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Pimpri-Chinchwad flares up over move to merge PCNTDA with PMRDA, activists, politicians launch protest

The activists said under the banner of Nagrik Haqq Surakashi Samiti, they have decided to bring together all social and political organisations and launch the agitation as "Amhi Pimpri-Chinchwadkar”.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
May 8, 2021 3:15:53 pm
The ruling party, BJP in Pimpri-Chinchwad, has also strongly opposed the merger. (File Photo)

With the state cabinet on Wednesday giving the final nod for merger of PCNTDA or Pradhikaran with PCMC and PMRDA, social and voluntary organisations as well as political parties have voiced strong opposition to the decision to merge some parts of PCNTDA with PMRDA. They have decided to bring all the groups under the banner of “Amhi Pimpri-Chinchwadkar” and launch an agitation. In fact, the ruling BJP in PCMC has conveyed its strong opposition to the government to any idea of merging parts of PCNTDA with Pimpri-Chinchwad and PMRDA.

“We are strongly opposed to any move to merge PCNTDA areas with PMRDA. If the government does not take back its decision, we will be forced to hit the streets. Even otherwise, we are launching an agitation against the move,” activists Maruti Bhapkar and Manav Kamble said. The activists have sent a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis opposing the merger decision.

The activists said under the banner of Nagrik Haqq Surakashi Samiti, they have decided to bring together all social and political organisations and launch the agitation as “Amhi Pimpri-Chinchwadkar”.

Bhapkar said the decision of the state government to merge some parts of PCNTDA with PMRDA and some with PCMC will prove detrimental to the interest of Pimpri-Chinchwad. “PCNTDA has been part of Pimpri-Chinchwad since its inception in 1972. If PNCTDA areas are merged with PMRDA, the progress of Pimpri-Chinchwad will slow down drastically,” he said.

Bhapkar said the state government has decided to merge developed areas of PCNTDA with PCMC and non-developed areas with PMRDA. “This means, thousands of acres of vacant plots will go to PMRDA and this will hit the development process being carried out in Pimpri-Chinchwad. All big projects planned by the civic body will take the hit,” he said.

Alleging that the decision has been taken in the interest of builders, Kamble said, “PCNTDA has several acres of vacant plot on which it could not take any decision vis-a-vis development. Now if these vacants plots go to PMRDA, builders will have an open field to carry out their projects. These lands were acquired from farmers at peanuts for the purpose of carrying out development projects. Now, the government intends to hand them over to builders for profiteering. This is nothing but cheating of the farming community.”

Bhapkar said PCNTDA was set up to provide affordable housing to industrial workers. “However, PCNTDA has failed in its objective over the years. Hundreds of farmers had to part with their land for setting up PCNTDA. In return, they got nothing from PCNTDA and now the government is planning to hand over their land to builders. We still hope that the wrong can be undone by handing over the entire PCNTDA land to Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation which will be in a better position to carry out all round development of the entire industrial city.”

Bhapkar said there are several issues like illegal constructions, regularisation of unauthorised structures, compensation to farmers for taking their land, free -hold property are pending. “In view of this, the government’s decision to merge developed land with PCMC and underdeveloped with PMRDA is not justifiable. If the government does reconsider its decision, it will face public backlash as all the social, voluntary and political organisations will launch an agitation,” he said.

The ruling party, BJP in Pimpri-Chinchwad, has also strongly opposed the merger. “The state government seems to have decided on the merger due to the financial constraints it is facing. PCNTDA has a lot of vacant land and crores of fixed deposits. The government seems to be eyeing this booty. The decision to merge vacant plots with PMRDA and developed areas with PCMC for maintenance purpose is not appropriate. PCMC should get top priority. Entire PCNTDA should be merged with PCMC. If this is not done, Pimpri-Chinchwad’s progress will crawl. All ambitious projects launched by PCMC will be affected severely,” said BJP Pimpri-Chinchwad president and MLA Mahesh Landge.

Another BJP MLA Laxman Jagtap said, “For months now. I have been opposing the idea of merging PCNTDA and PMRDA. In fact, I had opposed the move during the budget session of the state legislature. As per my information, PCNTDA has Rs 700 crore deposits and 2000 hectare land. Their total worth is Rs 20,000 crore. The state has an eye on this wealth. The government has taken this decision without taking the local representatives and the people into confidence. We also suspect that the move is intended to benefit the builder community.”

When contacted, PCNTDA CEO Bansi Gawli said,”The state cabinet has approved the decision of merger. Now, we are waiting for the official notification…Once it happens, we will come to know which area is going to PCMC and which one to PMRDA.”

As for the fixed deposits and total vacant plots, Gawli said, “We will soon let you know about it.” He however said PCNTDA has around 1800 acquired land with it. He said he was also not sure about the number of illegal structures on PCNTDA’s terrain. A senior official said there are thousands of illegal structures about which there was no clarity.

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