AHEAD OF the next year’s civic elections, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation seems to be leaving no stone unturned to convert the ward of NCP House leader Mangala Kadam into a “model ward”. In a latest move, which has created a stir among corporators, the PCMC has decided to make a special provision of Rs 6.50 crore for installing streetlights in the “model ward”, leading to a steep difference in the cost of streetlights installed in other 128 wards.
The Sambhajinagar-Shahunagar ward of Mangala Kadam was picked for PCMC’s “model ward” plan last year. Along with it, two other wards from Sangvi were also picked. All the three were wards from where NCP corporators were elected.
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Nearly Rs 15 crore has been reserved for setting up various projects in the “model ward”. Earlier, this week, the civic standing committee approved Rs 6.50 crore for installing streetlights across the ward. As a result, over 400 existing lights poles would be uprooted and dumped. “The old streetlights would be replaced by latest versions of decorative streets lights,” said PCMC executive engineer Pravin Ghode.
Civic officials said the decorated LED poles would be of different quality and cost than the light poles installed in other wards. “The LED decorative poles would be a visual treat. From 12 midnight to 5 am, it would operate on low voltage and would be cost-effective,” said Ghode.
However, the cost of purchasing each street pole is set to dent a huge hole in the PCMC pockets. Each street light is going to cost around Rs 24,000 more than those installed in other wards. “Over 400 new streets lights are being installed. One can imagine the amount that would be spent on installing lights in this particular ward while ignoring other wards. There are nearly 20 villages that were merged with PCMC over 20 years back. They do not even have the basic facility of proper street lights. In such a situation, it is improper on the part of PCMC to put in so much money on one particular ward,” said BJP corporator Seema Savle.
Corporator Mangala Kadam, who is NCP’s House leader and also former mayor, said the street lights are being replaced as all the poles have become old and most of them are non-functional. Ghode, however, said the amount of Rs 6.50 crore was reserved for both streets lights and related MSEDCL light work. When contacted, Municipal Commissioner Rajeev Jadhav said, “Since the ward has been selected as model ward, we are doing everything possible to make it look like a model ward.” Jadhav said they have not decided the fate of the other two model wards. “Till this one is complete, we can’t say anything about the other two wards,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sambhajinagar-Shahunagar ward is also witnessing “special colour-combination” when it comes to roads, footpath and trees. “We have appointed architects and consultants to specially look into this colour combination concept,” said Kadam.
Kadam said in the last three years, nothing much has happened in the ward. “Only in the past few months, the pace of development work has picked up. We are going to set up a computer hall, renovate gyms and get the long-pending swimming pool work started,” she said. Kadam said the sewage water will soon be recycled in several homes of the ward. We are setting up a project wherein the sewage water will be recycled and provided to residences for use in gardens and toilets,” she said.
BJP leader Sarang Kamtekar said injustice is being done by PCMC to other underdeveloped wards by favouring one ward. “Once, we get the papers of the proposal passed by the standing committee for streetlights, we will take up the issue with the civic administration,” he said.