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Citizens’ organisations approach HC to oppose PMC move to lease out amenity spaces

The petitioners stated that “amenity spaces are the last remaining public spaces in the city and are deemed reservations which cannot be tinkered with, and this has been ruled by a landmark Supreme Court judgment.”

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: August 21, 2021 9:24:42 am
Citizens' organisations approach HC to oppose PMC move to lease out amenity spacesThe PMC has cited reasons such as lack of revenue due to the pandemic.

Eight NGOs and residents’ associations have moved the Bombay High Court to oppose the Pune Municipal Corporation’s decision to lease the land plots meant for public amenity spaces to private entities.

The Kharadi Residents Association, Baner Pashan Link Road Welfare Trust, Pune District Co-operative Housing Societies Federation Ltd, National Society for Clean Cities – Pune, Pashan Area Sabha, Bavdhan Citizens forum, Aundh Vikas Mandal and Association of Nagar Road Citizens Forum have joined hands to oppose the PMC move.

The petitioners stated that “amenity spaces are the last remaining public spaces in the city and are deemed reservations which cannot be tinkered with, and this has been ruled by a landmark Supreme Court judgment.”

While the PMC has cited reasons such as lack of revenue due to the pandemic, the petitioners said, “These are only false excuses to hand over prime real estate to private entities.”

They said the documents received under RTI prove that the PMC has been pursuing this idea since March 2019, when there was no pandemic.

“Citizens have a simple demand, that our public amenity lands should remain with PMC and PMC needs to fulfil its constitutional responsibility by developing the amenity spaces themselves as per requirement and demands of the citizens. The city is currently facing serious problems due to issues related to garbage, healthcare, air pollution…,” the petitioners said, adding that the PMC is trying to lease the amenity spaces to private entities instead of addressing these critical issues by using amenity spaces for creation of public infrastructure.

“Public amenities can be developed with Corporate Social Responsibility participation, even public groups will be interested in developing amenities for their areas. All this can be done without leasing public land to a third party. We oppose any proposal of transfer of amenity space … by means of lease or sale to any party and demand immediate scrapping of such proposal,” said petitioners.

These land plots are reserved exclusively for public amenities such as roads, streets, open spaces, parks and recreational grounds, among others.

Petitioners said, “The PMC cannot wash its hands off its responsibility to develop amenity spaces meant for maintaining and improving the quality of life in Pune. Elected representatives should understand that the residents of Pune are watching all the developments closely. The PMC has declared record collection of property tax this year. Lack of funds cannot be an excuse for not developing amenity spaces. Protecting such land from encroachment is also a statutory responsibility of PMC.”

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