The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) and the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA), both have expressed interest to take over the Pimpri-Chinchwad New Township Development Authority (PCNTDA), better known as ‘Pradhikaran’. PCMC and PMRDA officials discussed the issue with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai recently. “Yes, the issue of merger of PCNTDA with PMRDA or PCMC was discussed with Fadnavis. A final decision is yet to be taken,” said PCMC chief Shravan Hardikar.
He said that a few years back, the civic body had conveyed its keenness to the state government to merge PCNTDA with PCMC. “The issue was discussed again. It was suggested that PMRDA take over the assets of PCNTDA while PCMC remain the planning authority,” Hardikar said. But Mayor Nitin Kalje wants PCNTDA merged with PCMC. “PNCTDA is within the boundaries of PCMC and, therefore, it is logical that it is merged with the civic body,” he said.
PMRDA CEO Kiran Gitte said it wants to use the PCNTDA building to tide over a space shortage. “The discussion (at the meeting) then veered to whether PCNTDA should be merged with PCMC or PMRDA. The chief minister said a decision will be taken soon,” he said. Gitte, however, said that under law, two ‘Pradhikarans’ cannot exist in one territory. “It happened with the Lavasa authority, which had to be dissolved…,” he said.
Critics say PCNTDA should fold up as it has failed to live up to the expectations of the working class. Yashwant Bhosale, president of the Rashtriya Shramik Aghadi, said PCNTDA was set up in 1972 to provide affordable housing to the working and middle class. He, however, said the ‘Pradhikaran’ area was now crowded by highrises and upper class people. “Where is space for the working or middle class? The ‘Pradhikaran’ played into the hands of builders and land sharks,” he alleged. Bhosale said the ‘Pradhikaran’ even failed to stop illegal constructions, which, he added, had mushroomed over the years.
Activist Rajendra Verma said the problem lay in overlapping authorities. “For instance, it is supposed to develop parts of Bhosari, parts of Thergaon, parts of Wakad, parts of Walherkarwadi… And the remaining parts are to be developed by PCMC. So, there is overlapping of authority and confusion regarding who is to develop which part,” he said.
Refuting allegations that the ‘Pradhikaran’ had failed to live up to expectations, PCNTDA said it tries its best to provide houses to the low-income group and middle class. “Of the 4,500-acre area under our control, we have developed close to 3,700 acres. We have sold at least 12,500 houses at affordable rates through a lottery system. Besides, we have also sold 5,500 fully developed plots over the years,” said PCNTDA CEO Satish Khadke. Besides, Khadke said they had built five flyovers and several wide roads. “The prime example among wide roads is the Spine Road, which is one of its kind in Pimpri-Chinchwad. Besides, there are several wide roads in ‘Pradhikaran’-controlled areas,” he said.
Rubbishing the charge that PCNTDA houses were beyond the reach of the common man, Khadke said they were planning to construct 8,500 affordable houses in the next two-three years. “The rates of these houses will be within the reach of the economically weaker section and low-income groups,” he said. On illegal constructions, Khadke said the structures came up before PCNTDA. “There are 25,000 illegal constructions and we are continuously taking action against them,” he said.
Khadke said PCNTDA continue to be the favourite destination for those seeking flats in Pimpri-Chinchwad. “This can be gauged from the fact that when we decided to auction 25 old flats, we received an overwhelming response from as many as 6,000 buyers,” he said.