February 20, 2009 1:27:10 am
METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY: Coming soon,an entity that will regulate growth across Pune region
The state cabinet has cleared the decks for setting up a Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA),a longstanding demand for the integrated development of region that has till now been the recipient of piecemeal development given the presence of too many administrative power centres.
The state government has approved the required amendment in the Maharashtra Region Town Planning (MRTP) Act,1966,to constitute an area development authority, said principal secretary (urban development) T C Benjamin.
The government would soon come out with an ordinance,he said,adding this would enable getting the PMRDA off the ground.
The PMRDA would ensure integrated development of the area under two municipal corporations Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad and three cantonment boards Pune,Khadki and Dehu Road besides a number of municipal councils. The cabinet also vested the chief minister with powers to appoint a chairman for the PMRDA.
In the first meeting of the 45-member Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) in January,Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had asked the urban development department to prepare a note on the amendment.
The Indian Express,in a 14-part series in August 2006,had highlighted the pressing need for a PMRDA to ensure speedy and integrated development of the region.
The cabinet also decided to amend the British-era MRTP Act for implementing town planning schemes on the lines of what the Gujarat government has done.
The MRTP Act,existing from 1915,had become meaningless as far as implementation of town planning schemes in the state was concerned. The state government had sanctioned only 93 schemes so far. The Gujarat government made relevant amendments for effective implementation of town planning schemes and have since approved 300 plans, Benjamin said.
It was these amendments that enabled the Gujarat government to build the 72-km ring road in Ahmedabad,he said. Similar projects could now be implemented in the state,he said.
Town planning schemes so far were being implemented only in the area under the development plan (DP),which is entirely urban. The amendment would ensure development of fringe areas and help avoid haphazard development outside city limits,Benjamin said.
In Pune the last DP,with a 10-year tenure,was passed in 1987 and many projects in the region have remained on paper for 12 years in the absence of this vital plan. The approval of the DP is a time-consuming process that involves a preliminary notification,arbitration,seeking of objections and suggestions,and a final notification.
A timeframe of three-and-a-half years has been decided to approve the DP as it was at taking up to 15 years, Benjamin said. Also,the authorities used to drag their feet over acquisition of land reserved for public amenities. Now,the land will be automatically transferred to the authority concerned,only a year after the DP gets approved,he said.
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