Although residents of Vadgaon Budruk have welcomed the move by the state government to leave out all houses from demolition that have been constructed before 2005, villagers feel that the interpretation of the notification is still clouded. Residents say that the notification does not clearly specify if their village is excluded, which puts them at a risk of losing their households, as their entire village has been declared a Bio Diversity Park reservation.
The state’s urban development department issued a notification on February 28, stating that houses built before 2005 won’t be demolished. To clear the air about the notice, aggrieved villagers have decided to take their concerns to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. They have scheduled a meeting with
the CM at the Mantralaya on March 8.
Local youth Congress president Haridas Charwad, who took out a rally 10 days ago and also blocked Sinhagad Road during the protest, said, “Although 95 per cent of the houses in our village have been built before 2005, I can’t celebrate. In fact, our position is still on tenterhooks, as the notification does not specify our area in the village.
We, the villagers, need to clarify the matter by discussing it with the CM at the earliest. Ours is a 83-year-old village and the then district collector had given the village a written permission for housing.”
Abhay Chhajed, city chief of Congress, said, “We need to study the notification first and then decide whether Wadgaon Budruk is really safe or not from the BDP reservation. After all, it is a question of 10,000 houses in a village. Where will they go?”
Giving credence to the villagers’ fears, Avinash Patil, deputy director, Town Planning, Pune, said, “Omitting the 10,000 houses from BDP reservation is out of question. Presently, it seems that there is no direct connection with the government resolution. Wadgaon Budruk matter is an all together different issue.”
RTI activist Sudhir Kaka Kulkarni, however, remarked that there was a ray of hope for the villagers. He said, “The state government has made a grave mistake and it can be rectified by raising objections and suggestions during the hearings on the Development Plan. In fact, the civic body is already ready to change the BDP reservation for their village.”
PMC Commissioner Mahesh Pathak said, “This is ultimately an issue related to the state government and let the decision about the BDP reservation be taken by the government.”