Protests to demand end to PMC demolition drive

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is facing strong opposition from corporators in the areas where their demolishing drive on illegal structure has been ongoing for the past four days. Corporators and residents from Taljai-Dhankawadi held a morcha and landed up at PMC’s main building at Shivajinagar yesterday. Elected representatives from Wadgaon Sheri have planned a ‘Rasta Roko’ on Ahmadnagar Road today morning. On the fourth day of its drive, PMC pulled down four illegal structures at Wadgaon Sheri and Pashan.

Shattered dreams: A woman looks on after her house was demolished yesterday; a building in Someshwarwadi at Pashan being pulled down. PicsKrunal Gosavi

Sachin Bhagat a Shiv Sena corporator at Wadgaon Sheri will be joining BJP elected member Yogesh Mulik in conducting ‘rasta roko’ agitation near Tata Garden on Ahmadnagar road.

“We are all protesting over the way PMC has been conducting its demolition drive against poor people. So far, over 150 residents are expected to receive notices as PMC conducted a survey and took the names and photographs of these people. These people had constructed small houses on just one gunta of land and it is possible to regularise these homes,” said Bhagat.

Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) corporator Subhash Jagtap had conducted a morcha at PMC main building on Wednesday. He urged Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak to regularize those constructions by charging a fine instead of razing them.

“This is no longer a ‘water scarcity zone’ and people can construct by getting 0.33 FSI benefit legally. In addition, we are not against the demolition drive,” he said.

So far, only 14 structures had been razed at Taljai-Dhankawadi plateau and the drive has moved to other areas and eight more illegal structures remain to face the axe.

“We are covering each and every area and not a single structure will be spared by our anti-encroachment cell,” said Vivek Kharwadkar, additional city engineer, Building and Permission, PMC.

According to Sudhir Kadam, executive engineer, Building and Permission, PMC, one structure at Wadgaon Sheri and three at Pashan in Someshwar Wadi were razed. “We have also pulled down two big sheds near Chatushrungi hill,” he said. 

Building razed prematurely?
Kumar Shirke, owner of a structure at Someshwar Wadi at Pashan, who received notice from PMC, claims that his building was not given the 24 hours to comply and was razed 14 hours after notice was issued.

He said that he got the notice at 7 pm on Wednesday and the authority demolished two floors of his building at 9 am yesterday.

“Our structure was razed in 14 hours despite the minimum 24-hour notice period as per the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation Act,” Shirke said.
PMC’s Executive Engineer Sudhir Kadam said that he would look into the matter when questioned.  

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