The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), which was supposed to enforce the Bio Diversity Parks (BDP) project on 978.54 hectares of land in the city, including 23 villages, appears to be keeping mum on the 75 excluded properties (EP) on the 74 hectares of its land.
These 74 hectares is 7.5 per cent of the total area of the BDP and the list may several projects such as educational institutes, religious places, constructions belonging to political bigwigs, PMC’s owned properties and residential areas.
Chief Minister Pritviraj Chavan had recently approved the proposal to reserve land in 23 villages for the BDP project, and had placed the onus on the civic body to enforce it. Chavan also made a special mention of 44 hectares of land for Committed Development (CP), in which old structures would be excluded.
Additional Municipal Commissioner (Road) Vivek Kharwadkar said, “We have information about these EPs that are coming under committed development. Now, the government has to decide how many of these EPs are useful for the future. All these EPs had received the district collector’s NA (Non-Agricultural land) certification. There could be some educational institutes in the list, but I can’t say anything about them at the moment. EPs in the BDP region are large and small. The Urban Development Department is presently scrutinising the entire list of 75 EPs in the BDP reserved zones. We are expecting an order or notification from the state government soon.”
Deputy City Engineer for DP Cell Rajendra Raut said, “We had identified 75 EPs with 73 layouts of the area five years ago and had sent the list to the state when the plans for constructing the BDP for the city were being made in 2006. The properties are located in the entire city, with Baner, Bavdhan, Kothrud, Kondhawa, Mohammadwadi, Hadapsar, Katraj and Ambegaon, as the BDP reservations are on the hills and hill slopes.”
Activist cry foul
RTI activist and President of Surajjya Sangharsha Samiti Vijay Kumbhar said, “Those who have occupied the 75 properties on prime locations are mostly politically connected. Even getting the NA from the district collector’s office is part of their move.
These people were aware about the possibility of surrendering their lands and properties for the BDP. This area is about eight per cent of the total BDP, and the PMC and the state should first define what ‘committed development’ in BDP zone means.”
Former PMC corporator and founder of political forum Pune, Janhit Aghadi Ujjwal Keskar, said, “Earlier, I had objected the construction of an agricultural institute owned by Pratik Patil on Survey No 33, which fell in the BDP zone. While only 10 to 12 builders will benefit from these 74 hectares, I think that the real beneficiary of the EPs will be the common man, as many of them have purchased lands in the area to build their dream houses.”
Buildings razed in BDP zone
The PMC has intensified its demolition drive at Ambegaon plateau after the collapse of Somnath Building at Taljai hills in which 12 construction labourers lost their lives. The drive was continued in Katraj, Hadapsar, Mohammadwadi, Kothrud, Kondhwa and Baner, as these areas fall in the BDP zone.