel had turned a new leaf. He was no longer in the smuggling business, but his reputation remained. Had the BMC not been afraid of his reputation and carried out some demolition, the illegal floors would not have been constructed,"

Chandrashekhar Prabhu, urban expert (whatever that means) told CNN-IBN

“This was an industrial plot. Industrial plots were not being permitted to be used for residential purpose. The developer was an underworld don and he managed his way through the government and the politicians. Even in 1986-90, this was a sham and this building ought not to come there. The water came from tankers and there was no water connection…and the residents were aware of that."

But the basic thing is that the residents had the opportunity to present arguments about their innocence several times in court and they failed to convince. D Jeykar, representative of the residents admits she knew the flat was not legal, but says that buying under construction flats is legal, so they thought it was okay. This seems to imply that investing in any under construction project is potentially illegal, which is not true.

Apart from this, even if they knew the building was constructed illegally, their moving into the flat without Occupation Certificates was still illegal and done with full knowledge, no?

The residents allege that their society is being singled out for demolition out of the many illegal buildings because it is a conspiracy:

“Krishna developers which has bought over the rights from Pure Drinks, wants to construct a five-star hotel here. He wants us out. Another plush residential complex is coming up around 500 metres from here and that builder wants a stretch of our land to construct a good approach road,” said Mr. Sacheti.

Knowing India, this is probably true as well, though it is a bit unbelievable that any investor will want to raze residential accommodation for a road.

Equally concerning is the complete lack of action against the builders. The residents are fighting to get a property purchased illegally at cheaper rates (one third of the price, going by some reports) converted into legal prime real estate in Mumbai. There does not seem to be any attempt by the residents to charge the builder for fraud and demand their investment back - which would be logical. One has to wonder why they must insist on an illegal structure being made legal instead of getting their rightful money back and investing in a legal structure? Obvious thought comes to mind is that it may be tough if they knowingly purchased an illegal structure. It is also a little difficult to imagine educated people purchasing a property at a third of the price and not finding out why it is on sale so cheap. Not like people who buy flats look at only one flat and buy it, so difference in rates, even if not advertised, would be evident.

Why are the government authorities not taking action against the builder?

Deafening silence. Not even aware of reporters asking these questions to anyone. It seems the underworld "of the past" is alive and well.

Nor is anyone asking for official answers on:

“We do not agree that the floors are illegal. We have been paying property tax for years now. At best, there is irregularity. Why did the government accept tax from us if our structures were illegal?” asked 42-year-old resident Vijay Mirani.

It is the natural process of occupying illegal accommodation. Get a lot of papers "proving" it is legal. The question is how is proof of residence done? How does the first piece, that gets used for "proving" other things made? We come right back to corruption in the system that can allow you to do these things. Or perhaps simple greed that waives verifications when it comes to getting money. "If someone is paying, they must be legal, right?"

Everyone seems to agree that it is important to punish the builder and not the buyer, but no one seems to have touched the builder at all. Residents have not tried to get him to refund their fraudulently obtained investment, politicians aren't saying anything on what they will do to the builder, even as they are wiping the tears of the residents.

In my view, regularizing the building will be a very bad precedent for dealing with the illegal construction in the city. It will make the BMC's job more difficult. I also abhor this practice of overturning Supreme Court decisions on the streets.

It is a tough situation and one of many we will face with a past of rampant lawlessness and attempting to move to a law abiding future. Many things seeded in the past will result in people doing illegal things fully expecting that they are "all right". The question is if we hold firm, or if we make exceptions when people engineer them. If we make exceptions, there remains no ethical basis for not making exceptions for those who cannot command massive attention. Which brings us back to the lawless 1980s.

The only hope seems to be to stay firm, but also prevent a sense of "being targeted by the law".

In my view, nothing can fix the loss of losing prime real estate you had hoped to get (but had no real right to) and it is a loss that comes with gambles like this. But what needs to be done is to take a more robust view of this situation and ensure that the residents are not the only wrongdoers paying the price simply because they are living where the law strikes.

There is a need to take legal actions against the builders (who have constructed many such buildings). There is a need to pull up the BMC on why it did not stop the construction itself instead of merely issuing a few notices and shutting up. It is important to note that engineers in musical chair transfers may not want to risk going up against powerful people and prefer to simply kick the can down the street for someone else to handle when they are transferred. This can be prevented with proper procedures and time directives so that BMC is legally required to act on illegal construction within a certain period of it coming to their attention.

The BMC should also be forced to compensate the residents for their role in perpetuating the myth that the illegal building was okay to live in. This likely cannot exceed the "legal" land rates in the area, which will be another insight on the black market around property dealings, which is for another day.

The BMC also needs to immediately start moving on the other illegal constructions and ensure that this is established as a clear process rather than a one off targeting of a society because they asked for more water or some builder the BMC is in cohoots with wanted to build a project and they were in the way.

Now that the Supreme Court has stayed the demolition, it may perhaps be an opportunity for the government to mitigate the sense of targeting around the demolition and take concrete actions that make the loss bearable to the citizens in the sense of being a part of history of a new era of legal accommodation in Mumbai.

Note: Several people have pointed out that the builder Yusuf Patel is dead and his sons are avoiding. i don't see how this is relevant to the story, since the building business didn't die with him. The liability of the builders should still be there. At least the Supreme Court thinks so, since its elaboration of its stay on the demolition includes a directive to prosecute the builders.

A very worrisome incident has come to light when a BMC bulldozer demolished the gate of a society deliberately and without any warning, notice or even stated reason. The gate had been standing for 50 years in that very place till the 9th of October 2013, when a BMC bulldozer arrived at 11am and abruptly razed it without prelude. The whole exercise was complete within 10 minutes. The society is now less secure and property and safety of residents is exposed to theft and nuisance 24 X 7.

“By the time the building residents could react and get down to the spot, the BMC staff had already finished their job and sped away,” says Jagdish Gianchandani, who is known for taking up consumer and cooperative society causes for legal assistance.

Shocking as this is, it could have been considered to be typical incompetence, if not for the other details of this story.

Shop No 1 below the building used to have an illegal extension that had been demolished in February (by the BMC). It had been demolished in a manner that left its MS bars in tact, which is often how it is when illegal construction owners make deals with the BMC staff, who are supposed to demolish illegal constructions completely, but can be "persuaded" to "demolish" them in a manner that allows easier and faster reconstruction after a token time has passed.

In this case, vigilant residents of the building had prevented the illegal extension from being reconstructed, leading to ill-will between society residents and the shop keeper, whose shop was closed for renovation since the illegal extension had been demolished.

Society members claim that the shopkeeper had engaged local thugs to prevent essential repairs to the society gate and safety grill in revenge and to intimidate them. They allege that when they persisted and carried out the repairs anyway, he engaged the BMC to destroy the gate, since he was present and gleeful during the demolition at the appropriate time, while he normally no longer comes to the shop since it is shut and he reportedly resides at Nerul.

It seems too much of a coincidence to believe that the BMC demolition of that gate was a coincidence and it is a worrisome indicator of the state of municipal services if they can be employed in this manner interchangeably with thugs.

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Increasing privatization of necessities means citizens are forced to make purchases from private entities that are opaque to scrutiny and unaccountable to people. It is a permanent profit.

Privatizing essentials for living is undemocratic, because private corporations are not chosen by the people and they are not accountable to the people. We are a democracy, though these days many thought leaders seem to see it as a handicap. Things defined as necessities and included in the human development index MUST have government provided options, even if private entities offer their own services too. Like phones, healthcare, PDS or buses. Some things – air, water, land and sunlight – must NEVER be turned into the hands of anyone not accountable to citizens. Our ancestors weren’t fools to worship them – they are the foundations of life itself. Better than saving the cows, the Nationalists should save these.

Shifting the burden of responsibility from accountable government to opaque, private entities

This may seem like a small matter, but it is not. This is the government forcing people to make purchases from private entities, and I don’t see how any government has the right to impose them on people in a democracy. If companies want to sell better water, let them create their own networks for whoever wants to buy it – and source it from anywhere except this country – make it from the sea for all I care. It is possible. It requires technology, but the fancy corporates have abundant and better tech, I hear. Shouldn’t be a problem.

Supposed experts argue that the government is inefficient and that is why we need private companies. This is pro-privatization bull shit. Indian Government organizations run some of the most amazing, intricate and huge infrastructures in the world. ISRO has some of the greatest space programmes in the world for a fraction of the budget of the NASA and definitely not proportionately less capacity. Our Army is one of the largest in the world. We are capable of achieving quality. Not to mention we have indigenously developed nuclear capacities. We aren’t stupid. It is strange how we excel in some services and are miraculously incompetent where corporate alternatives exist. Or perhaps, those with possible profits in privatization keep quality low to prepare the stage by saying, oh, the government can’t do better, we are not private.

Are corporations really more efficient?

India’s telephone network is one of the largest in the world. Public transport, water pipelines… We can reach to every citizen of the country for things like vaccination, census, elections. Show me the corporation that has capabilities of this scale. We privatized electricity in Mumbai, but show me the corporation that electrified the many villages that need it instead of taking over already profitable areas. That is still this “incapable” government’s job and tax payer’s expense.

Why are there corporate subsidies, bailouts and bankruptcies if corporates are more efficient? Of course necessities being privatized will not go kaput, because we’ll cover the losses no matter what for our own survival needs. Unless they do fail and then it will be a humanitarian disaster that the tax payer must bail out to prevent humanitarian catastrophe. In other words, corporates are able to sell “better” on the basis of advertised efficiency, and make the tax payer suffer the inefficiencies that later emerge. Which CEO or upper management doesn’t get paid when the company is going bankrupt? With essentials, the consumer is powerless with choice between several corporations with similar methods and prices.

We blame the government for not making profit while operating in areas of all kinds of lack of development and think corporates that only run in profitable environments and still can make losses are better? What crap logic is this?

Does privatization bring solutions?

If privatization is the solution to everything not working, then the previous year is proof that we must privatize the Parliament instead of merely letting puppets of corporations run it. Let’s do away with elections, stop calling us a democracy and simply go with the “better option”. Let’s privatize the police force. It is far more inefficient than water supply. Whoever thinks people need cops more than they need water is insane. We take water for granted, because we still have it. As in, you and I – witness the massive protests by those whose water gets threatened over dams being privatized, built, destroyed or water sources being polluted… but wait, you didn’t hear about them.

It is also funny how the “need” for privatization is visible only in the areas where massive infrastructures built at the tax payer’s expense are peddled away to a company that couldn’t have dreamed of creating them. A company that will then bill the same tax payers more for using their creation. Big profits are made – from the “big market” India is. As economy slows, sales drop, stocks drop. No such risk with essentials. You will sell your gold and your house and yourself before you live without water.

Is no one connecting the dots to this massive collusion between government and private players? Why is this happening? Because India is a "developing country" in spite of massive undevelopedness and has delusions of being a superpower. Unfortunately, GDP cannot be faked. The money hemorrhaging through scams, misgovernance, lousy policies and plain posturing needs to come from somewhere. So we are now doing what a drunkard does - selling belongings to pay for booze.

Is it really development to sell away what the government owns?

Like the broke farmers selling their land and borrowing from moneylenders, we are selling or leasing our assets to corporates to afford running the country. We are walking this path, because we didn’t take the farmer suicides seriously enough to UNDERSTAND what was happening. Like the farmer who can’t afford seeds and sells more and more of his life till nothing is left, we can’t afford our outgoing.

Payments over $100 billion coming up. We have a few reserves, but using them will make us less super power and be the stamp on the government’s lack of credibility with money. Time to sell something. The FDI in Retail flopped because massive outcry was raised. Some other FDIs still happened. India is assuring Wallmart that the FDI too is going to happen. Pranab Mukherjee is candid “I need the money“. Never mind that a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce report on FDI in Retail in May 2009 recommended against it. Now water privatization. A bomb proof market of citizen’s needs is sold for vast amounts of money, as guaranteed, stupendous profit.

Corporations are less corrupt is a popular perception – because they 1. legitimize many payments that come out of the customers pocket (compare salaries like CEOs, perks to top management, meeting and conference and such expenses, corporate branding, dress codes, running expenses… for example) and 2. they are not transparent, so you don’t know anyway. You can’t file an RTI to find out even if you suspect. But make no mistake, you pay for the glitter. It isn’t corruption if they tell you upfront. It is only unfortunate and these costs are unavoidable cost of running the operation and you want water from it and now you must pay your bill.

Who is responsible if the poor cannot afford life essential services from private operators?

I have no wish to dictate what corporates do with their operations with non-essentials, but I think in a country with massive poverty, necessities must be as lean and subsidized as possible without trying to “recover investments” at the cost of human rights. There are arguments about “welfare state” and such. I don’t know when the word welfare itself became a bad word, but I cannot understand why it is wrong to ensure a basic human need like water for all regardless of their ability to pay for it.

Is our country really saying that staying in the country is different from having water for living in it? What next? Air? Sunlight? Earth? With India being the most polluted country in the world and radiation increasingly recognized as unsafe, they are possible. Imagine piped breathing air for enclosed spaces from villages or other areas with trees and low pollution, portable air decontaminators with bluetooth pairing with your phone and computer. Radiation and other contamination free properties available for a price. Huge roofs over cities for solar power and you can pay to enter and spend some time in the sun… But only privatized after the tax payer first pays for creating the infrastructures. And then the rest of the people should live with the lousy contaminated state of their “services” or pay up. Our experts would talk about India’s prowess in taming the four elements of our ancient texts.

Why have development indexes by country at all? Privatize all needs, and ask UN to speak with service providers over people dying of hunger and thirst, who will simply say that they are not customers, and they are not answerable for those they don’t provide service to. We can always say that we cannot help epidemics, since we don't have a service to monitor them, and we don't have the service because no one wants to pay for a service that monitors epidemics where mostly poor die. So we at least don’t appear so bad.

Life essential needs are not merely products and services, they are what make life possible

The big, fatal mistake is in buying the government and corporate bullshit that basic needs are services. They are the backbone of a country. They are the resources of the nation entrusted to elected representatives to govern to the advantage and well-being of all. That is why you don’t have corporations who built millions of kilometers of water pipelines. They developed with the taxes paid by the average person to develop the country – over decades, a little at a time. In ANY country. Like building your own home, but as a country. For your whole family. You speak of national unity and staying together and such? This is it that we are kicking away and wondering why people are breaking free.

It isn’t about corporates offering better quality or not, it is about representatives of the people being directly in control of their basic needs. Quality can be improved. You can’t ask a corporate why it provides a certain service to a certain area more than others. You can’t ask a corporate why you don’t get water, but the theme water park in your locality does or make it pay or suffer. Elected representatives have to listen or they get voted out. They have to answer. You can’t ask a corporate just how much profit it is making out of selling water to the “domestic and agricultural sector” and how much of the water is throttled and diverted to other large corporations for their purposes. It is happening already, but now you can file an RTI at least.

In theory, you could regulate what a corporate offers, manage prices, force service to needy areas, even force RTI – which should be done anyway for publicly offered services… but then you would end up taking responsibility for consequences too – witness Kingfisher and its bankruptcy over being forced to service less popular destinations. Now imagine Kingfisher selling your water. Either the poor go thirsty, or bail us out. The corporate becomes beyond the reach of any result, because it has the people by their needs.

If corporations are more efficient, why do they take over what is already working well instead of developing new assets?

Why not ask corporations interested in working in the “water sector” to pick areas with water problems and no infrastructure and develop them and bill the people for a set period before handing control over to the country?

Why not hand over our poor, damaged, polluted, destroyed water bodies to corporates, let them clean up, sue industries that are wrecking them, and make them usable again in return for using them to sell water for some years? They have the resources to make it possible, unlike citizens who cannot and governments who will not. Why not ask for development in return for controlling development? Why can’t corporates be expected to participate in building the country like citizens?

Wouldn’t that be a more logical use of a “more efficient entity”? We have huge areas with drought and such. They could do with a “solution” that is more effective than the government. Water and sewerage of Mumbai is separate from BMC to be eventually privatized. What is the problem with Mumbai’s already excellent water that privatization will fix and the BMC cannot?

Apparently, it is only the government’s inefficiencies that corporates fix. Apparently these corporates that are better than the government cannot create from scratch. And stupid citizens believe this bullshit, because we have people dedicated to telling them over and over that the Emperor is wearing this miraculous robe that is visible to the intelligent. So they ignore draining wallets and pretend to be smart rather than be publicly known as fools or worse “low society people who can’t even afford so much”.

Because we don’t expect capitalism to have a soul. We only expect it to churn out cash. Cash it earns from the masses and delivers to those in power as the price of keeping even more for itself. It is a one way flow. Few citizens other than employees have any way of earning back from these entities. Then we have the amazing numbers of inequality that activists will quote and get criticized for. We admire progress. Increasing numbers. They manage to sink once in a while in spite of such odds when their customers are no longer able to pay more to sustain them.

But asking such questions will not work. I will get a bunch of trolls calling me socialist as if it were a curse – even though I have little knowledge of socialism and am simply questioning what I am seeing being promoted as a good idea – like everything else questioned on this blog, because the maths seems fake.

Make no mistake, the strategic “experts” hit bulls eye when they say the next wars will be fought over water – apparently they don’t coordinate their bullshit with the development experts, and this is not on their bullshit agenda. Both between countries, and inside countries – as water resources become scarce, people will kill and die for water. Our government here is giving corporations the tools for future genocides, or “anti-national elements” tools for the next French Revolution. Because NO ONE can live without water.

But the mainstream media will continue to tell us that they are anti-national people wanting “our” water as long as we pay the bills.