Over 900 structures on demolition mans radar; PCMC chief firm despite protests from corporators,MLAs,MPs
Indicating that it was not in favour of razing the 1 lakh illegal structures that had come up before March 31,2012,the Dr Shrikar Pardesh-led PCMC administration has decided to pull down 973 constructions that sprang up after that date or are being constructed. While the demolition move has drawn a sort of non-cooperation from the ruling NCP,some top leaders are peeved with the commissioner.
Figures revised: Until Monday,the PCMC administration was touting a figure of 500 illegal structures that had sprang up after March 31,2012 to be demolished. On Tuesday,Municipal Commissioner Pardeshi presented the revised figure saying they have identified 473 new ones. He said works like conducting a panchnama and photographing illegal structures are over. Notices have also been issued. He said electricity and water connections would not be provided to illegal structures that are coming up.
FIRs being filed: The commissioner said his administration has started filing FIRs against those who have erected illegal constructions. He said there is a provision for filing FIRs under Section 397 of the BPMC Act. The state government issued a notification to this effect on March 13,2012, he said. The civic chief said there was a provision for a jail term ranging from three months to three years for violators and fines ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 can be imposed on them.
Officers on their toes: Dr Pardeshi said even officers not acting against illegal structures would face action. They could face a jail term of three months and Rs 20,000 fine. He said PCMC had on June 16 appointed designated officers to keep a watch on and act against illegal structures. They have begun functioning,he said. If they are found to have not taken action,we will file cases against them.
Even corporators won’t be spared: Sending out strong signals,the PCMC chief said he would also act against illegal structures set up by corporators and if required,file cases against them. Asked whether he had the support of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar,Dr Pardeshi set the record straight saying: The state government is supporting me.
Unhappy MLAs: Even as Dr Pardeshi said he was going ahead with the demolition drive with support from the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister,ruling NCP leaders are cut up with him. Three MLAs,Laxman Jagtap,Vilas Lande and Anna Bansode,stayed away from a meeting called by the municipal commissioner to discuss the BRTS. Deputy mayor Raju Misal,House leader Mangala Kadam and standing committee chairman Jagdish Shetty,all from the NCP,also did not turn up. The three MLAs have given a letter to the civic administration,urging it not to go ahead with the demolition. When contacted,Jagtap said he did not attend the meeting as he was out of town. When his reaction to the proposed demolition drive and the civic chiefs stand was sought,Jagtap said,I am not angry with the commissioner,but I am not happy… He refused to comment further.
Lande said he met the commissioner several times requesting him not to act against illegal structures,but the commissioner insists he is acting on a court order. NCP sources said the party would press for Dr Pardeshis transfer. We will meet our leader Ajit Pawar and request him to transfer the civic chief as a massive demolition drive would dent the NCP image. A senior NCP leader,however,said Pawar was behind the demolition as he wants to change the face of Pimpri-Chinchwad. Dr Pardeshi will stay come what may.
MPs join PCMC bashing: MP Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil has urged the PCMC chief not to play with lives of people. The fault lies with both residents and the PCMC. The civic body remained negligent while residents did not bother to take permission from PCMC. But now residents are being made to pay while officials are being allowed to go scot free. PCMC should henceforth remain vigilant and not wreck the lives of people who have built their houses brick by brick through hard-earned money. MP Gajanan Babar has also opposed the drive. The PCMC standing committee has urged the civic chief to concentrate on development works rather than illegal structures.
Breather for 1 lakh structures: Even as the civic administration has decided to act tough on illegal structures that surfaced after March 31,2012,it has decided to regularise those constructed before March 31,2012. We have sent a proposal for regularisation of structures constructed before March 31,2012, Dr Pardeshi said. The civic chief said the proposal to regularise the constructions had been under the consideration of the state government.
Civic activists said Dr Pardeshi is doing the right thing by trying to demolish structures that came up after March 31,2012. But they raised eyebrows over sparing structures constructed before March 31,which they interpreted as a political ploy.
This is NCPs political ploy since polls are not far. NCP is trying to save its skin. If demolition is carried out on a mass scale,the NCP could lose. For the past two years,we have been hearing that 1 lakh constructions would be demolished and suddenly we hear they will be spared, said activist Shridhar Chalkha.
Bulldozers roll; residents answer with stones
Tension prevailed in Dighi as angry residents pelted stones at the anti-encroachment squad and vehicles on Wednesday morning. Two cops were reportedly injured in the incident. Following the state government order to demolish illegal constructions that came up after March 2012,the PCMC had surveyed and identified 973 such structures in its jurisdiction.
After receiving police protection,the PCMC anti-encroachment department on Wednesday started the demolition drive from Dighi. An alleged illegal construction on three gunthas of land at Sant Gajanan Maharah Nagar was demolished first. Later,when the officials continued to demolish illegal constructions on the land reserved for industries,a mob at the spot started pelting stones at JCB vehicles and staff of PCMC’s anti-encroachment department.
In spite of police protection,PCMC officials had to leave the drive mid-way due to stiff opposition from people. Meanwhile,a mob of as many as 300 persons,including women,staged a rasta roko on the Bhosari-Alandi Road for about three hours. Later,the mob went to PCMC. Some of the citizens opposing the anti-encroachment drive held meeting with PCMC Mayor Mohini Lande and other political representatives.