With the Maharashtra government issuing a draft notification on the merger of 23 villages with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) limits on Wednesday, Pune has become the largest city in the state, in terms of the geographical area under its civic body.
“The total area of PMC would be around 485 sq km now while the area under Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, or BMC, is around 440 sq km…,” said a civic official.
In its draft notification, the government said that the boundaries of PMC were altered by the state under the powers conferred under the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act. The government said before issuing the notification, it did consider the objections and suggestions recieved by the Pune Divisional Commissioner.
The state government had first declared its intention to include 34 villages in Pune city limits in 2014, but the process was delayed, and only 11 villages were merged in the civic limits after the intervention of the Bombay High Court. In response to the petition by villagers seeking the merger, the state government had said it would be done in phases, and completed by 2020.
The ruling BJP in PMC has also said the merger should be carried out in phases to ensure proper development of the new areas. City BJP unit chief Jagdish Mulik has even alleged that the merger of 23 villages was approved by the state government with an eye on civic polls in 2022.
Mayor Murlidhar Mohol had pointed out that the inclusion of 23 villages would put a strain on the civic administration in managing the many civic issues of the new areas. “The PMC’s estimated requirement of Rs 9,000 crore for development of basic civic facilities in these areas has to be included. We are not against the inclusion of villages, but this should be done in phases,” he had said.
City NCP chief Chetan Tupe, however, welcomed the state government’s decision, saying this move would check the haphazard development in the villages located close to the city border. “The development works should be done in a planned manner and this will be possible only when these areas become part of the PMC,” he said.
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