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HC flak for civic body baffles officials,activists

Despite seven threats to his life in the last one year,filing of 2,400 FIRs against citizens for wrongdoings and constant pressure from the high and mighty,Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi has refused to be cowed in his endeavour to demolish illegal constructions one after another across the industrial town. But PCMC’s “fearless action” has drawn no […]

Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune |
October 10, 2013 3:36:26 am

Despite seven threats to his life in the last one year,filing of 2,400 FIRs against citizens for wrongdoings and constant pressure from the high and mighty,Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi has refused to be cowed in his endeavour to demolish illegal constructions one after another across the industrial town.

But PCMC’s “fearless action” has drawn no praise from the Bombay High Court – a development that has unnerved the Pardeshi-led civic administration. In fact,the high court pulled up PCMC for it what described as the “alarming” situation in the jurisdiction of the civic body. The judges said that instead of taking action against illegal structures,the corporation,in most cases,had proposed to the state to regularise them. This was indeed shocking and would only encourage illegal structures to come up in the town,the court said.

The commissioner said he was,like his other civic officials,taken aback by the criticism. “We have demolished hundreds of illegal structures across the town in the last one year without any fear or favour. This kind of action has never happened in the history of Pimpri-Chinchwad,” he said.

Pardeshi said at the next hearing in the high court,his administration will place the “appropriate facts” before it.

“We will draw the high court’s attention on the unrelenting action that we have taken against illegal structures. We have not spared any construction even if it belonged to any prominent personality. We are sure the court will consider our facts,” he said.

Civic officials said in last one year or so,action has been taken against around 400 structures. “We are counting one building as one structure though it might be housing anything from 10 to 100 flats or shops. If we count each flat or shop as one structure,the figure of illegal structures that have demolished been could run into thousands,” said officials. Also,FIRs against as many as 2,400 citizens have been filed for setting up illegal constructions have been filed,they said.

This kind of action,said former corporator Babu Nair,has not taken place in Pimpri-Chinchwad in the last 30 years. “During Dilip Band’s time,structures along the Pune-Mumbai and Pune-Nashik highways were demolished. But this is the first time that illegal structures in every nook and corner of the town are being demolished and with regularity. It was surprising that PCMC still drew criticism. I think this must have happened because PCMC did not place proper facts before the court,” he said.

Civic activists Shridhar Chalkha,Lahu Landge and Sachin Godambe agrred,saying that despite doing a good job,the PCMC had been criticised.

“We feel sad that the tremendous good work that Shrikar Pardeshi and his team has been doing has not been acknowledged. In fact,the state government should come forward and make a statement regarding the massive drive against illegal constructions that is happening in Pimpri-Chinchwad and nowhere else in the state,” the activists said in a statement.

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