PMC confident but green activists see red
The Pune Municipal Corporation claims to be equipped to handle the "burden" of villages being included within its jurisdiction. Municipal commissioner Mahesh Pathak said the question was not about "whether", but when. "It is a good move by the government. We should be able to provide the required amenities to these areas,''said Pathak.
Townships such as Nanded city and areas such as Khadakwasla, Bavdhan, Manjari Budruk will also be part of the merger.
Asked whether infrastructure was adequate for the merged villages, Pathak said work was on. "I think the residents of these villages are happy with the infrastructure provided. Only water supply needs improvement. The situation is better than before. Earlier, according to gram panchayat rules, a person got 40 litres of water per day. However, in municipal corporation limits it is 100 litres per person per day. We will make necessary arrangements once these villages are under us,'' he added.
He said that 80 per cent of the funds for development works that were going to the zilla parishad will now be coming to the municipal corporation and the civic body would undertake necessary infrastructure work in the area. "The development will only benefit these villages. It was earlier observed that the development in these areas was haphazard," he added.
In 1997, 23 villages on the city's fringes were merged into PMC limits. The civic body had then taken up the task of drawing up a DP and a planning committee was set up. The committee handed in the final draft in December 2004. This included a critical proposal that banned construction on hills and river banks. Besides, it was recommended that 1,600 hectare should be earmarked for a biodiversity park (BDP). The hearing for the same is still on.
Deputy town planner Avinash Patil plans to visit the areas and submit the objectons to the government. While sanctioning the DP of the merged villages last April, the state government had suggested 21 changes in the gazette. The state had proposed to convert certain portions of the land, which falls under the BDP reservation, for residential use without giving any reason. Environmentalists had demanded that the areas be developed via town planning schemes to ensure rational and just development.
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