Corporators raise stink over public loos in parking lot
PMC encroaches on its own land by building toilets on plot reserved for parking; also turns blind eye to private garage owners conducting business from the spot
Even as parking space in the city becomes scarce by the day, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) seems to be doing precious little by allowing encroachments in one of its own designated parking lots.
Flouting own rules: The garages and a toilet built by the civic body
have come up on the reserved parking lot, located next to the PMC
office. pic/Krunal Gosavi
Located right besides the PMC office, the parking lot is home to illegal garages and a public toilet. The toilet was built by the PMC itself. The issue was raised in the General Body (GB) where corporators slammed the PMC officials concerned for their laxity in the issue. The 20, 000 sq ft parking was officially reserved about five months ago, and the toilet was built in early July. The parking lot can accommodate about more than 40 mid-sized vehicles and also has space reserved for parking of two-wheelers in one corner. The issue assumes significance in the light of the fact that more than 300 vehicles are added to city roads every month by means of registration with the Regional Transport Office (RTO).
Taking up space: Some four to five garages are operating at the 20,000
sq ft parking lot built by the PMC; the civic body itself has added to the
encroachment by building public toilets on it. pic/Krunal Gosavi
The four to five garages came up immediately and reportedly belong to the original landowners. A PMC official requesting anonymity said the owners of the garage are involved in a dispute with the PMC over awarding the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR). Asked about the toilet, the official said it was built for protestors on hunger strike who often assemble in front of the office. The parking lot was built for outside vehicles visiting the office and to save space in the other two parking spaces in the two entrances. The later are to be reserved for PMC officials, corporators and journalists. When MiD DAY visited the spot, four garages were found functioning namely, Taple Motors, JK Auto, Sudarshan Battery and New Poona Motors.
Deputy Commissioner and Chief Encroachment Officer Ramesh Shelar refused to give clear answers when asked about the issue. "The land is with the Land Department (LD) so please check with them," he said.
When asked if his department received any communication from the LD for removing the encroachments, Shelar replied in the negative.
Shiv Sena corporator Shyam Deshpande said the authority has to answer about a toilet being built on the space exclusively reserved for parking. "The PMC has to come out clean and explain the rationale behind the decision as parking will soon snowball into a serious infrastructural issue in the city," he said. Both Deshpande and independent corporator Ujjwal Keskar slammed the body for not being able to resolve issues with the contractor at the earliest.
Vehicles registered in the city so far
Acres of land are required as parking space for these many vehicles
Approximate number of registrations every month
Amount for fire security unused
About Rs 85 lakh meant for fire security in the main building has also been lying unused. On Tuesday last week, a Maruti Omini caught fire around 4 pm because of a suspected fuel leakage. The allocation was made in the year 2010-11 budget. The plan included advanced fire detectors and extinguishers inside the PMC main building and water sprinklers for the parking lots. Some of the money was also to be used for building underground pipelines and other civil works for disaster management. Chief Fire Officer Prashant Ranpise admitted that the funds were unused but attributed the delay to the independent consultant who failed to turn up. "We are trying to find an expert consultant in the field and commence the project at the earliest. More money may also be allotted in the next year's budgetary provision," he said.