August 12, 2021 12:35:51 am
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday sought to know from the Maharashtra government as to whether the plan for a Ring Road in and around Pune, originally conceived in the Regional Development Plan (DP) in 1994, was still a “techno-economically” feasible project.
As per the Regional Plan, the 128-km Ring Road was originally conceived to connect highways around the city and to regulate pollution levels in Pune by diverting vehicular traffic. The total length of the proposed road now is nearly 170 kilometres. The state government has earmarked nearly Rs 26,000 crore for the project.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni passed directions while hearing a petition by Gera Developments Private Limited, a developer seeking direction to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to issue Occupation Certificate (OC) and Building Completion Certificate for a multi-storied commercial building (for an IT company) constructed by it on a leasehold plot of land belonging to the corporation as per a building plan sanctioned by the MIDC.
The petitioner submitted that the certificates have not been issued yet as a Ring Road measuring 120-meter in width is proposed to be constructed as per the DP, adding it would cut across a plot of land on which the building in question has been constructed.
Senior advocate Virag Tulzapurkar for the petitioner had submitted that the chief executive officer (CEO) of MIDC in November last year had written to the state urban development ministry stating that MIDC had already accorded building plan approvals and requested the state government to make change in alignment of proposed Ring Road and reduce its width up to 45 to 60 meters.
Tulzapurkar further submitted that the petitioners had sold available spaces for commercial purpose and now face risk of being proceeded against before the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA). An intervener in the plea, Prabhakar Budhade, also submitted through senior advocate Anil Anturkar that realignment of the Ring Road would adversely affect his client.
Advocate Shyamli Gadre for MIDC submitted that the Corporation could not issue the certificates in favour of the petitioners as PMRDA (Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority) had communicated to it that the said building came in the way of the proposed Ring Road and advised against issuance of certificates to the petitioners.
The Court had earlier noted that the narrative of facts projected a “very sorry state of affairs” as the petitioners were granted permission to construct the building in 2016 and that the building was “absolutely ready for occupation”. The bench had said that there was “no justifiable ground as to why the PMRDA was in slumber” and did not raise any objection when construction work had commenced on the plot.
Advocate Nitin Deshpande for PMRDA submitted that the Authority was willing to have a meeting with MIDC and petitioners and find a solution by reducing the width of the road. A proposal to this effect was sent to the state government in January, the response to which was awaited, he added.
However, advocate Manish M Pabale for the state government said that no such proposal was pending before it, adding the Ring Road was vital for growth of Pune as it would reduce traffic congestion and thus “there could not be any compromise” on it.
After hearing the submissions, the bench directed the state government to file a short affidavit indicating feasibility of the Ring Road project. If the answer is in affirmative, the HC asked the state government to give a rough estimate of total project cost and the approximate time that could be taken for construction of the Ring Road, excluding the time taken for acquiring land to be affected by such a project, along with the time for demarcation of such pieces of land.
The court will hear the pleas next on August 23.
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