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Politicians, activists differ on number of illegal structures set up by builders

The PCMC administration denied that the government’s move is aimed at favouring builders.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: March 16, 2016 12:10:29 am
illegal structures, pune illegal structures, PCMC, MNS, Raj Thackeray, pune news PMC

WHILE MNS chief Raj Thackeray and former chief minister Prith-viraj Chavan have criticised the state government’s decision to regularise illegal constructions calling it a move in the interest of builders, the PCMC too seems to be in denial vis-a-vis builders benefitting from the move.

The PCMC administration denied that the government’s move is aimed at favouring builders. Officials said only two per cent of the 66,000 illegal structures belong to builders, but quickly withdrew the statement. Municipal Commissioner Rajeev Jadhav said he would only speak after getting details about the decision.

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In fact, the PCMC does not even have the figures of reserved land grabbed by builders to set up residential or commercial buildings. PCMC has demolished nearly 1,500 structures in the last four years. But officials said they do not have the break-up of structures belonging to builders and citizens flattened by them. PCMC city engineer Mahavir Kamble said the figure is being collated.

While the PCMC administration believes that only two per cent of the illegal constructions belonged to builders, BJP MLA Laxman Jagtap said at least 20 per cent of the illegal constructions were set up by builders. “Most of the 66,000 illegal structures were constructed by the common man. In fact, the figure of 66,000 submitted before the high courted related to the year 2011. The actual figure is two lakh. I don’t know why the PCMC is not putting out the actual figure,” Jagtap said, adding that Sangvi, New Sangvi and Pimpri Gurav have 40,000 illegal structures set up residents.

Concuring with this view, another BJP leader Eknath Pawar, former president of the BJP unit, said the figure of illegal structures carried out by the common was staggering. “It would be wrong to hold builders entirely responsible. Yes, builders have indulged in setting up illegal structures, but the figure is not as high as it is being made out to be.”

Pawar said villages which merged with PCMC in 1997 have the highest number of illegal strutuctures. “Places like Charholi or Dighi have large number of illegal structures. You will hardly find any regularised structures in these areas,” he said.

Maruti Bhapkar of the Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj Abhiyan too said there could be 5 to 10 per cent illegal structures of builders. “But we want action against builders who set up illegal floors and sold them to residents. In such cases, the residents should not be fined. The builders should be fined heavily, police cases filed against them and they should be blacklisted,” Bhapkar said.

Civil activists have a different take on the whole issue. “It is difficult to believe that builders have set up the least number of illegal structures in Pimpri-Chinchwad. The way areas of Pimple Gurav, Pimple Saudagar, Wakad, Rahatni and Thergaon have transformed with amazing speed, you can sense something fishy here. There needs to be a thorough probe,” said activist Shridhar Chalkha.

Bhapkar said builders closely associated with politicians had a free run in Pimpri-Chinchwad. “If we look at the building projects that have come up in quick time, it shows how builders have been the favourites of PCMC. Why and how, it needs to be found out in the larger interest,” he said.

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