Opposition to the merger of 28 fringe villages into city limits is gaining ground with some 300 odd farmers from these villages now unanimously demanding a separate municipal corporation for these villages.
Their main concern is the fear of unauthorised reservations that will be implemented by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) after the merger.
“We don’t want PMC,” they said in unison. In protest against the intended amalgamation, farmers from 17 villages, under the banner ‘Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS)’ are planning an agitation at the district collectors’ office on November 20.
Farmers from 17 villages — Dhayri, Manjari, Phursungi, Holkarwadi, Devachi Urali, Autadewadi, Undri, Pisoli, Ambegaon, Narhe, Kirkitwadi, Dhairi, Khadakwasala, Kopre, Kondhawe, Sus, Bavdhan and Mahalunge — collectively took the decision to protest.
Over 300 farmers gathered at Manjri village at the premises of Krishi Utpanna Bajar Samiti yesterday. Mauli Tupe and many farmers from the bordering villages addressed the meeting. BKS has also formed a special committee to decide the future line of action of the protest.
While speaking to MiD DAY, Tupe stated that with the consent of all 300 farmers present at the BKS meeting, they reached an agreement for the demand of a separate municipal corporation for all these villages.
“We want autonomy with required funds and a time-bound planning for these fringe villages. The government should also set guidelines to facilitate the procedure. This may automatically stop many unwanted practices which are not in favour of farmers.”
Madhukar Temgire, a farmer from Sus, said, “We had successfully carried out a similar agitation in 2000, when 38 villages were declared merged in PMC limits by the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government in 1997. Our agitation compelled the government to keep 15 villages fully and six villages partly away from Pune city.”
According to Temgire, none of the villages which got merged in PMC had been getting any basic civic amenities including water supply, proper roads, garbage management and other basic development works.”
Madhukar Hagawane, farmer from Mulshi, “Our farm lands were already getting reservations and farmers could not sell their lands as per the law. We also worry about the builder lobby who are eyeing farmlands of small farmers for their selfish gains when these villages will merged in PMC,” Asha Benkar, Woman Sarpanch, Dhayari, who supported the farmer’s demands, said, “Farmers have a genuine issue. We are not depending on PMC, as we have already cemented roads and are also burning over 1.5 tonnes of garbage everyday.
The Rs 1.75 crore annual budget of our Grampanchayat gets the property tax from various housing schemes in the area. We are also building a modern electric crematorium for villagers so that they don’t have to go to Pune.”
Declaring the support to farmer’s demand, Pratibha Mate, sarpanch from Khadakwasala, said, “Farming has flourished in our area, as the irrigation department provides us enough water from the Khadakwasala dam. If our villages are merged with PMC, the farming business will certainly be affected. Presently, we are facing rampant illegal construction in our jurisdiction. If PMC is put in charge, the issue may become grave.”