Greens demand demolition of illegal construction on hilltops
At the Biodiversity Park (BDP) hearing on suggestions and objections, environmentalists called for razing the structures, while citizens opposed it due to fear of losing land
The meeting called on the objections and suggestions for the Biodiversity Park (BDP) reservation in 23 villages witnessed mixed reactions. At the public hearing, environment activists strongly demanded that all illegal constructions that have mushroomed on these hills should be pulled down and heavy fines should be imposed on the developers. While on the other hand citizens who stand to lose their lands due to the reservation, demanded 100 per cent Transfer of Development Rights (TDR). Yesterday, was the last day of the public hearing organised by town planning department at Bagul Park in Sahakarnagar.
Satish Khot, chairperson of National Society for Clean Cities, said, “The government should not regularise the constructions come up in the dedicated BDP reservation zone. PMC should conduct a similar demolition drive on the hill tops like the one carried out by PCMC against illegal constructions in their region.”
Centre For Development Studies and Activities (CDSA) Executive Director Aneeta Gokhale-Benninger said, “The government should first make it known what action it is going to take against its own officials, who have given permission for illegal constructions in the BDP zone. The government is currently charging a minimal fine of Rs 3 per square feet. According to Jain committee report, the fine should be at par with the ready reckoner rates of that particular zone.”
RTI activist and Lok Sabha candidate of Navbharat Democratic Party Vinita Deshmukh demanded that constructions come up in 72 hectares of the hills is illegal according to the regional plan and hence be demolished immediately.
Environmental activist Suresh Karve said, “PMC has to take special efforts to spread awareness among citizens about the importance of BDP zones in and around the hills of the city. Public should also be made aware to not purchase land in the BDP zone. Moreover, PMC can step up vigil in these areas by periodically monitoring satellite images.”
While opposing the BDP reservations, Bavdhan resident Shashikant Waghmare said, “I have six acres of ancestral agriculture land in Bavdhan, which has now come under the BDP zone. When my family is reaping a good crop from this land, I can’t see any reason to give it to the state for planting trees.”
Another citizen Subhash Dhamale demanded that government should give 100 per cent TDR to residents, who have lost their lands due to the reservation, instead of allotting just 8 to 10 percent TDR.
Avinash Patil, deputy director of town planning department, conducted the hearing and will now send all the suggestions and objections received from citizens, NGOs and politicians to the state government. A final decision will be taken by the state.