Ahead of the 2017 civic polls, the process of merging 34 villages within Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), which was initiated by the previous Congress-NCP government has been derailed in the present BJP-Shiv Sena rule. So much so that the PMC administration has made no budgetary allocation in 2016-17 for the purpose as against Rs 25 crore in the current fiscal.
Sources said that the reason for no budgetary allocation is that the 34 villages are strongholds of the NCP and Congress. In 2015-16, the PMC had set aside Rs 25 crore to undertake development work in the villages. However, in the budget draft for 2016-17 which the civic administration tabled last week, there has been no budgetary provision for the purpose.
“The civic administration is of the opinion that the 34 villages would not be merged in PMC in the next financial year. Thus, there has been no budgetary provision for development work in these villages,” said a civic official. He added that there is a feeling that the BJP-led state government would not favour the merger as they are strongholds of the NCP and Congress, as such a step might scuttle their chances in the civic polls.
The BJP had won all the eight assembly seats in PMC in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and also the Lok Sabha seat from Pune city. “The best chance for the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance to come to power in the PMC would be in 2017. Thus, party leaders are definitely not in favour of adding trouble by including 34 more villages in the civic body where the NCP and Congress are strong,” said a BJP leader.
NCP leader Bapu Karne said that the provision of Rs 25 crore in the 2015-16 budget for development work in the 34 villages was done so that there is no shortage of funds to take up work as soon as the state government takes a decision.
“It is unfortunate that the state government is bringing politics into it. The process for merger of 34 more villages in the PMC was started as unplanned development was at its peak in these areas and it needed to be checked with immediate effect,” Karne said.
The PMC administration had also carried out a study and submitted that Rs 2,000 crore would be required to carry out development in these villages to match the infrastructure of the civic body, Karne added.