June 6, 2009 4:18:03 am
Employing its brute majority in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation to a “telling effect,” the Nationalist Congress Party on Wednesday for the sixth consecutive time got an adjournment to any decision on illegal constructions of 24 corporators belonging to different political parties. Out of the 104 corporators,the NCP has the support of 67 corporators in the PCMC house.
Unlike the September 2008 general meeting when the discussion and decision was adjourned for six months,Wednesday’s meeting created a record of sorts: the civic administration’s proposal on the illegal construction was sidetracked for another one year. This means,for another one year,the issue will not come up for discussion,allowing the errant corporators a breathing space and face-saver at a time when the assembly elections are fast approaching. The Asheesh Sharma-led civic administration remained a mere spectator as the NCP had its way,full throttle.
The issue came to the fore during Dilip Band regime last year after a citizen moved an RTI application before the civic body. In reply to a query,the civic administration revealed that 24 corporators,most of whom are from NCP,had premises where illegal constructions existed. The issue was placed before the general body meeting by Band in March 2008. The GB kept adjourning the issue till September when it was kept aside for six months. And now,there will be “nothing done” for another one year.
Commissioner Sharma,who is under pressure to let the law of the land prevail,said he will now send the general body’s decision to the state government for its advice. “We will wait for the further government instructions in the matter.” Sharma said his administration is determined to pull down the structures that have come up on land reserved in the development plan. “This will have to be done as per the Bombay high court order in the Phugewadi case. But such cases are only in relation to a couple of corporators who have made constructions on reserved DP land. Most of them have built an additional floor or resorted to an illegal extension. Now since the GB has adjourned the issue,we will sent it to the state government for its opinion,” Sharma said. City engineer Eknath Ugile,whose office had the put forth the proposal,said he can do little since the GB has adjourned the issue.
Mayor Aparna Doke,who was elected on an NCP ticket,said the decision to adjourn issue was taken as majority of the corporators were in favour of it. “Some of the corporators opposed the decision. Their remarks have been put on record. But a majority were in favour of adjourning the issue for one year,” Doke said. Doke said there is an option of gunthewari for regularising the illegal structures. Municipal secretary Sharad Kale said the corporators can keep adjourning the issue till they want. “Since the general body is the highest body,it has the powers to discuss and take decision or ignore it,” he said.
Independent corporator Maruti Bhapkar said under Sections 11 and 12 of the BPMC Act,once the GB approves the proposal it will have to be sent to a court which will take a decision in the matter. “But it is clear that corporators are afraid of letting the matter go to the court as they know the judiciary is very strict in matters of illegal constructions as happened in Phugewadi case.”
At Wednesday’s general body meeting,senior NCP corporator Yogesh Behl put up a “solid” defence for the errant corporators. “They have not committed any crime,neither have they committed any sin,” Behl went on and on,much to the delight of the 24 corporators. In contrast,NCP house leader Jagdish Shetty did not utter a word. Neither did he support the corporators nor did he oppose the adjournment motion. Shiv Sena corporators Seema Savle and Sulbha Ubale demanded that instead of postponing the issue repeatedly with out any decision,it should be settled once and for all. “Send home the corporators who had erred,” Savle said. “Even those errant corporators were demanding that the issue should not be prolonged for long,” Savle said.
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