On Tuesday, two civic general body meetings and a standing committee meeting of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) were adjourned. In the past eight months, as many as 15 civic general body meetings have been adjourned. As a result, the civic body has not been able to take any major decision and the municipal commissioner has been forced to invoke special powers as the corporators refused to relent, senior civic officials said.
Another general body meeting scheduled for February is unlikely to take place, officials said. They said this has created a constitutional crisis. On the other hand, the Shrikar Pardeshi-led PCMC administration is determined to go ahead with its demolition drive — which is the major bone of contention between the two warring sides.
Tuesday’s meetings were adjourned after an appeal by MLAs Laxman Jagtap and Vilas Lande to corporators. Demanding that PCMC demolition drive be stopped, both the MLAs said unless Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan held a meeting with them on the issue of illegal construction, the corporators should not allow the meeting to take place.
Senior civic officials said the corporators, mainly from the ruling NCP, who are alleging that development work has come to a standstill are to be blamed for the situation. “The administration has not been able to take a decision as corporators keep adjourning the meeting, demanding to halt the demolition drive.” Even when it came to the issue of severing water and power connection to illegal constructions, officials said corporators did not cooperate. “This forced the municipal commissioner to invoke special powers,” officials said.
Corporators have refused to clear over 500 files, forcing the commissioner to take over more than 100 files by invoking special powers.
When contacted, Municipal Commissioner Dr Shrikar Pardeshi refused to comment, but conceded that frequent adjournments had affected work.
Five-time corporator and NCP Pimpri-Chinchwad president Yogesh Behl said corporators are agitated as the civic administration is refusing to take a humanitarian view. “People spend their lifetime’s earning to build a house. If the administration is not going to care, people will obviously get agitated. Corporators are raising people’s cause,” he said.
Stating that nobody was against the civic chief or the work he was doing, Behl said if the administration was demolishing houses, it should either provide compensation or alternative space to the aggrieved. “The administration should also wait till the CM and Deputy CM hold a meeting on illegal constructions and give their decision.”
When contacted, Mayor Mohini Lande, who presides over civic general body meetings, conceded that 15 GB meetings have been adjourned in last eight months. “The reasons are many, the prime being illegal construction. If the administration takes corporators into confidence, the general body meetings can take place. Otherwise, no meeting will take place,” she said, adding that February 11 meeting will also not take place if the administration does not stop the demolition.
Shiv Sena house leader Shrirang Barne said both the administration and MLAs are at fault. “While MLAs are resorting to theatrics, the administration shows it does not care for the people,” he said. Both Barne and Behl said there was nothing significant on GB agenda in the last 15 months, a charge denied by the administration.