Politics over civic development project has once again reached its peak as the ruling NCP along with the Congress took potshots at the BJP-led state government for not transferring the funds allocated by the Union government for the ambitious project of Mutha river improvement and withdrawing funds for 24×7 water supply, putting the project in problem.
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Raising the issue in the general body meeting, NCP leader Shankar Kemse sought the status of implementation of the river improvement project and delay caused for it. PMC officer V G Kulkarni informed that the Centre had given its approval in 2015 and sanctioned around Rs 25 crore for the project by releasing it to the state government.
“The state government has not been able to transfer the amount to the PMC due to technical problem of no budget head. The proposal for the same is being tabled in the state cabinet and the civic body would soon get the funds,” he said. The Rs 990-crore project — being funded by the Centre through soft loan of 85 per cent of its cost from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) — would include construction of new sewage treatment plant to ensure 100 per cent sewage generated in the city is treated and there is no release of it in the river.
At present, the PMC falls short of 177 MLD sewage treatment capacity which is now being released in river without treatment every day. The NCP and Congress corporators said the city BJP unit held a grand felicitation function of Union Minister Prakash Javadekar after he declared the approval of funds for the project in March, but till now, the civic body has not got anything as the state government has not transferred the amount to the Pune MunicipalCorporation.
“The BJP had done so much publicity of the sanction of funds but the state government has not transferred the funds to the PMC till now. Thus, the party was fooling the public and merely grabs the opportunity to gain publicity,” said Kemse.
BJP leader Ganesh Bidkar said the allegations of NCP and Congress were wrong as he was himself tracking the proposal to get the funds for PMC as soon as possible. “There are administrative process followed for the purpose and it is only us who is following it up while those in power in PMC failed to do it,” he added.
Congress leader Ulhas Bagul said the PMC administration was planning to implement the Rs 2,000-crore 24×7 water supply project entirely through civic funds, while the initial idea was to implement it from Union and state government contribution. “It would be wrong to implement the project from civic funds as the money of such amount on one project cannot be spent by PMC,” he said.