The state government on Wednesday announced that Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar will be the guardian minister of Pune district.
Pawar was the guardian minister of Pune in the past as well, from 2004 to 2014, before the BJP-led alliance came to power in 2014 and Girish Bapat took over as guardian minister till he got elected to the Lok Sabha. After that, state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil was appointed the guardian minister.
The appointment of guardian minister for district in the state is similar to the allocation of portfolios to ministers in the government. There is no rule as such on deciding the guardian minister from among a group of ministers in the state. Mostly, a minister is appointed guardian of the district she/he belongs to.
Pawar is an MLA from Baramati constituency, which is in Pune district.
The concept of guardian minister was introduced to oversee planning and development of the district. The guardian minister is ex-officio chairperson of the district planning committee (DPC), which has to be constituted in every district according to the law.
The guardian minister is expected to look into municipal matters and urban-rural interphase to assist the DPC in planning local resource sharing, area planning, solid waste and sewage disposal, and other such matters, which require close coordination between panchayats and municipalities.
The guardian minister also acts as the protocol head of the district to receive dignitaries, including the President, the vice-president and the Prime Minister, for functions in the district. The minister also acts as head of the canal committee meeting that discusses water management from available storage in dams supplying water to the district, with priority in the sequence of drinking, agriculture and industry. It proposes water quota for drinking purposes for each civic body, depending on the population. The quota finalised by the state government is reserved in the reservoirs by the water resource department and supplied throughout the year.
The guardian minister has to coordinate with various agencies to resolve garbage disposal issues, and also has to facilitate land acquisition for mega projects such as processing plants, construction of highways, airports, industrial area, water supply and sewage treatment projects.
In Pune, the guardian minister has to head the committee which ensures necessary facilities during the annual pilgrimage from Alandi and Dehu to Pandharpur. The guardian minister also monitors the preparations during Ganesha festival.