Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thank you, PropCare

Aadhya with one of the two teaks saved from slow death (see next photo)
Now that they have some breathing space, can we help the teaks recover from withering away ? "We can", says Munisamy of the Mantri Security staff who knows tree-care, and offers to nurse the trees back to health.
We need to thank PropCare - Sivakumar/Balaji - whose intervention spared us residents from taking up arms - a pickaxe to be precise - to undo the damage the Mantri project team had done to the teak at the car-wash bay near STP. When repeated plea to Mantri's for saving the two teaks fell on deaf ear volunteer-residents Memorial Service Group (MSG) announced a pickaxe stir to convey to Mantri's that we are capable of direct action. PropCare took the matter up with the project field staff to get them working on the teak trees. The work was done last evening.
What was planned as a protest move this morning turned out be an occasion for thanks-giving. It was also an occasion for our volunteer group to invite into our fold Sridhar(E Block). He shared his experience in residents community tree-planting in Pune, where Sridhar spent some time before moving to Chennai.Mr Sridhar also referred to Isha's Project GreenHands.
The group that met this morning.
The thing about trees is that they are unlike you and me. Trees don't blame people for letting them down. Maybe it was the weather that kept most of us indoors this morning - warm, and sultry.

Advertising Mantri

The hoarding and its setting send confusing signals to potential home buyer.Would Mantri's relocate their hoarding ? Or do something about the flow from STP ?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Shade-less driveway in mid-day sun

We could plant a row of shade-giving trees, on the parkside, along the driveway.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A 'Pickaxe Stir' at Mantri,OMR

Neem in the foreground was planted to celebrate Mantri Synergy's first resident, Mr Nambiar (G-001) who moved here in February last year.
The two teaks behind Nambiar's neem are sentenced to a slow death by Mantri project team, which has coffined the teaks in concrete.
Had Mantri managers on site been aware of Ms Snehal Mantri's commitment to save trees they wouldn't have done such thing. To refresh their memory we refer them to The Hindu dated Jan.12,2008 which published the write-up - The right move to save trees. The media reports quotes Ms Mantri as saying, When MDPL took over the land on OMR at Chennai, the entire area looked so green we had second thoughts about building Mantri Synergy there. We then thought of transplantation. There were a total of 165 coconut trees, 24 mango trees and around 140 teak wood trees spread there, and we managed to save 90% of the trees.
I don't suppose Ms Snehal Mantri would be pleased to see the plight of the teak near STP plant in our complex (see photo). The issue came up at Mantri's Memorial Service held last Sunday on site where Mantri project team had slaughtered three coconut trees.
The Memorial Service Group - MSG(in photo) resolved to do something, anything,to save the teaks,if it is still possible. I conveyed to PropCare that they get Mantri project team to dig up the concrete, one foot wide in a circle around each teak, so as to provide breathing space. We wait till Friday (tomorrow evening); if nothing is done, we resolved to dig up the concrete space ourselves, Saturday, March 31, around 9 a m.
Pickaxe Action
(by Memorial Service Group)
Car-wash space, near Sewage Treatment Plant
9.a m- 9.15 a m
Saturday, March 31.

The digging will be followed up with a 15 minute walk-around in the Mantri complex, to get an idea of the number of teaks and other trees Snehal Mantri has saved - out of a total of 140 teak,165 coconut, and 24 mango trees they found when Mantri developers took over this farmland.
(Would someone arrange for a pickaxe and shovel, please ?)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Piped Gas Supply

There seems to be some concerns regarding the piped gas supply off late. 
~Some residents I spoke to last evening said their supply has been stopped or will be stopped shortly.
~ In a recent post on our Facebook page, our neighbour Crystal Zachariah(F-Block) writes : " Spoke with the piped gas supplier Mr. Aasis and was told that there is a huge supply issue. as indicated today Aasis said he has been informing propcare NOT to take any new connections as he is forced to pay Rs. 1700 for each refill for the 10-15 cylinders used daily and in return propcare is only Billing for Rs. 400 to residents. to date Aasis has Rs,1,35,000 of loss do to unpaid bills. He said unless residents come forward to help pay, he would not be able to continue services. Prop care said that they have informed residents but only 15 residents have come forward to pay the extra cost..."
My question: Why is Aasis paying 1700 bucks for each cylinder when market price is around 400/-?? Apparently, he is buying the cylinders in black market.
~I heard  from neighbours that losses are being incurred due to leakages in the pipelines. Certain blocks (Like A) is smelling of gas leakage in the basement area. It is quite natural that nobody will be ready to pay for these leakages. Some residents are even said to have received gas bills for the period  when they were on vacation and gas wasn't used. 
Clearly it is an infrastructural defect. The consumers are certainly not liable to pay for the leakages.
As I gathered from the newspaper reports, there had been a gas-supply crisis. Around that time, our vendor had put up a notice also in the lift-bays that supply may be erratic. However, that strike has been called off days back and now supply is normal. So why is Aasis claiming that he is not getting supply?? 
 In case  our vendor is getting all the cylinders in black market, it happens to be illegal and that's bound to attract local administration's notice sooner or later. Getting a single cylinder in an emergency for a higher price is different, however you  just cannot run an apartment complex on black-marketed gas cylinders! If that is true, then we are patronizing this unknowingly. 
The entire scenario seems very confusing. If anybody is aware of the real picture, kindly throw some light on it. Cooking gas being a very essential commodity, we need to sort out the issues asap.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chaat corner or car park ?

Is there anyway to ensure Mantri's do not convert the space in front of the clubhouse store into car-park slots, as they have done along the driveway. To preempt any such move our newly formed residents reps. should e-mail Mantri top brass saying, Mantri Synergy owners association should be consulted before project team makes any fresh move on common area use.
The space was initially set up by Mantri's as 'children play area'. This was much too cramped; there was no seating space for moms escorting kids. And, the Mantri designated space for children play area was too close to the gas bank. Following sustained representation by some residents Mantri's shifted children play area to its present location. Mantri project team hasn't shared its plan with us for using the vacated space close to grocery stores.
We floated an idea in this blog (see post) that the space in front of club-house stores (we have a ramp coming up there) be set aside for 'food enclosure', where we could have a chaat/samosa shop and ice-cream stall functioning in the evenings.
I understand Mr Krishna (F-Block) and Mr Vasudevan (B- block) explored Kelambakkam area to identify a suitable eatery owner who can be persuaded to set up a chaat corner close to the stores, say between 6 and 9 p m, daily. Besides chaat varieties, I believe, this person sells take-home chapati/sabzi at reasonable rates.
Would someone start a chaat-shop talk in 'Discussion Forum' at Residents Inc to mobilize critical support for in-house chaat-shop close to clubhouse stores.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Memorial Service for trees

Youngest among those who attended Sunday morning (March 25) memorial service are Santhanu,2,and his twin brother Sidharth (not in the photo)
I wouldn't say the turnout didn't matter (it was disappointing), but I reckon turnout isn't everything. We had a double-digit tally, with some late-comers. Besides, some residents e-mailed their inability to be present, but extended their solidarity.
A memorial service for the three coconut trees, slaughtered by Mantri's for car park space, was our way to convey our sentiments to Mantri management (Is Bangalore reading this ?). It was also an occasion for us think, 'what next?'. D Venkatesan (A-block) e-mailed us an old media report (Jan.12,2008) citing a statement by Snehal Mantri. On visiting the OMR land they acquired for developing Mantri Synergy, Ms Snehal Mantri was quoted as saying:
When MDPL took over the land on OMR at Chennai, the entire area looked so green we had second thoughts about building Mantri Synergy there.
She added: We then thought of transplantation. There were a total of 165 coconut trees, 24 mango trees and around 140 teak wood trees spread there, and we managed to save 90% of the trees.
Now, some four years down the line, a stock-taking , on the basis of Ms Mantri's statement, appears appropriate. Maybe,our association management, at the time of take over of assets from Mantri's, ought to take note of this and seek an account of transplanted tress from Mantri project team. Apart from an exercise in 'green' auditing, this has financial implication. The cost of transplanting a tree (at 2008 price level) ranged from Rs,5,000 to Rs.10,000. And the expenses, we assume, was billed to apartment buyers.
We ought to conduct a tree census at Mantri Synergy complex (any volunteers?), to see how many trees were transplanted. This could help us make a claim on Mantri's; and build up association corpus fund.

Launch of Mantri Synergy Official Website

Received this mail today regarding launch of our new website:

Dear Mantri Synergy Owner / MaSOA member,
This email is to inform you of the launch of Mantri Synergy Portal hosted at This website is powered and maintained by Residents Inc and is currently being offered free of cost to enable the Association and members to get a flavor of the portal's features.

We have already had discussions with the current ad-hoc committee President and other residents but await the formation of the Executive Committee after your AGM on April 1, 2012 before offering our full range of paid, professional services. We have compiled the list of apartments and are reaching out to each owner member and resident through this email.

The website is designed to provide a comprehensive platform on which you can post your feedback, opinions, participate in polls, get email and sms alerts, access asset management progress, view accounts, budgets, post meeting minutes & resolutions. It also provides a secure unified discussion forum and News Feeds for short messages that our residents can use to interact and socialize within the Mantri Synergy community. In short, the full works.

This email is being sent to those owners and residents of Mantri Synergy whose email ids are available with us. Please pass this on to your neighbours and ask them to register themselves so that every owner and resident is included in the discussions. This email is issued with the authorisation of Mr.S.Krishnamurthi owner of B1207.

In order to login to the Mantri Synergy site, you will need to first register using THREE simple steps given below.

1. Visit and click on NEW USER click here to Register 

2. The above step will take you to a new page. On this new page, please provide your Contact, Login and Apartment details.

3. Then click on CREATE MY ACCOUNT button at the end.

Your details will be sent to the committee for approval. Once approved, you will receive an email confirmation informing you of the same. After this, you can login to the site using the username and password provided by you at the time of registration (in Step 2).

If you have any website related questions or need technical support, please send an email to or call  Sathya at +91-90430 10956. For any other questions, please send an email to

For Adhoc Committee

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mantri poll notice, in your Inbox

Mantri apartment owners who haven't checked mail yet, would find in their Inbox a mail from PropCare announcing election on Sunday, April 1, for the posts of President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer of Mantri Synergy owners Association. Notice has been sent on advice from the ad hoc committee.
Filing of nominations close on Monday, March 26, 5 p m.
In bit of a hurry, aren't they ?

Mantri tree meet: Plea to ad hoc committee

I understand Mantri residents association ad hoc committee has on hand more pressing issues; I also understand the committee has lined up a strategy session at 11 a m tomorrow (Sunday) to address the issue of PropCare hike in maintenance charges.
However, the 18-member committee would strengthen residents solidarity, if its members could spare 15 mins. and join us at the memorial meeting at the the location where Mantri's felled three coconut trees the other day. I have no doubt ad hoc committee's presence at the memorial (no speeches) would send its own a message, to whoever calls the shot at Mantri's, that he/she cannot take us residents for granted.
Memorial Service (for dead and the dying trees)
Clubhouse Driveway (behind C Block)
9 a m to 9.15 a m
Sunday, March 25

Coffined in concrete, the trees appear to have been sentenced to death, Anarkali style, by Mantri's project team.
The trees (teak ?) near the car-wash area at Mantri Synergy have been programmed by Mantri's to go the way the coconut trees on grocery store driveway did. By concreting the floor(why, till the very edge?) Mantri project team have ensured that the trees do not have breathing/watering space.
I reckon it is now up to residents to save the trees. Anyone, with pick-axe and shovel? Any volunteer to do shramdan? Would request ad hoc committee to give permission to volunteers to crack open the concrete surface around the trees to give them breathing space.

Note: Residents have now another online forum for discussing issues related to Mantri Synergy - Residents Inc.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Driveway Car-park slots, an after-thought?

Mantri project team is working overtime to cover the clubhouse driveway with paver blocks, after felling three coconut trees, ignoring our pleas.
Plans are afoot to mark out more than 10 parking slots along the driveway. This appears an after-thought on the part of Mantri's space marketing minds.
This photo was taken in June last year. You can't miss the driveway demarcation line running along the row of three coconut trees. In fact, in response to my plea,I was given to understand by PropCare that Mantri project team in consultation with landscape architect was inclined to set aside this space for Mantri residents community-planting programme. Whatever happened since is not clear. The driveway is being paved and the coconut trees that marked the demarcation line (see June photo) are no longer there.
Apartment owner Madhumita,in a comment posted in this blog, alleged that Mantri's didn't submit,let alone get approval for, the plan for converting open space into a minimum of 200 open parking slots, making Rs.250 lakhs from apartment owners. Now that we can't undo the sale of car-park without prejudice to buyers,Mantri ought to transfer the money to its rightful owners - Mantri Apartment owners Association - suggests Madhumita.
We must remember to raise this point with the Association Managing committee when they initiate the take-over process from Mantri's.
Meanwhile, a reminder to residents about our Sunday programme:
Memorial Service to trees
Clubhouse Driveway
9.00 a m - 9.15 a m
Sunday, March 25

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Senior Srikanth suggests...

Mindset change, Quality Management System (Q.M.S.), a halt to PropCare bashing, and a compendium of procedures and formats for our functioning at Mantri Synergy.
"It might take a few months to write but if written once will pave way for 80% trouble free living", says Mr Srikanth (F-Block), in a letter addressed to Mantri residents. He has offered to help us draft the compendium of procedures and formats.
Mr Srikanth has made many other meaningful suggestions in his mail to CommonFloor, which isn't accessible to all Mantri residents.
Excerpts from Srikanth's mail to residents:

There are so many functions which need to be studied understood and analysed and a solution found. All that is needed to run a organization as efficiently as possible.
2)Aesthetics & ambience
3)Electricity Management
4)Energy Management
5)Entertainment (which is very essential to bring in talent, harmony and bonhomie amongst us)
6)Facilities like Swimming Pool, Courts, Gyms etc. lifts management
7)Financial Management
9)Garbage Management
10)Gas & Lines Management
11)House keeping management
12)Security & Safety Management (Have you noticed the “Security” whistles when the power goes. Is he scared? Or does he want to tell you it is darkness – when you are already deep in it?)
13)Sewage Management
14)Services to the flats like electrical, plumbing, etc.
15)Stores Management
16)Training all functions
17)Water Management (waste and disposal)
We have not been exposed to any of the functions directly we have only been bashing propcare...if we take up from the first April, we will be at the receiving end....
We need to have a vision,a mission,a plan. We need to strategize many many things. All these functions should have a written procedure which itself has a procedure to write a procedures. A compendium of procedures and formats as prescribed in International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a remarkable tool to mitigate our problems.
This will make every ones job “Go by the Book”. Lack of system can lead to the blaming game. The proposed committee has already blamed the ADHOC. Next committee will blame the earlier. They will work O.T. to do so.
Kindly understand that to adopt a system of ISO standard we need to break our mindsets.
Elected members should have the humility that they have volunteered to do good service to the residents including himself/herself.
All residents are themselves “Mantris” and hence elected members should have no hang ups or a superiority complex. ... Let us shed our egos, roll up our sleeves and get on to work as a team. Let us not curse the darkness,et us all hold a candle instead.
Residents should come out to state what he/she is capable or his/her USP and stand for election.Let there be “Fact” finding attitude and not “Fault” finding attitude in all of us.
Circulate your profiles and state where you would fit, this can help us form the committee with bundles of talent. You need many committees and sub-committees.
We need experienced professionals (managers to technicians). Mind you the Tamil Nadu which was a Haven for talented force does not exist now...We should not upset the apple cart now which is PropCare.
We should go with them,atleast for 6 months, review our operations and decide.6 months, though, in my opinion is a bit too short. Let us give it a shot.
The committee should have mixture of experience & youth.
Let us decide soon.
D.A. Srikanth
Flat F-1203/1204
(D.A.Krishna's father)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

PropCare: An informed opinion

(The post,copy-pasted from CommonFloor, represents informed opinion of someone who has been with Mantri's. I have taken the liberty to reproduce Mr Shankar Naganathan's post - without his permission - in the wider community interest).
I thought it was appropriate of me to intervene at this juncture and share a few thoughts having been an insider and now representing 12 flats in Synergy.
A ten-lakh complex like Synergy with multi-faceted facilities (such as WTP,STP,DG, Gym, Parlour, Sauna and Play areas) has its own complicity and needs certain skills in managing it, which as new residents we do not possess.
Mantri Propcare, notwithstanding the fact that it is a profit-making venture, have the learning curve behind them having managed several such complexes for several years. Besides, they have a stake in running the place smoothly being their first venture in Chennai.
It will be more prudent of us to negotiate maintenance contract for 2 years until March 2014, absorb the intricacies of the estate management and then see what serves our interest best in March '14, instead of jumping the guns now. We as residents have very little knowledge of the development which by itself has not reached a steady state.
Major Sreekumar who manages Mantri's propcare business has managed many complex tasks with military precision and is a man of reason. The project will be good in his hands (even if it comes at a little higher prices) till it stabilises in a couple of years' time. In my own opinion, Rs. 2 per sft per month (excluding water and DG charges for non-common areas) would be a reasonable rate for a complex of our type.
As a caveat I would like to add that this is my personal view having been in this business and I have no association with Mantri!
Shankar Naganathan
Cell: 0091 94 4507 0973
My thought: We could do with Mr Naganathan's participation in the to-be elected management committee.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Renewal of Maintenance Charges by PropCare

So, after much apprehension, the shocker is finally here. Propcare has mailed the residents about the renewal of maintenance charges. Few points from the mail that will surely be of interest to everybody:

1. Maintenance Charge of Rs. 2.66 per Sq ft per Month, excluding water and DG expenses inside the flats.
2. Water/DG Expenses is proposed to be collected at Rs. 1.52 paisa per sq ft per month.
3. Service tax will be applicable on the above amount.

4. The amount needs to be paid in advance for the whole year. The bill will be raised on 1st of April, 2012 and has to be paid within 7 days..failing which would result in 15% interest p.a.

This is what happens when you don't have a Resident's Welfare Association in place. Despite repeated blog-posts and discussions no one was interested to negotiate with Propcare regarding the maintenance charges. I believe after receiving today's mail, no one still is in doubt about the date when the contract for maintenance ends! Right now the ad-hoc committee has stepped down (I came to know about it from this very mail) and the new association is still to be formed. It seems everybody in here is just too eager to spend their hard earned money! Good luck to us!

Mantri@OMR: Memorial Service to trees

Clubhouse Driveway
Silent Memorial Service,
9.00-9.15 a m
Sunday, March 25

Idea is to gather at the spot where three coconut trees were felled by Mantri's to make way for car-park slots (sold by developers). That Mantri's have marketed much of the open space into car-park slots (making Rs,1.75 lakhs per slot) is quite another matter.
Point is, they could have spared the existing trees. In fact, the Mantri project team had initially left untouched the three coconut trees as they were leveling the space for covering it with paver-blocks. In fact, we represented through this blog that the space behind the row of coconut trees be earmarked for 'community-planting'.
When the plea was ignored we suggested they leave at least foot-wide breathing space around the trees for their survival. Mantri project team has since felled the trees, citing a ruling by EB staff, as if theirs was the last word. Never mind the norms and tree-protection laws. Mantri's may have their own reasons. But did they take residents (ad hoc committee) into confidence?
Now that the damage has been done, Mantri's should compensate for the loss by planting some trees, elsewhere on Mantri complex. Akshaya builders plan to plant a tree for every flat they build this year. What's more, they plant 10 trees on the public space around every housing project they develop. If Mantri's have any such greening plan, they haven't publicized it. My issue is, they don't even respond to residents' plea, for some space to be earmarked for residents community planting programme.
A memorial service is our way to convey a message that residents at Mantri Synergy care for trees; and they cannot be taken for granted by PropCare/project team.Let us gather at the spot where they felled trees, to demonstrate our solidarity against Mantri's arbitrary action; and to impress on them the need for compensatory tree-planting.
No speeches, just meeting in silence, for 15 minutes, at 9 a m, Sunday, March 25. Why waste words when we can make our silence speak, with solidarity ?
(Would appreciate if you leave a comment to this post, conveying your participation.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Who killed the coconut trees ?

Mantri project team, winding up its work at Mantri Synergy complex (OMR),has in a farewell gesture to residents chopped three coconut trees on the driveway to our clubhouse.A memorial service would be in order.
I wonder if PropCare/project team so much as cared to inform, let alone consult, Mantri residents representatives (ad hoc committee) before the tree slaughter. Unlikely. Because the secretary and vice-president, to whom I gave vent to my frustration this morning, were just as surprised and mad as I was at Mantri's gesture.
It is not just a matter of felling a few trees. It's Mantri's attitude with which I have an issue. Aren't they accountable to residents, who are represented by an ad hoc committee ? At individual level the issue of tree planting/protection has been raised repeatedly in this blog, in a recent e-mail to PropCare, and also with Mantri's landscape architect, Mr Sekar James. And they responded to our plea with supreme indifference.
My inquiry with a friendly security man revealed that the coconut trees on clubhouse driveway were chopped on orders from EB (electricity board). They ruled that the trees had to go, before EB could give power connection to equipment (transformer ?) that has been installed near the gas bank close to our grocery stores. Maybe there is no appeal against EB's ruling on such matters.
If the coconut trees had to go, for whatever reason, I would appeal to Mantri's 'green' sense to arrange for compensatory planting of trees. We could use some mid-day shade along the main driveway. Would suggest a row of neem, so that in a decade from now, Mantri residents can count on a tree-lined driveway.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A checklist for Mantri's handover

Information is sourced from Residents Inc
The date of handover from builder to the registered owners association is an important day .....detailed due diligence must be done when interacting with the builders during this handover process.
A check list that associations can use when in dialogue with the builder on the handover process:
1.Get approved building plan which includes block-wise and floor-wise details
2.Collect Completion Certificate which ensures adherence of the approved plan.
3.No Objection certificates from pollution, fire, water and electricity authorities.
4.Hard copy and soft copy (in CD) of all approved engineering drawings; look for approval seal on the drawings.
5.Registration and parent documents.
6.Drainage, sewage, Fire protection and common area power layout drawings.
7.Car parking layout drawings (with numbering).
8.Asset Inventory of all movable and immovable equipment purchased; numbered in order (list needs to be exhaustive).
9.Record of recent service history on key equipments like lifts, DG sets, STP and WTP.
10.AMC and warranty details; Original bills of equipment purchased (motors, Sewage and Water Treatment Plant, Generators, Gym items like treadmill).
11.Lift license details and next renewal date.
12.STP/WTP vendor details, plant layout, operation manual and drawings.
13.Receipts of property, electricity and water payments paid.
14.Handover of corpus amount to the association.
15.Share recent expenses incurred on various maintenance activities and account heads; will assist to budget coming year (staff salaries, purchase of cleaning material, swimming pool maintenance etc).
16.Contract signed with maintenance agency; agreed SLAs.
17.Insurance taken for assets and third party lift insurance.
18.Audited account statement at the time of handover.
Read source write-up

Friday, March 16, 2012

MaSOA AGM: Let's go for election

A new dawn over Mantri Synergites
It is clear that the ad hoc committee doesn't have the endorsement of Mantri apartment owners. So an election is inevitable, to the management committee of Mantri Synergy Owners Association (Masoa).
Some flat owners, signing in as 'Group of Synergites' have group-emailed a panel of names for our consideration as candidates:
President - (Arvind Rajgopaul-H Block);
Vice-president - (Giri Sundaram-E);
Secretary - (Vasudevan Raghavan-B);
Treasurer - (Natarajan-E)
Present ad hoc committee:
T.P.Rajagoplan Nair-D (President);
R.Vasudevan-B (Vice President);
Ardhendu Chakraborti-F(Secretary);
R Gopalan-F (Treasurer)
Though there is no rule against it, an election on the basis of competing panels promotes group-ism. Which, I am sure, isn't the objective of Mantri Synergites. But their announcement of a panel of candidates makes them representatives of a group .And contesting groups in any poll fray mobilize support on the strength of competing agenda.
1) At Mantri Synergy we all belong to a single community, with a collective agenda. Groupism doesn't fit in with in our scheme of things, does it ?
2) Core office-bearers such as president and secretary, are not directly elected. The general body elects (maximum) a 20-member management committee - comprising block reps. - which, in turn, elects office-bearers - president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer. Such is my reading of by-law 13 relating to 'management of the affairs of the association'.
3) Incidentally, association by-laws (including b-law 13), need to be adopted before election can be held. And as per the circulated agenda for April 1 general body, the election process is to be handled by PropCare. The general body decides the date of election.
4) PropCare, which has till date handled election to 8 associations (all in Bangalore), has standardized format for election notification, filing of nominations, submission of proxy forms, and the balloting process. Links to PropCare model formats can be accessed at our post - Mantri residents association: Electable members.
5)PropCare can come into the picture, if, and only if, the general body of apartment owners want them to facilitate our election process. Is there any reason why we shouldn't let PropCare conduct the association election ?
6)Operative points here is a) election is inevitable; b) the date has to be notified on April 1; and c) PropCare may be asked to issue notification and handle rest of the election process.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mantri Association AGM

First General Body Meeting (After the process of registration of the Association) is scheduled for Sunday, April 1, at 11:00 am in the club house.
1.Enrollment of owners of the flat as members of the association (The process of enrollment will start at 9:00am on 01.04.2012). The flat owners are requested to bring the proof of ownership for the flat to be enclosed with the enrolment form. Those who are not in the position to attend the meeting in person can authorize any of his blood relations to attend on his behalf or proxy to a person in writing to attend the meeting on their behalf.
2.To elect or select a set of office bearers to the association. If there are more than one contestant for any post election process will be held by secret ballet. The election process to be held, if any, will be held by a body other than the residents (i.e. by Propcare in the present juncture).
3.To adopt the bylaws and the MOA without any changes. Any change/modification can be taken up at the next General Body Meeting, which will be called for by the elected office bearers.
Ad hoc committee secretary, Mr.Ardhendu Chakraborti, has e-mailed AGM announcement to all Mantri Synergy flat owners.

RQ-4: Social code, enforced or evolved ?

Received a mail from a resident voicing the concerns of those who are not blog savvy - some moms and the elderly. The e-mail spoke of a group of youngsters moving about Mantri complex - drenched in colours, and far from sober - hooting and shouting on Holi evening - 8.15-8.30 p m. Later, the group - all boys - was seen leaving our complex in bikes and cars. Outsiders, are they ?
Recently, a 'D' block lift got stuck with two women and an infant inside, one evening. Internal mike/alarm in the lift didn't work. Delayed response,and further time lag in fixing the lift - 30 mins, in all - worked up emotions. The security staff, and PropCare faced the ire of residents; a few of them are said to have shouted at the staff, using abusive words. A security man said he was physically dragged and shouted at.
A while back, residents woke up late in the night,to loud bursting of fire-crackers from a Mantri terrace. It was not Diwali.
Thought of putting together these instances, not to nit-pick or apportion blame, but to engage and interact, online, on social norms that we need to adopt. The relevant by-law of Mantri Synergy Owners Association says, "An owner (or his tenant) shall take care not to cause any excessive noise through the use of musical instrument, radio, television etc as to disturb the peace of co-owners/residents".
Question: Should the social norms we adopt be written into by-laws, or evolved through convention and socially-correct practices.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

RQ-3: BSNL modem, no back-up?

Of late the lights in the BSNL modem go off whenever power fails, and in the interim before DG power comes on, phone and broadband do not work. BSNL modem back-up doesn't seem to work when power fails.
Would anyone know why this should happen ?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Holi@Mantri,OMR:The scene of 'crime'

The morning after Holi war with water guns and colour powder, such was the scene of crime, as some would say. If it looks reasonably clean, it's because the mess they left was cleaned up by Holi revellers. As their prime mover Crystal Zachariah put it on our Facebook page, Yes,we made a hell of a mess, but made all efforts to clean up our fun. The fun may have been 'cleaned up'; I reckon the colours we left on the floor would take a few more days to go.
This picture gives us a sense of the 'the fun and colour' we created at Mantri central park. Oddly enough, the colour warriors couldn't find very many willing victims to train their water guns on. Apparently,Holi is not among our favourite festival at Mantri's, going by the turnout. Even the normal crowd of women, children and the elderly residents failed to show up. Holi enthusiasts chose the central park, in the first place, because of a captive crowd that would be a sitting target. And this would have a multiplier effect, with folks from the apartments around the central park joining in the colour-throwing. Crystal had driven all the way to Parry's to fetch the colours.
The enthusiasts got it wrong; found themselves isolated. What was worse, the Holi players (including yours truly) seeking to bring some colour and Holi hangama to our complex were dubbed 'trouble-makers'. PropCare received complaints. I don't know about the others, but the experience has had a sobering effect on me.
I suppose we should have adopted, what I call, 'a committee approach' - involving debate, deliberation, and disposal - to planning this Holi thing. Our thought was Holi, being a delightfully disorderly affair, wouldn't need a committee approval.Clowning around with colours comes naturally on Holi, even to otherwise sensible people. I can't imagine my friend Pandey doing, on any other day, what he did by the fountain side last evening. If anything, he is a responsible parent on other 364 days; usually seen in the mornings, pushing his four-month old in a stroller around the central park.
Anyway,the crazy idea started as a Facebook post that said, simply,'Holi plans?'. Someone left a comment; and one comment led to another and the idea of planning the Holi 'do' at Mantri residential complex went viral. It wasn't a govt. declared holiday, so the Holi revelry had to be done in the evening. That is when folks came out into the park. But not many did on Holi evening.
Mr Krishnamachari and wife were the exception. When young Pandey approached him Mr Chari happily submitted to the colouring of his face, so long as Pandey spared his shirt. Holi is a festival that licenses people to go berserk; to 'let your hair down', as the Brits would say. This isn't understood, much less appreciated in some quarters.
The bunch of Holi revellers were seen as 'trouble-makers' by some who watched the colour-throwing at the park from their apartment balcony. Following a complaint to Mantri project guys, about the mess being made of the common area, a security personnel came to stop the proceedings. He was greeted with colours smeared on his uniform. The security official was not amused; a sharp, but mercifully, brief, exchange of words ensued,leaving an unpleasant taste in mouth. Not quite the Holi spirit we wished to generate. What the security official didn't know was that PropCare, and all other staffers at the complex were invited to join us.
The staffers chose to stay away. Some who strayed into the 'warring' area faced the music. Gas Ramu is seen here with Mantri resident Manoranjan Pandey. Ramu, who faces a spate of complaints on erratic gas-supply from the likes of Pandey on a daily basis, seemed happy to play victim in true Holi spirit.
Speaking of such spirit is this pleasing photo in The Hindu. News channels telecast through the day yesterday video clips of how they celebrate Holi in other towns in India, and even in Karachi, Pakistan. Would like to share here the link to a media piece on Lathmar Holi celebrated in a UP village. Don't miss the photos in the slide-show.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Random shots @ Mantri,OMR

Some photos I took at random on a walk around Mantri complex.
Sunrise.Yes,that's an airplane, junked, parked at the backyard of Hindustan University.
A clutter of commodes at the basement parking lot.
Another shot of the parking lot,with a leaky patch.
Paver-blocks cover all available open space. Mantri project people and landscape architect, Mr Sekar James, have ignored our repeated plea to allocate space for Mantri residents community planting programme.
What is worse,they wouldn't even leave breathing space - a foot or two unpaved - around these coconut trees. Such is Mantri's drive to convert open space into car park slots for sale.
Ramp to the grocery store could have been a foot wider, for easy movement of shopping cart. The turn at the bottom of the ramp sharp and too narrow.
We know Mantri project people would clean up this mess before they leave. But they appear to be taking their time, with no one to ask questions.
This lot across the road isn't Mantri's making. It is a contributory effort, and a public garbage dump in the making. Children's school bus halt at here to pick up students in the morning.
We need the Ugly Indian to address the issue.
Listen in to this 5-min. BBC radio interview with an Ugly Indian.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mantri association by-laws: Membership

Wish to share with you operative parts of association by-laws awaiting AGM approval.Membership enrollment:
Persons desirous of becoming member shall make an application in the prescribed form and submit it to the secretary with proof of ownership
Every member, shall be required to deposit a sum of Rs.1000/- or higher as may be decided by the General Body, with the Association to serve as Reserve Fund for such use as may be decided by the General Body at its Annual General Meeting.
Any member intending to sell his apartment shall notify the association in the prescribed form
Each member will be given a copy of the Byelaws. Each tenant can also get a copy of the same on payment of Rs.50
Every member who lets out the flat shall file with the association a copy of the of the lease agreement disclosing the flat number name of tenant, period of lease/tenancy agreement
It shall always be the responsibility of the owner concerned to keep the Association informed in writing about the change of occupancy of his flat if it is not occupied by the owner himself
Every new occupant or tenant shall be bound by these byelaws, rules and regulations

Mantri residents association: Electable members

My friend Arvind Rajgopaul (H-1104-05) in a CommonFloor post said an elected managing committee of Mantri's apartment owners association would replace the present ad hoc panel when the general body meets later this month. He suggests the association members should know who the candidates are, so that they can make an informed choice of managing committee members on election date.
The question that is very much up in the air is whether the ad hoc committee can mobilize a majority at the general body, to ratify its members to the management committee, without having to invite fresh nominations. If election becomes inevitable, the proposed AGM would fix a date, and indentify a returning officer to conduct election.
As of now, the ad hoc committee has yet to announce its decision to hold AGM on March 18. Now that they have the certification of registration in hand (got it today)the core committee can no longer withhold announcement of AGM and its agenda - 1) general body approval of the association by-laws; and 2)notification of the date of election to the management committee. Presumably,there is a time-line (45 days from the association registration) within which the election has to be held, that is by April 7.
PropCare, which has till date helped eight apartments associations (all of them in Bangalore) to conduct their first election, have a standard operating procedure. They have standardised formats for election notification,filing of nominations, acceptance of proxy forms from apartment owners deputing a nominee to cast their vote.
Prolonged silence on the part of the ad hoc committee could be misread as a ploy for it to seek AGM ratification, without having to invite fresh nominations for the association management committee. It does not appear that apartment owners seeking to serve the association would be queuing up to file nominations to the management committee.If anything, a few in the present committee are believed to have have expressed unwillingness to continue.
Their lack of enthusiasm is understandable, considering the challenges the Mantri Association would have to face in the coming weeks and months.Our concern is whether the present ad hoc set-up, if elected, can 1) articulate our common concerns and face up to the tasks ahead; and 2)to carry with them a critical mass of association members.
Individually, everyone in the ad hoc committee is driven by community spirit, willingness to sacrifice time and energy for the community good and the desire to make Mantri Synergy a nice and companionable place to live in. But as a collective entity the ad hoc committee cannot be said to have come up to expectations of association members.Style of functioning of some has not helped the committee to project a cohesive image. Effective decision-making hasn't been their strong point. Lack of transparency has been an issue.
On a positive note, the ad hoc committee includes quite a few public-spirited members who would be an asset to the proposed managing committee. Mr Rajgopaul his CommonFloor post names those who stood out in his reckoning. M/s. Vasudevan, Krishna, Jagadeesh, Ramkumar, Venkatesh are few names which come readily to mind, wrote Mr Rajgopaul. I can't agree more with him ; and I have a few names to add to our nominations list - Ujjal, Santhose, Sunil, Harinarayan, Deepa Mukherjee, Madhumita Mohanty and Jayanti (who wants to move the RTI on Mantri's power grid issue).
Now that we are into naming names, why not start a democratic process of suggesting online persons that apartment owners believe would do well in our management committee. Maybe, this is not the way our core committee would want to go about it. We, as association members, are only doing some loud thinking in regard to suitable candidates,if only to initiate a discussion before AGM. Whether those named would agree to be considered for the association management committee is quite another matter.
PropCare format - election notification
Nomination form
Proxy form

Monday, March 5, 2012

More on the mosquito repellants

In response to an earlier post on 'camphor bowl' mosquito repellant a Mantri resident Jayanti wrote in, suggesting citronella candles as kid-friendly remedy. She wasn't, however, sure where one gets citronella.
Today's newspaper carries a brief note on the launch of Mortein NaturGard with citronella extracts. It is retailed as Aerosol pack (Rs.169 for 425 ml.) and Vaporiser combipack (Rs.70).
Mohan or Dandapani of Mantri clubhouse grocery shop can be persuaded to stock them.

Residents Question (RQ): Why, only Airtel TV ?

Someone who moved in recently at F Block wants to know why we have access only Airtel TV channel at Mantri Synergy . She says the cable TV network available elsewhere in the city costs only Rs.150 monthly. Her point is that Mantri Synergy residents should have options.
(Residents at Mantri Synergy,and those in emerging residential communities elsewhere on OMR are welcome to post questions online)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The gym and I

Burn 60-70 calories on the treadmill. You know how to walk that. Don’t you?
Being fat is not a big deal. If people say or make fun of you, let them, who cares? But if someone inside you accuses you of being a lazy ass, then you gotta listen to that. You have to move on.

As I read this I reckoned this was me. Have been on the bulky side for far too long, for too many decades. I counted myself in the incorrigible category. Besides, it was matter of mindset. When people used to ask why I didn't try to shed weight, I quipped, 'how slim can an elephant get ?'
Then I moved to Mantri's. Where the clubhouse came with the turf, and a price tag - Rs.1 lakh for so-called life membership. That was when I discovered the gym, thanks to Mr Ardendhu Chakaraborti (F block). You know, he was once a regular at the gym ? And he is the one who initiated me into gym-going. Earlier,I had this feeling that gym was for the young and the athletic, not for basket cases such as yours truly.
I am now a regular,at our clubhouse gym. Try to make it there four days a week. I am 73.
Incidentally,the quote that prompted me to write on 'the gym and I' is from Shalini Jena's blogpost, Finally hit the gym

Install a curtain rod without drilling on wall

So, how do you install curtains,

When your landlord does not allow for drilling on walls in your rented apartment ?
When you don't have the necessary tools to drill on wall ?
When you don't want to puncture a hidden water pipeline or electrical duct ?

Sourced from Woodooz

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mantri to raise maintenance rate

Mantri's PropCare want to raise the maintenance rate they charge apartment owners. They claim the prevalent monthly rate - Rs.2 per sq.ft. fixed in 2010 - doesn't meet their cost.
My hunch is that PropCare has the figure worked out; and a circular will soon be sent to apartment owners, proposing higher maint.rate.
Question: How do we respond ? Core committee hasn't spoken.
Background: Piecing together bits of info. obtained from informed residents the picture that emerges is that when PropCare first raised the issue of hike in the maintenance rate our core committee suggested that they wait till the apartment owners association was registered.
Fair enough. The committee,presumably, reckoned it was premature to discuss the issue with PropCare. But then the core committee, being aware that Propcare was working on a proposal to hike maint. rate, could have shared their thoughts with apartment owners in CommonFloor, online forum of Mantri apartment owners. This would have enabled informed interaction among apartment owners.
After the association registration (Feb.23), when PropCare approached the core committee once again they were told the issue could be discussed after the first annual general body meeting (AGM).
Agreed, the core committee, unelected to the association management, cannot finalize the maint.rate with PropCare. But then nothing inhibited the ad hoc committee from talking to PropCare, if only to get a sense of the raise in the rate they proposed.
Our understanding is, PropCare is likely to quote Rs.3 per sq.ft.,if not more.But then they know as well as we do that the rate is negotiable. Anyway, we needn't wait longer than a few days for the PropCare circular.
Meanwhile, the core committee has yet to announce a date for AGM.

Baby bulbul at Singh's garden

This photo is e-mailed by Mr R N Singh of Dehradun, who, with his wife, split their time between Dehradun and Chennai,OMR Mantri's (C-block), where Mr Singh's son Sundeep and daughter-in-law Chandra live. Mr Singh,an accomplished photographer, specialises in nature photography. The photo, of a nesting bulbul feeding her three new-borns, was taken in Mr Singh's garden at Dehradun.
The photographer, Mr Singh (right) with friends at Mantri Synergy, during his recent Chennai visit.