NCP corporator digs up land meant for biodiversity park
The issue of 10,000 dwellings in Wadgaon Budruk facing the administration's hammer after the land on which they stand was earmarked for a biodiversity park is still fresh in the headlines.
However, while the common man has little chance against the government’s might, politicians often manage to get their way. MiD DAY has learnt that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) corporator Vikas Dangat has carried out substantial excavation work on the hills on his land near Sinhagad College campus. Though the revenue department has made some inquiries and the tehsildar has issued a legal notice, PMC is yet to take any action.
The hills have not been excluded from the reservation by the civic body, while making plans for the BDP. Still some 250 feet of digging has been done on part of the land. Under the condition of anonymity, an elderly resident of Wadgaon Budruk, showed MiD DAY the excavation work on the hills, and said, “Dangat’s act may affect the reputation of the village. We can’t ask him why this quarry work is being done with JCB machines and Earth Removers.”
The state revenue department, which also deals with hill excavation, issued directives for stopping the work. Circle officer SD Kendrekar, said, “We are investigating this to find out who is actually responsible.” When contacted, Sandesh Shirke, the area tehsildar, however, said, “Dangat has a plot next to the government-owned land. The excavation work is apparently for constructing a link road to reach his place where a quarry is also located. We had issued a legal notice under section 48 (7) of Land Revenue Code, 1966 to Dangat on Tuesday and a legal hearing will be done on Friday. We can penalise him if he is found guilty.”
PMC city engineer Prashant Waghmare said, “We are verifying the facts and will then initiate measures over the excavation work on the Wadgaon Hills, which certainly falls under the BDP reservation under sections 53 and 54 of Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act of 1966.”
The other side
NCP corporator Vikas Dangat said, “I have a total of 20 acres on the village hills and some digging work is being done only to level a school playground in the area. I am not constructing any roads, or doing excavation for mining. Secondly, I am fully aware that my land is also under the BDP reservation and am not doing anything illegal on my plot. I am also not constructing any roads, as tar roads exist in the area.”