1,080 hectares to develop: PMC out of ideas
The civic body had earmarked the land to create infrastructure for education, health and recreation as part of its draft development plan for 2007-27. But since the centre's recently-passed land acquisition bill is likely to jack up prices of plots massively, the corporation has been left searching for ways to circumvent the problem
Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) would likely have to throw its development blueprint out of the window, as the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2013, ratified recently by parliament, will come into effect soon. The civic body had identified 1,080.79 hectares of land for setting up essential infrastructure for education, health and recreation in its draft development plan for 2007-27 for old city limits. However, when the new law takes over, the civic body would have to shell out about twice the current market price of the plots while obtaining them.
Experts believe if the civic body wants to avoid paying such a heavy price, it has to restore Town-planning Scheme (TPS), which has not been implemented since the first Development Plan (DP) of the city was announced in 1966.
Ujwal Keskar, former corporator and founder president of Pune Janahit Aghadi, said the civic body should adopt TPS, like Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. “This way, the corporation would not have to spend money purchasing the land, as under TPS the civic administration gets 30 per cent of land free of cost. Apart from that, plot owners are also benefited through equitable sharing of land,” he said.
Under Town-planning Schemes land is pooled and amenities are developed so the community gets an equitable share of the realty. The programmes are for smaller areas and can be incorporated into the DP. City-based Right to Information activist Vijay Kumbhar, who has been active in providing suggestions regarding elimination of loopholes existing in the draft DP, has espoused TPS.
“Implementing TPS is the only option, and for that the present DP has to be annulled, as the civic administration can not afford to buy the land paying twice the market price. The Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) rate would also go up, and so the civic administration would find it difficult to go for this alternative,” added Kumbhar. The state town-planning department too is now in a quandary, and officials are saying that they have to carry out a brainstorming session to find a way around the new land acquisition bill hampering projects in the city.
“We have to review the reservation policy and find alternate means for free acquisition of land,” said director of state town-planning department Kamlakar Akode. On the other hand, city engineer of PMC Prashant Waghmare said that TPS wouldn’t be applicable to the entire city and the municipal corporation must find other sources of revenue.
The present draft DP includes the 17 peths and surrounding areas of the city, spanning 147.85 square kilometres of area. So far, 921 locations have been identified and reserved for public utility projects. While in the 1987 DP, 587 areas were reserved, but the corporation succeeded in acquiring only 22 per cent of the total 1,000 hectares. earmarked.