PCMC demolition drive sends out strong signals
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In 17 days of the drive that faced angry protests, 87 structures flattened; over 170 cases filed; construction on more than 4 lakh square feet demolished
Undeterred by the threats, public anger and flak from political parties, the PCMC administration led by Dr Shrikar Pardeshi is on a demolition spree, razing to the ground illegal structures dotting the civic limits. In the process, say civic activists, the administration has sent out "strong signals" to the masses that if they indulge in setting up any sort of illegal constructions, they will have to pay for it.
Taking recourse to the Bombay High Court's directives, the PCMC chief launched the demolition drive on June 28 from Chinchwad-Keshavnagar area. As many as 600 structures were initially on the hit-list of the civic administration. The list was then revised to 900, and further revised to 600 structures. Officials said it might get revised further as 60 individuals had already secured a stay from court.
The administration had first decided to demolish the earmarked structures at one go, but gauging the public mood decided to adopt a tactical approach. The drive was staggered, being undertaken at a gap of one, two or a few days.
In 17 days — when demolition was actually carried out — the PCMC administration has flattened as many as 87 structures across the town. Over 4 lakh sq feet construction has been demolished. According to builders, the cost of the demolished structures could be in the range of Rs 50 crore. Cases have been filed against over 170 people. The task was carried out by as many as 1,600 PCMC officials and employees, besides the police force, who were pelted with stones during the process. While city engineer M T Kamble led the demolition drives, Deputy Commissioner of Police Shahaji Umap and his team ensured security.
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