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PCMC to demolish 25,000 illegal structures at Pimpri-Chinchwad,locals scramble to save properties

Politicians plan meets with chief minister,deputy chief minister to get structures regularised

Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune |
October 10, 2013 3:32:34 am

The BOMBAY High Court’s order to the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation to demolish all illegal structures has set citizens and the politicians in the industrial town aflutter. With Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar throwing his hands up and the PCMC preparing to demolish the illegal structures,the general feeling is that Pimpri-Chinchwad may well witness a law and order problem in the coming days.

Hearing a petition on Friday,an HC bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud observed that there was an “alarming state of affairs” in connection with illegal structures in the jurisdiction of PCMC and corrective measures should be undertaken forthwith. The civic body informed the court that out of thousands of illegal structures,it has demolished around 400 structures that came up after March 2012 and for the rest,the corporation had submitted a proposal to the state to regularise them.

The petition,filed by Jaishree Dange,alleged that a portion of New Millennium School in Sangvi was built illegally on the Pavana riverbed. A garage and a restaurant were also built adjacent to the school. These structures caused pollution in Pavana river,which was a source of drinking water.

The civic body,in an RTI reply,had admitted that a portion of the school was illegal.

On Saturday,the PCMC quickly reacted that it would go ahead with demolishing the illegal structures after it receives the High Court order. “The drive against illegal structures set up before March 31,2012 will take some time to start. After receiving the HC order,we will have to carefully go through it. We need to identify the properties and do panchanamas. All this will need some time…we are going ahead with the drive,” he said.

This has set alarming bells ringing among citizens who had set up illegal structures before March 31,2012. Many of them are running to politicians they know in the hope of saving their structures. Politicians across party lines themselves seem worried and have started making plans to meet Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar to seek their intervention for regularising the illegal structures.

“It is now time that all party leaders in Pimpri-Chinchwad join hands and seek the intervention of the CM and Deputy CM to resolve the issue. All of us,whether belonging to NCP,Congress,BJP,Shiv Sena,MNS or RPI,should forget our differences to find a solution to this huge problem,otherwise the situation might get worse if the PCMC goes ahead with demolition of illegal structures,” said Azam Pansare,former president of Pimpri-Chinchwad NCP.

Former mayor R S Kumar too said leaders from all political parties should come together in the interest of the citizens. BJP Pimpri-Chinchwad president Sadashiv Khade said if the state government does not intervene and take a positive decision,public anger might create a law and order problem in the industrial town.

“The chief minister and the deputy chief minister have not looked into this problem seriously. The PCMC also failed to effectively place its arguments before the court,” Khade said.

Opposition leader Vinod Nade said soon a meeting will be held with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to find a solution to the raging problem. “Political parties should not try to draw mileage out of it. Since this is a court matter,it should be handled with sensitivity. All party leaders should forget their differences and jointly make efforts to resolve the issue.”

Manav Kamble,convenor of Nagari Haqq Suraksha Samiti,said the high court order has cause a “scare” among citizens who are worried about their future. He alleged that the NCP and the PCMC administration are deliberately playing with the lives of the citizens. “The high court judgement was supposed to be limited to one particular illegal construction. However,PCMC deliberately placed the details about other illegal constructions which inflamed the court which then passed the order to demolish them,” said Kamble.

Echoing the sentiments,Shiv Sena leader Shrirang Barne said the PCMC officials are to be blamed for the entire fiasco. “There was no need for PCMC to rush before the high court with detailed information about the illegal structures before March 31,2012. It seems the high court had not even demanded that. The court was dealing with one illegal construction. We suspect the PCMC administration did what it did out of some ego problem,” said Barne.

Demanding action against “errant” PCMC officials,Barne said an immediate solution in the form of regularising the illegal structures by the state government like done in Ulhasnagar would effectively end the matter,otherwise Pimpri-Chinchwad is in for a hard time.

“The peaceful city of Pimpri-Chinchwad will not remain so if PCMC goes hammer and tongs against illegal structures,” added Barne.

Maruti Bhapkar of Aam Aadmi Party blamed it on the ego hassle between the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister. “Both want to take credit for resolving the issue. So both of them are keeping the matter hanging. It seems they want public anger to resonate in entire Maharashtra and only then will they intervene and show their so-called leadership quality and thereby seek credit for resolving the issue. This is nothing but political short-sightedness which is neither in public interest nor in the interest of a growing city like Pimpri-Chinchwad,” Bhapkar said.

The AAP said illegal constructions are there in the jurisdiction of all municipal councils and corporations. “It is only in Pimpri-Chinchwad,they are making noise. Even in neighbouring Pune,nothing is happening as was proved in the case of Taljai hills. Though 11 people died in Taljai area,the illegal constructions are back with PMC doing little about them,” Bhapkar said.

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