Archives May 2015

Should residents take up the initiative to install CCTV cameras for their own security?

cctv cameraQuite often we hear instances of chain-snatching, vehicle theft and burglary in our area and complaint about how CCTV cameras should be installed to nab the culprits. But how many times have we actually gone ahead and done something about it?

About 3000 residents of Hennur Layout in Northeast Bengaluru have come together to do something about the situation and have gone way beyond just complaining.

The residents had been gripped with the fear of burglary, vehicle theft and chain snatching for quite some time now. What added to their woes was that their local police station was moved to a neighbourhood constituency about 2 years back. The residents plead for a police station in their area and a resident agreed to offer a place for setting up the police outpost. Despite of setting up a police outpost, chain-snatchers brutally attacked a woman. Although the culprits were nabbed, the residents felt insecure after the entire incident.

For ensuring 24*7 security for residents to feel safe, Hennur Layout Resident Welfare Association (RWA) decided and installed CCTVs to monitor their locality all day-long. The RWA spent about Rs.1.25 lakh and installed about 6 CCTV cameras with a fully established control and monitoring unit in the locality. Vantage points connecting to other layouts were chosen across the locality to install the cameras. Anybody mobbing out or entering the layout has to pass through these specific points. Moreover, the cameras installed are bullet cameras, which function even during rains. Even when it’s dark, the images it captures have very good resolution. A DVR system has been set up at the police outpost to record and monitor the images. These images will be jointly monitored by RWA and the police.

The Hennur RWA plans to extend these services in other localities as well. Although a few organizations contributed, finances were mostly provided by individuals. However, the RWA was disappointed about no police official turning up at the inauguration of CCTV cameras. Police must encourage and promote more of such resident initiatives. The citizen activism shown by residents for ensuring law and order in their locality has set an example for other localities and RWA.

Source: Bangalore Mirror


Dos and Don’ts to beat the heatwave this summer

heat_waveThe death toll in the heatwave sweeping India has passed 1,000, with temperatures nearing 50 degree Celsius in some areas. Most deaths have taken place in the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, where the death toll has risen to more than 800. Hospitals are on alert to treat heatstroke patients and authorities have advised people to stay indoors.

However, not everyone can stay indoors during the heatwave and for some there is no respite from the heat. Keep in mind the below dos and don’ts and also inform others how to tackle the scorching heat this summer:

 Dos during a heatwave:

  • Drink water and oral hydration drinks in every 1-2 hours
  • Always use an umbrella or wear a hat while going out in the sun
  • Try to wear shades to protect your eyes from getting red
  • Apply sunscreen to protect your skin while going out
  • Wear light and cool clothes
  • Take breaks and rest in a shady spot if you are pursuing an outdoor job
  • Wash your face in every 2 hours and place a wet cool cloth on your head to cool off
  • Ensure you complete your daily chores like vegetable shopping etc. in the evening
  • Bathing twice a day is advisable
  • Check on your elderly family, neighbours and domestic help and ensure they are following measures to beat the heat
  • Recognise the signs of heat stroke, heat rash or heat cramps such as weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, sweating and seizures.
  • Go to a doctor immediately if any of the above symptom prevails for more than a day

Don’ts during a heatwave:

  • Try to avoid going out in the direct sun
  • Avoid any form of extensive physical activity
  • Do not allow children to play in the park during peak heat hours
  • Do not leave children/pet in the car with closed windows
  • Avoid consuming caffeinated drinks (like aerated drinks) and alcohol during extreme heat
  • Avoid wearing dark, heavy or tight clothing
  • Avoid cooking during peak heat hours. If you must cook, open doors and windows to ventilate the cooking area adequately.
  • Avoid heavy and oily food, try to consume easily digestible food
  • Don’t wait for power cuts to buy an emergency fan, buy it already and keep it handy
  • Avoid reaching the dehydration stage, keep yourself hydrated and drink loads of water

The temperature is expected to come down in a few days but till then follow the above measures to protect yourself and your loved ones from the deadly heat this summer!


Smart Plans for Easy Home Loan Repayment

home-loan-repaymentPresently, banks and companies financing home loans are offering several customized payment options to suit various loan requirements of customers. While some options offer flexibility in repaying the loan, others are linked to various house construction stages. Moreover, some of these plans increase the capacity of the borrower to repay the loan along with giving some tax benefits.

There is an array of repayment plans available in the market presently, which borrowers need to analyse before taking a decision to take a loan as per his/her requirement. Let’s have a look at some of the major house loan repayment plans:

Step-Up Repayment Loan:

 In this particular plan, the monetary growth of a borrower is directly linked with the repayment. This particular plan enables a borrower to take a higher loan amount in comparison to other taking a regular house loan.

This scheme is mainly useful for young people buying a house since it is expected that one’s income keeps increasing with age and seniority in his career. As a result, people pay lower EMIs in initial years by adjusting the loan as per their requirement and even after the EMI increases avail the same tax benefits.

Balloon Repayment Plan:  

This plan is similar to the step-up repayment plan. In this option, one can start with paying very small instalment amounts in the starting of the loan term. In the subsequent years, the instalment amount commences to balloon up leading to a higher amount than normal-step up option.

Step- Down Repayment Plan:

This plan is mainly suitable for people who take a loan at an older age, probably senior citizens and people about to be retired in 1-2 years. In this plan the EMIs are higher in the starting years and then decreases in the subsequent years. This plan keeps in mind that loan repayment capacity reduces at a later stage due to reduced income and lower loan repayment helps keeping finances in control.

Tranche-Based Repayment Plan:

 This repayment plan is essentially suitable for people buying property under-construction. Mostly, a borrower has to pay interest on the home loan based on the construction stage of the project till the project completion stage. This particular plan helps borrowers save on interest and is offered by a few banks and lenders. As per the capability of the borrower to pay interest, the instalments can be fixed for paying to the bank till the property is ready for possession. The minimum amount payable is the interest on the total loan amount. Any amount over this fixed amount goes towards the principle. This way the borrower saves on the tenure of the loan by repaying the loan faster.

Flexible and Fixed Instalment Plan:

Flexible Instalment Plan – In this plan, in the initial years one has to pay a higher EMI but it decreases gradually in the subsequent years. This plan is good option for parents wishing to buy houses for their children. The parents can plan the loan in such a way that in the subsequent years when one retires or is unable to repay the loan anymore, the children can take over the loan and start repaying the same.

Fixed Instalment Plan – In this plan, for a certain period the EMI remains fixed, after which it gets adjusted as per the market rate. In the fixed tenure, the market conditions are unable to fluctuate the fixed rate. When the interest rates are expected to increase, fixed instalment plan benefits the borrowers. However, one needs to be careful about the loan opted, as many lenders keep a provision of swelling the fixed amount in their agreement.

Accelerated Repayment Plan:  

In this particular plan, EMI amount can be increased as and when the borrowers have surplus money or as the disposable income increases. Another highly chosen option is to pay a lump sum amount to repay the loan. This enables one to repay the loan faster and helps in tax saving as well.

Although various banks and lenders offer you multiple loan options to choose from, it is good to do some research before choosing a loan option. Moreover, it is very important to carefully and patiently check the clauses banks/lenders have mentioned in their repayment plan agreement. Talking to existing customers of the loan will give you a fair idea of how easily you will be able to cope up with the loan against your present income.

Source: Economic Times   


Launching Re-designed Discussion Forum in ApnaComplex!

We are excited to announce the availability of New, Enhanced, completely redesigned Discussion Forum on ApnaComplex.

The New Discussion Forum provides a zillion times improved, modern, sleek interface and offers a seamless user experience across the Community Forums and various Groups you are part of.

In the past, the Community Forums and Groups offered a separate experience. Within the Community Forums, the posts for Committee, Owners and Residents was interspersed. All this has changed and improved.

With the new tabbed interface, the New Discussion Forums makes it a breeze to switch between the Community Forums and Groups and easily navigate to any group you are part of with in the same screen.

New Discussion Forums on ApnaComplex

New Discussion Forums on ApnaComplex

Also, in the New Discussion Forum the Committee Discussions get their own space and are clearly segregated from the rest of the community discussions.

Posting new topics and replying to the existing ones also has been improved. You can now post topics from the same screen with out ever leaving the forums. We have also added options to like, dislike posts and comments, to view the entire discussion in a separate tab.

We have also made it a lot easier to check out other Groups with in the Community and join them.  Any one can create a new group and add members to the newly created group easily.

Ask. Share. Discuss. Express Yourself on the New Discussion Forums on your favorite Apartment Management Portal.


Are you utilizing the green waste?

reduce-waste-compost-picMulching or composting of green waste absolutely requires no investment. However, municipal corporations in Delhi/NCR and residents in Noida find it difficult to use this method to dispose the green waste. Moreover, even after National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed a complete ban on burning of waste in the open and announced a fine of Rs.5,000 for its violation, many residents are still flouting this rule and following the burning of waste method rather than adopting the composting method for green waste disposal causing huge amount of air pollution.

Let’s try to understand the mulching and composting of dry waste method better:

What is green waste?

Green waste is essentially organic waste such as dry leaves collected from roadside and parks and fresh kitchen waste.

What is mulching?

Mulch is any type of material that is spread over the soil surface (around plants as well) to act as covering. Dry leaves in shredded form can be used as mulch. Mulch breaks down overtime and turns into compost.

What is composting?

Composting is a simple process of allowing organic waste, especially fresh kitchen waste and dry leaves to rot and then stabilize the organic matter under limited controls. In this process, mainly bacteria and fungi convert rich organic matter into humus. The pulverized waste is added into pit and each bed takes about 2-3 months to turn the entire waste into compost.

Procedure to compost leaves:

Step1: Collect the dried leaves in a bag.

Step 2: Add them in layers in any large aerated container like wire mesh enclosure and sprinkle water on the layers to make the pile wet but not saturated.

Step 3: Add some fresh green lawn clipping or waste food in between the pile to ensure composting is happening.

Step 4: Also add compost accelerator like cow dung or any other organic accelerator.

Step 5: Turn the pile once in 2 months to ensure composting is happening properly.

Step 6: After 12 months the leaves would have decomposed fully and the compost would be ready to be added to your garden for healthy plants.   

Composting Success Story:

The Defence Colony RWA in Delhi in has managed to compost their organic and green waste in simple pits dug out in a park. They have about eight pits where organic waste, along with dry leaves and other green waste, is dumped. The compost is so good that they are selling it to residents. They have also hired a couple of waste pickers and gardeners. Their pits currently compost green and other organic waste from 1,600 homes.

The question that arises is if RWAs are able to successfully launch the composting method for green waste disposal, why are the municipal corporations not able to do it? All the corporations need to do is to allot an assignment to someone to create composting pits, starting with 2 in each park wherein the dry leaves can be mulched and turned into compost.

Some of the waste management experts also recommend hiring informal waste workers in gathering green waste from each colony. They can be given a small space in the park to do the composting or overseeing the mulching process. It will be a source of employment for them and it will also ensure that the composting process is conducted in a proper manner against the nominal fee charged by the waste collectors or rag pickers.

About time we all think about our environment isn’t it?  

Source: Times of India


Is your apartment earthquake resistant?

earthquake2With the earthquake once again hitting the Northern belt of India and creating mass destruction in Nepal, a very big question that comes in everyone’s mind is how earthquake resistant are apartments or individual houses? Is one safe in the current house or apartment one is staying currently?

Based on the frequency of earthquake occurrence and its intensity, India has been divided into various zones. These zones point at the seismic coefficient that are adopted for building design across the country.

The earthquake zones have been divided based on the subjective estimates available from tectonics and geologists in India.

The Northern belt and specifically Delhi/NCR lies in zone IV that has high seismicity wherein the earthquake that occurs is generally of 5-6 magnitude. The one that came yesterday, May 12, Tuesday was very high of about 7.3 magnitude in Nepal, which damaged the buildings up to a great extent. Delhi/NCR also got some major jolts from the earthquake. Moreover, it lies among the high-risk areas prone to earthquakes. The buildings in Delhi/NCR must be designed in such a way that they can at least resist earthquake of about 4.5 magnitudes on a Richter scale. However, are the buildings earthquake resistant? How do you check before buying an apartment or an individual house?

Before buying how to check whether a multi-storey flat will be earthquake resistant or not? 

When you are buying a flat in a multi-storey building, it’s almost impossible for you to check whether you are buying a flat in an earthquake resistant building or not. So, mostly you have to just trust the builder’s take on this. As per experts, every flat cannot be tested whether it is earthquake resistant or not. However, the entire building can be tested for earthquake resistance. Get the building structural design from the builder and ask the experts to check the same. In case, approved you can go ahead with your buying process. However, ensure the builder uses quality construction material.

Before buying a plot how to check whether the house built on a plot will be earthquake resistant or not?

If you are planning to buy a plot to build a house on the same, you have a golden chance to make your house earthquake resistant. The most important in this case, would be soil testing as it will typically, indicate how much weight the soil would be able to bear, clearly pointing to the number of floors that can be built on the land. Essentially, it would help you measure the “weight bearing capacity” of the soil.

These days frame structure is used as an alternative to the load-bearing structure for building houses resistant to earth quakes. As a result, the entire building is grounded on a column, which is placed 2 ½ meters under the ground. Moreover, it is essential to insert beam in floor and lintel level, top level and windows in side level. The bars in the column should be minimum 12 mm thick with about 900/900 foundation.

Who can help you do the soil testing?

 There are quite a few private and semi-government agencies that do soil testing. This task is also performed by autonomous insurance surveyors. Some of the answers you would get from soil testing –

  • How much per-square centimeter load can the soil afford?
  • Is the house construction possible on the soil type?
  • Accurate ratio of weight bearing capacity and water level?

After testing and investigation, the Surveyor and Building Design Structural Department issue a clearance certificate. In case, any major damage is caused to the building the concerned department is bound to be held responsible for the same.

Ensure you make your house earthquake-resistant and full-proof yourself from the unexpected costs that may arise due to a major earthquake.


Is the real estate bill really needed in India?

Real Estate BillThe Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill had become the need of the hour. The government realized the fact that buyer expectations were not being met by the developer community. Issues such as not getting refund after cancellations, project specifications change, and delay in apartment delivery were being faced by consumers on a day-to-day basis.

The real estate industry is one industry that has been operated in a biased manner towards the developer community. With the bill coming in place, developers will cooperate and start working within a framework conducive to both developers and buyers. The bill is supposed to make the entire transaction more transparent and fair.

What all does the real estate bill cover for increased transparency?

  • Every state needs to set up a Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).
  • Property developers will be required to upload project details such as site as well as layout plan to authority’s website.
  • Without registering with the RERA, a builder cannot sell apartments in a project.
  • No structural changes can be made to the project plan without the consent of two-thirds of the buyer, which bring design-discipline in builders.
  • About 50% of buyer’s money is expected to be kept in an escrow account to be used only for project construction, ensuring developers don’t divert fund from one project to another.
  • A clause of “right to claim refund with an interest” has been introduced in the bill in case of failure of project delivery. This clause is expected to act as a deterrent for to cancellations and delay in projects.

A very positive point about the real estate bill is that even buyers are expected to perform their obligations as enumerated in the buyer agreement.

The reason why real estate bill was really needed was that some builders have brought disrepute to the entire real estate industry. As a result, the honest developers also get categorized in the segment of developers who don’t abide by laws and still continue to sell property to customers. The bill is expected to eliminate the black sheep of real estate industry.

The central regulation will attract the right set of real estate players. The developers will be expected to abide by laws and the ones who don’t abide by the same will not survive.

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Source: ForbesIndia