The Maharashtra government has decided to nearly double the size of the Pune urban agglomeration, making it the state’s largest, over 30 per cent more in area than the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
The decision has been taken to to contain the haphazard growth of Pune city’s fringe areas.
In a notification dated December 4, the state urban development department has extended the area under the jurisdiction of the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA), which was constituted earlier this year, to 6,616.79 square kilometres from the existing 3,300.98 sq km.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region, which comes under the jurisdiction of a similar development authority in the financial capital, has an area of 4,354.5 square kilometres.
The Nagpur Metro Area, under the Nagpur Improvement Trust, is spread over 3,567 square kilometres. An urban agglomeration is a continuous urban spread comprising a town or a city and its adjoining growth areas and is a useful demarcation for systematic urban development.
“The Pune district begins about 100 kilometres from Mumbai, making it the second most important city in Maharashtra. There has been rapid development in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad beyond their limits in a disorderly manner, with sectors such as industries, education, agriculture attracting a lot of investments in the region. Planned development in this region could have been possible if the PMRDA had been established at least 15-20 years ago,” a senior urban development official said.
The state government paved the way for the PMRDA’s formation in March this year, 39 years after it was first mooted.
Areas around Pune such as Maval and Mulshi are starting to see similar rapid growth with several housing projects and tourism destinations coming up. “If we don’t include these areas under the PMRDA’s jurisdiction now, these will also see the same kind of wayward growth that has taken place in Pune over the last 15-20 years,” the official added.
The original Pune urban agglomeration comprised the municipal corporations of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad, and three municipal councils. Overall, the PMRDA had 438 villages under its jurisdiction with a total population of 1.01 crore.
The state government has now decided to bring four additional municipal councils and two Panchayat Samitis under PMRDA’s jurisdiction, doubling the number of villages under the authority to 857. These four additional municipal councils are of Saswad, Shirur, Chakan and Rajgurunagar, and Panchayat Samitis of Velhe and Purandar talukas.
The addition will take the population of the urban agglomeration to 1.09 crore.
PMRDA chief Mahesh Zagade said, “We intend to undertake an economic development plan for the entire region, demarcate growth centres by identifying particular sectors that can drive economic growth in particular areas. The plan is to develop and market the Pune urban agglomeration as an international premium investment destination.”
Zagade said the PMRDA was waiting for the boundaries of the metropolitan region to be finalised before beginning to draw plans.”We will now begin work on an existing land-use survey and a development plan so that we can plan infrastructure in the region based on the maximum estimated population growth,” he added.