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From 82,000 to 27 lakh population & Rs 1-crore budget to Rs 7000 cr, Pimpri-Chinchwad completes 50 years

Ever since it came into being on March 4, 1970, the northwestern city limits of Pune has grown leaps and bounds, evident from its annual budget which has now gone beyond Rs 7,000 crore from Rs 1 crore initially.

Annasaheb Magar, council president and Dnyabeshwar Landge, vice president in 1970 when Pimpri-Chinchwad council came into being. (Express photo by Ashish Kale)

When it came into being 50 years ago on March 4, 1970, Pimpri-Chinchwad had a population of 82,000. This figure now stands at a staggering 27 lakh. The industrial city came into existence after the state government decided to merge four gram panchayats of Pimpri, Chinchwad, Bhosari and Akurdi to form the Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal council.

The four sarpanches of the four villages included: Dnyaneshwar Landge of Bhosarigaon, Bhiku Waghere-Patil of Pimprigaon, Tulshiram Kalbhor of Akurdigaon and Anantrao Gawde of Chinchwadgaon.

Annasaheb Magar, the then Haveli MLA, was appointed the council president while Landge became the first vice-president. The first election to the municipal council were held in 1978, when there were 42 wards. The likes of Motiram Pawar, Dnyaneshwar Chaube, Rajni Satav, Kishinchand Arya, Anna Wakhare, Prahlad Jadha, Vasant Wani, Chetandas Mewani, Tatya Kadam, Vithoba Lande, and Gajanan Babar were among prominent municipal councillors.

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“The elections were held on a party basis. A Janata Party-supported committee headed by Dr S S Ghare was elected to rule the council. Dr Ghare became the president,” said 81-year-old Landge, who was instrumental in setting up Pavana Sahakari Bank in 1974. The bank has branches across the industrial city.

The council existed till 1982 when the state government decided to upgrade it to the status of a municipal corporation. The PCMC, thus, came into existence on October 11, 1982.

The first civic general elections were held in 1986. Landge was elected the first mayor of Pimpri-Chinchwad. He susbequently went on to become Haveli MLA.

Walking down memory lane, Landge said, “Pimpri-Chinchwad, since its establishment 50 years ago, has grown rapidly. It is often called the most rapidly developing city in Asia. Industry-wise, no other city in Maharashtra has such a vast network of establishments.”

Babar, who was elected in 1978 as the councillor, said, “When Pimpri-Chinchwad came into existence, the PCMC did not even have its own building. It would function out of a rented property in Akurdi.”

Babar said back then, the state of roads was quite poor, the drainage system did not exist, public toilets were hard to locate and there were no overbridges. “The first bridge, if I remember correctly, was the Pimpri overbridge constructed in 1972. Now, there are bridges and flyovers across the industrial city,” Babar said.

Babar, who was later elected the Maval MP twice, said, “The Bhosari industrial belt came into existence in 1962. There were a handful of industries. The number is now more than 5,000 small, large and big industrial units.”

He further said though the decision regarding the merger of four gram panchayats was taken in 1970, the council started functioning in 1972. “Annasaheb Magar functioned as the president till 1978. He would present the budget, which was less than Rs 1 crore. After that, in 1978, N R Shinde was the CEO of the council. In 1982, when the municipal corporation came into being, Harnam Singh was the administrator. It was during Harnam Singh’s period, the famous ‘green necklace’ or green belt of Pimpri-Chinchwad took shape as he launched a massive plantation drive,” Babar added.

Babu Nair, PCMC corporator, who has closely followed the civic functioning and the growth of the city, said, “After the municipal corporation was set up in 1986, the Congress dominated the PCMC for at least three terms. It subsequently joined hands with the NCP and ruled for two terms. It was only in 2017, the BJP, for the first time, came to power in Pimpri-Chinchwad.”

Nair said the council budget was no more than a Rs 1 crore. “Pimpri-Chinchwad’s budget has now gone beyond Rs 7,000 crore, which symbolises the growth of the city,” he added.

Ulhas Jagtap, Additional Municipal Commissioner of the PCMC, said, “When Pimpri-Chinchwad came into existence, there were only four gram panchayats. The area was very small. Today, it stands on 181 sq km area. The annual civic budget was less than a crore then. Now, it is over Rs 7,000 crore.”

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