A bio diversity park (BDP) planned for Wadgaon Budruk has raised hackles amongst the locals, as several houses will have to be demolished for the development of the project. In fact, 300 women from the area have threatened self-immolation if PMC does not back down. Villagers plan to hold a protest at PMC’s office today.
“I had taken a loan for my house. The dwelling is ready, but according to PMC’s plans it will be demolished. Where will a poor person like me go? The corporation and the government are not letting us live happily. What’s the point then? I prefer immolation than seeing my house being pulled down,” said Yamuna Mahadik (72).
“The park will make us homeless,” remarked Sunanda Digambar Sakhare (43), adding, “I spent my savings to construct my residence, and now there’ll be nothing there. My family will have no roof. There is no point in living in such wretched conditions,” she said. Chandrabhaga Haribhau Kangale, Madhuri Mukund Navathe and Vandana Mahajan are others MiD Day spoke to who have decided to join the agitation against PMC. Most of the villagers live in misery; some work as class IV government employees or maids in nearby establishments.
The issue is grave, as nearly one lakh of people and about 10,000 houses in Wadgaon Budruk will be affected by the BDP. Local Youth Congress president Haridas Charwad has opposed the move and conducted a huge Rasta Roko at Dhayari junction on Sinhagad Road on February 7. Not surprising, since his own house is also in danger. “Due to lack of coordination in the government itself, we have been put in this situation. Our village was set up by the order of the district collector in 1935. Now, we have no option but to take a morcha to PMC. Over 3,000 villagers are joining the demonstration and we will be submitting our memorandum to municipal commissioner Mahesh Pathak and city engineer Prashant Waghmare,” said Charwad.
“The order was passed by the urban development department and it will take time to enforce the BDP reservation,” informed Waghmare. Avinash Patil, deputy director, town planning department, said, “BDP reservation implementation is a legal procedure and villagers from Wadgaon Budruk can raise objections when the hearing on the issue will be conducted. I am the authority to conduct such hearings in Pune, which may be held in the next 3 to 4 months.”