With addition of new amenities in complexes and social media, managing societies is changing. The members are now adopting mobile apps, encouraging diversity and accommodating modern relationships
There’s a lot more to running a housing society today— security, the Goods and Services Tax( G ST ), CCTV networks and social media. Additionally, the average society is also bigger and plusher, which means more residents, staff, amenities and maintenance.
While Eversweet Society in Versova is trying to figure out ways to implement modern systems for waste segregation, Us ha Kiron society in Colaba is struggling to find parking space for its residents, most of whom have multiple vehicles. And Sun flower Co-operative in Kandivli is finding it hard to handle its WhatsApp group.
“I miss the days when our complex of 120 flats was like a family. Now it is more disjointed and insular. Families meet only when there is a formal meeting or a big festival ,” says Rajesh Arondekar, who has been the secretary of Sunflower Co-operative for over 10 years.
The best way to work in a situation like this, he says, is togo by the book.
“Be it elections or issues with parking, we make sure that every rule is followed to the T, and that things run smoothly,” he adds.
The book, however, is becoming too heavy, feels Rajeev Matta, who has been the secretary of Eversweet for a decade.
“We had a housing society election last year in the presence of an official from the registrar’s office. While this is a good process, it is also a little cumbersome. There is now also a proposal to change it,” he says.
“As someone heading a housing society, I think we should be updated with fresh ideas and know the aspirations of members. More people need to be involved.” Whether or not to embrace social media is another dilemma.
Matta’s management committee has a Whats A pp group where they update each other about meetings and things to be done but they are yet to set up a Facebook page. “We avoid that and prefer human interaction if anyone has a query,” he says. Arondekar points out that they avoid social media because it can become a free-for-all and lead to
Amenities such as a health club, CCTV networks and intercom come with an additional cost and need extra staff. Many members of older housing societies think they are a financial burden.
RAJESH ARONDEKAR, secretary of Sunflower co-operative in Kandivli
“We don’t want allegations of abuse and defamation. What is the point? We may consider practical a pp sift here is a need ,” he adds.
BRIDGING THE GAP
One continuing bone of contention is what kinds of tenants will be ‘encouraged’.
Matta says his society has adapted to change. “We have no problem whatsoever with single men, single women or unmarried couples living on rent in the complex. Our complex is a cosmopolitan one and in case of opposition on matters like these we as a collective put our foot down,” he says. At Usha Kiron in Colaba, live-in couples on rent are not encouraged. “Members are still not comfortable about it,” says secretary Tanya Desousa. “All communities are welcome. People from all religions live here like a family,” she adds.
THE COMPLEX NETWORK
They have, however, adopted the social network with much enthusiasm.
“We have a whats a pp group for the whole complex which helps us stay connected,” says Desousa.
“We post updates, news and information about the society on the group. This helps us remain in touch with members who are away for long durations,” adds Kiron.
Arondekar from Kandivli agrees that social media is helpful but he thinks that it often causes more harm than good.
“We have had a bad experience two years ago with social media when a member started sending out false information about the committee because we prevented him from doing some illegal construction. There is a lot to manage to allow such confusion ,” he says.
A lot of buildings now come with amenities like gym, swimming pool and CCTV networks. Though Desousa’s apartment does not have the space for bigger amenities, she has been contemplating to set up an intercom and solar panels. But these too can be a trouble at times.
Arondekar says that they pay an additional amount for the maintenance health club and intercom in their society which also needs additional staff. But some members find the cost a burden.