Monday, April 8, 2013

Completing the Flats

After two years of construction, we’re finally moving into a dozen flats at our Ananda Pune Kriyayoga Community in Pune.  What a journey this project has been!  It will probably take another year to completely finish all the flats but at least we’ll soon be able to inhabit a good portion of them.

Site planning and architectural work for 30 flats began in 2010; construction started in early 2011.  Two contractors were used to "speed" the project along, one from Pune and the other from Delhi. The Delhi fellow worked out better and eventually did most of the work with labor crews from the local area and Pune city.  Funds for the project came from Ananda members from all over India who reserved a flat for their use when the project is complete.  Of the thirty units, we were able to find “buyers” for 23. 

The photo below gives a “bird’s eye” view of the project.  Blocks C and D are the two blocks now coming to completion.  Blocks A and B, the two largest blocks, are comprised of 18 units and are about 80% complete.  We’ve suspended construction on these in order to focus our resources on Blocks C and D. 

One of the final steps toward occupancy was extending utilities to the units.   The electricity took us many, many months to bring in but it is now turned on. The sewage system is complete and below you see us putting in the water system.  We still bring water to the community with our tractor and tanker trolley but have recently purchased property adjacent to a nearby stream and installed a pipeline from there to our land.  We should be getting water from the stream before too long.  

We finished two units at the far end of the above photo in time to accommodate guests visiting from America during our annual Paramhansa Yogananada Mahasamadhi Celebration.  We worked up until the last moment, cleaning, checking systems and installing basic furniture for their use before community residents took possession.

Our biggest challenge to finishing everything is financing. We’ve relied upon advance payments from future residents to build this project, but now that we are close to completion, our inability to sell the remaining units has put us in a bind.  We need to sell them in order to finish.  At least we've been able to bring the unfinished blocks to a point where they are protected from the weather.  Driveways, landscaping and common facilities for all the units will come later.

For now, we will go into the monsoon with twelve completed units.  Hurray for small (big?) miracles!  As Lahiri Mahasaya said, “Banat, banat, ban jai!”  Of those finished, some will be occupied immediately by residents and those without residents will bel used for guests at our retreat and for short term stays by those who have fully paid for units in unfinished in Blocks A and B.  If you are a kriyaban and/or a member of one of the Ananda communities, worldwide and are interested in booking a flat to help us finish, please let me know (