Putting an end to the speculation on whether proposed merger of 34 villages in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) would take place before the civic polls, the Bombay High Court on Thursday postponed till December the hearing on petition challenging the delay by state government in taking decision of including villages in the civic jurisdiction.
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Residents of 34 villages had filed a petition in the High Court over the state government’s delay in the proposed merger of the villages.
The high court in July had given three months for the state government to take a decision over it, and recently rejected the demand of more time to submit an affidavit. The NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena have been urging the state government to include the 34 villages in PMC but the BJP has been reluctant as it was expected to make an impact on its chances in the civic polls.
The elections for municipal councils sharing boundaries of the PMC have already started and if the state government rejects the merger of villages in PMC then it would go against the BJP in the municipal council elections while approval would be a trouble during the PMC elections as the area is considered a stronghold of NCP and Congress. In May 2014, the then state government of the Congress-NCP alliance had issued a notification for merging 34 more villages within the PMC jurisdiction, citing rapid urbanisation in the area.
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The PMC too had given its consent for the same and the state government had completed the entire process of accepting suggestions and objections on the proposal.
In 2015-16, the civic administration had proposed Rs 35 crore for development projects in the villages, if included under the PMC, but no budget was allocated in 2016-17.
The 34 villages are Mhalunge, Sus, Bavdhan, Kirkitwadi, Pisoli, Lohegaon (portion not already under the PMC), Kondhwe-Dhawade, Kopre, Nanded, Khadakwasla, Shivane, Mundhwa, Manjari, Narhe, Shivane, Ambegaon (Budruk), Undri, Dhayari, Ambegaon (Khurd), Urali Devachi, Mantarwadi, Holkarwadi, Handewadi, Wadachiwadi, Shewalewadi, Phursungi, Yeolewadi, Mangdewadi, Vadgaonsheri, Nandoshi, Bhilarewadi, Jambhulwadi, Gujar Nimbalkarwadi, and Kolewadi.