Navnath Jagtap of the Nationalist Congress Party has been elected unopposed as chairman of the standing committee of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC). He replaces Jagdish Shetty,also of the NCP.
Jagtap is a close relative of MLA Laxman Jagtap.
Jagtap and Mahesh Landge,both from the NCP,were favourites for the post but NCP sources said his relative Vilas Lande scuttled Landges bid for the post. The reason,say NCP leaders,is Landge gearing up to challenge Lande in the assembly elections from Bhosari. Lande has won the seat twice.
Landge has been nursing a grudge against Lande for being consistently denied any key posts in PCMC. Landge supporters hold Lande responsible for the marginalisation of Landge.
However,the Jagtap camp said Navnath was elevated to the post by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. Pawar had last time promised Jagtap that his nominee would be elected to the post this year. Pawar has kept his word.
Over 70% of fountains constructed by the civic body over the years for beautification of chowks and gardens in the industrial town are non-functional. The allegation came from Raju Savale,vice-president of the environment cell of the Pimpri Chinchwad unit of the MNS. PCMC constructed fountains in gardens,at traffic squares and other places. But we found many of the fountains not functioning. The details emerged after we moved an RTI application.
Savale said they had posed queries about the total number of fountains set up by PCMC,
the expenditure incurred on them,the work order issued,
the amount paid for it,number of operational and non-operational fountains,and expenditure on repairs.
The MNS said PCMC replied that there are 35 fountains in town as of March 26,2013. Of these,10 are operational and 25 non-operational. Most fountains that work are also not fully operational. The civic body spent Rs 74.85 lakh on construction of these fountains and Rs 16.4 lakh on their repair,spending a total of Rs 91.25 lakh on them.
MNS has urged Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi to blacklist contractors supposed to repair and maintain the fountains.
Civic activists urged PCMC to set up a biodiversity management committee as mandated by the Biological Diversity Act,2002,as early as possible to protect the regions flora and fauna.
The setting up of biodiversity management committees is mandatory for civic bodies, said Manav Kamble,president of the Nagari Hakka Suraksha Samiti (NHSS).
Kamble said the committee should have a chairperson and six other members nominated by local bodies. They are supposed to look into issues concerning biodiversity conservation which includes preservation of habitats,conservation of land,and documentation of facts and figures related to biological diversity.
The biodiversity in town needs protection from rapid urbanisation. The Pavana the lifeline of Pimpri-Chinchwad has become too polluted to be of use for potable water. Indrayani river that flows along the northern boundary is also heavily polluted. Green fields in Pimpri,Dapodi,Chinchwad Rahatni and Pimple Saudagar have been used for residential purpose, said Kamble.
SCHOOL BAGS PLAN
The distribution of school bags,uniform and rainwear to students of PCMC-run schools will henceforth be done for two years at a go. This has been decided by the civic education board owing to delays every year in purchase of these items.
School board officials said that in the past few years,because of the delay in issuing purchase orders sweaters usually arrive in summer and raincoats in winter.
The education board spends around Rs 10 crore every year to purchase school items for the nearly 50,000 students in the 134 primary schools. The distribution is delayed every year because of the bidding process. There have also been allegations of irregularities in procurements.