Fearing repercussions over negligence in performing duties, the civic administration intensified its drive against illegal constructions but later slowed it down as the uproar over the issue thinned out. The arrest of a former corporator and suspension of the civic engineer amplified how things could go wrong when politician-civic staff nexus thrives.
The civic administration claims that the drive is still on, but most of it is restricted to clearing tin sheds and small huts. It has failed to complete the structural audit of buildings in the Taljai area where the structure collapsed.
Political parties in the PMC too displayed their “affection” for illegal constructions with the Shiv Sena taking out a morcha against the drive while all parties led by the ruling NCP made a provision in the draft development plan to protect the small structures.
Extension of city limits
The rapid pace of growth compelled the state government to start the process for inclusion of 28 more surrounding villages to be included in the PMC area. It came as shock in the civic circles as the state government made its intention public without waiting for the PMC’s response, making it one of the largest local bodies in the state. Though the corporators failed to convey their opinion to the government on time, the civic administration gave its favourable response while demanding more water, manpower and funds for the purpose.
The civic elections that brought the NCP to power once again was special this year with more than 50 per cent members coming to power due to reservation for women. This, jointly with the panel system, spelled doom for established politicians who had to make way for new ones. The NCP re-established its supremacy for the second time. The civic poll also showed the growing strength of Raj Thackeray-led MNS that emerged the second largest party and become the main opposition. The elections signalled the debacle of already hurt Congress, along with the Shiv Sena.
The public transport project failed to gain momentum even as the traffic situation continued to worsen with more private vehicles hitting the roads. But the year held out some hope as the proposal finally got clearance from the local civic body. The state government, too, began the process for setting up a special purpose vehicle to start work on the project.
The two routes from Vanaz to Kharadi and Swargate to Pimpri-Chinchwad were approved by the elected representatives, bringing an end to the argument over going underground or elevated.