Citizens protest after getting last-minute notices for hearing on development plan

May 06, 2014, 07:12 IST | Niranjan Medhekar

Many of the residents who had made suggestions or raised objections to the city's development plan, got only an hour’s notice to show up at PMC office for the hearing; the proceedings finally had to be postponed to May 18

Ashwin Wakde, a resident of Sadashiv Peth, had to rush to the PMC main building by 5 pm yesterday, after he received a notice from the corporation at 4 pm asking him to be present for the hearing on the city’s proposed development plan (DP), and submit his objection.

CAUGHT OFF-GUARD: Many residents had to rush to the PMC office within an hour of receiving the notices. Pic/Mohan Patil

Many residents were caught off guard by such last minute notices sent out by the civic body. The committee formed for the hearings on the DP had to postpone the proceedings to May 18, after citizens protested.

As the model code of conduct has been partially relaxed by the government, the PMC on Monday started hearings on the proposed DP of the city. The corporation has received as many as 87,000 suggestions and objections on the proposed DP, which is scheduled to be tabled before the government-appointed committee soon.

“We live in a 40-year-old apartment in Sadashiv Peth. But in the proposed DP, our whole building has come under reservation for road widening. Hence, we have submitted our objection. However, I received the notice just one hour prior to my hearing. They were supposed to intimate us at least eight days in advance,” Wakde said.

Suhas Dharmashale, a resident of Laxmi Road, said, “Our building is coming under the proposed Metro route. I got a call from home at around 4.30 pm asking me to rush to the PMC headquarters to submit our objection. The notice specifically mentioned that this hearing was the only chance we had to raise our objections against the DP.”

PMC standing committee chairman, Bapurao Karne, who is also chairman of the government-appointed committee on the DP hearing, said, “As many residents complained about not receiving the notices on time or having received it one hour before the hearing, we are postponing the hearing till May 18. Henceforth, we will ensure that the citizens receive the notices eight days in advance.”

Corporator and panel member Chetan Tupe, however, alleged that the Opposition parties are deliberately delaying the hearing process. “The hearings were proceeding smoothly from the morning. Through the day, 100 personal and 6 mass hearings took place. The proceedings were affected in the evening when some people forcefully tried to shut it down,” Tupe claimed.  

BJP leader Ujwal Keskar said, “We are not opposing the hearings. Our only concern is that due procedure should be followed before starting hearings on DP. According to rules, the notice should be sent to each and every citizen or group seven days before the hearing starts. So the hearing that started today was illegal. I had already submitted my objections over it to the PMC Commissioner.”

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