State govt ‘strikes back’, threatens CID probe

Bapat says panel to finalise DP ‘legal’, PMC overshot deadline.

Written by Ajay Khape | Pune | Published:March 29, 2015 3:40 am
bapat-759 Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat (Left); NCP city unit chief Vandana Chavan

A day after the NCP that rules the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) made it clear that it would challenge the BJP-led state government’s decision to appoint a committee to finalise the development plan (DP) of the old city area— thus clipping the wings of the civic body—Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat on Saturday not only defended the state government move but also went on the offensive by threatening a CID investigation into alleged discrepancies in the draft DP prepared by the planning committee.

Bapat justified the setting up of the panel. “The state government decision to take away the responsibility of finalising the DP from the PMC was as per law. The civic body failed to meet the deadline,” said Bapat.

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He said that the civic planning committee, after hearing suggestions and objections of stakeholders, had submitted its report to the general body of the municipal corporation. “However, opinion of the planning committee was divided and there were two reports. It is learnt that changes were made in the report submitted by the experts. The state government has decided to carry out a CID investigation on the wrongdoings,” Bapat said.

There have been allegations that underhand “financial deals” had taken place while preparing the DP, Bapat alleged and added, “If the state government gets enough inputs, it would carry out a CID investigation of the entire DP planning process.”

Bapat said that powers to finalise the DP rests with the state government.

On Friday, the NCP had alleged that the BJP was against land reservations in the DP that were in the interest of the public and that it would now favour the real estate industry. “The state government might have taken over the process of finalising the DP but it has to do take it forward without changing the current status. The steps already taken cannot be retraced. The NCP would try to push its proposal for the DP through the municipal commissioner who would be one of the members of the three-member committee set up to complete the process in six months,” said NCP city unit chief Vandana Chavan.

Amid this tug-of-war, the MNS alleged that these two parties were hand-in-glove in creating hurdles in development of the city.

“The NCP-Congress hurt development through their representatives in the planning committee. Now the BJP-Sena alliance is trying to shield them by taking over the powers to finalise the DP,” said MNS leader Rajendra Wagaskar.

He said the MNS would launch an agitation against the move to rob the civic body of its powers to give the DP its final contours.

The Shiv Sena supported the state government decision. Sena sources alleged that NCP-Congress has converted a lot of public space for residential purpose. “We were against the DP drafted by the planning committee. Now, the state government would prepare it by keeping public interest intact,” said Sena leader Ashok Harnaval.

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