Sunday, March 6, 2016

PMRDA, PMC & 34 Village's Future!

 “Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance”… Ban Ki-Moon.

Ban Ki-Moon is a South Korean statesman and politician who is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations. And no wonder the country which has minds like Ban Ki, understands the true meaning of development & give best of the infrastructure to its citizens, so does South Korea! What always amazes me is we talk all big things like “Make in Maharashtra” or “Make in India” & very recently in Mumbai we called all the worlds industries as well top brains to see our progress but when it comes to actually solving simplest of the issues in our very own backyard, we often fail miserably! Recent example is fate of 34 villages hung between PMC  & PMRDA; for those poor souls which don’t know or are lucky enough to be unaware of such issues related to our Smart Pune city, for them first I will try to enlighten on the subject. Not very long back i.e. when PMRDA i.e. Pune Metro Regional Development Authority (now please don’t ask what it means) hasn’t yet born then PMC was looked after as the only care taker of the Pune city’s citizens as well surrounding villages around the boundary of PMC. As due to smartness of Pune or let’s call charm of the Pune, in recent times many people from all over the country are being attracted towards this city & suddenly the land prices & keeping in tune flat prices have gone sky rocketing. Naturally those who can’t afford the homes in city started looking after the lands in nearby villages & the very same scene which has been repeated some twenty years back started replaying! Actually at that time nearly 27 villages along the fringe area of then PMC limits have been proposed to be merged in PMC limit & notification was published; joke was for some time the plans also were sanctioned by PMC & suddenly one of the ruling party realized that it’s not in favor of that party to merge all these village in PMC as they will lose their stronghold in the villages, so 13 villages were deleted from the list & only 14 villages were merged in PMC. This was nearly twelve years back though.

Well story doesn’t ends here; it took nearly 12 more years for getting development plan of the then merged 14 villages prepared & sanctioned & till now issues like future of some reservations like Bio Diversity Park i.e. BDP are unclear making these lands surrender to slums & encroachments! That itself was one big joke of having two separate DP’s for old city & new city making confusions for real estate developments as well infrastructure of the city. The hundreds of amenity spaces which have come under possession of PMC in these new villages, a great provision to create more infra spaces for various essential activities are being used as dump yards! Most of the new villages (which are old by now already) lack basic internal micro road networks, drainage lines are not there & water lines either don’t exist or are dry!  Yes the PMC did get revenue in terms of building development charges & through property taxes but all is not well on providing even essential infrastructure to most of these villages, though some of them like Baner have been recognized as smart suburbs & yet water & drainage is a grave problem here too, Hon Cm who is Urban Development’s chief, himself has accepted this in his recent trip to Pune!

On all such background the city kept growing through sheer need of its housing need, thanks to Industries, IT & Education, to generate jobs all along. Again the talks of expanding PMC limits started & it’s decided that nearly 34 more surrounding villages will be merged in PMC. As usual this decision kept lingering on various tables & many of the gram panchayats’ i.e. local bodies of individual villages were for the merging, some were not & the reason was losing the hold on local politics or power whatever one may call it! In the mean time as homes were affordable in these villages, construction was on rampant around with literally no by-laws in place as town planning was technical authority & collector office was sanctioning authority & both departments had just sanctioning man power but zero construction controlling man power. Outcome was there were more illegal than legal constructions in these villages & this even the Govt officials accept in private off-course! Few of these building collapsed, taking lives of residents & causing common man’s life time earning going to dust. Then a set of new rules & regulations were framed for the lands or villages coming in to 10 km distance from the PMC boundary. Yet the main problem remained as no controlling authority for the ongoing construction at field as not necessary all the builders used to take permissions & no guaranty was there whatever has been sanctioned only that will be build at site! In all this “babugiri” of the policies, the end sufferer was the common man who used to book flat in these projects succumbing to his limited budget! So the State Govt even went to publish notification of merging the 34 villages in PMC, the then CM announced it & people also were happy that at last there will be someone to look after their roads & water & drainage! Then in between PMRDA i.e. a governing body for lands i.e. real estate development outside of municipal corporation limits is announced but never saw the daylight for these villages development. In the mean time the power center got changed in State & everybody forgot about merging of villages or even about the villages itself & their development too!

Finally the new “Mai Baap” Govt realizing that city planning also is important along with creation of new jobs, formed the PMRDA. It took nearly seven to eight years after its announcement, PMRDA to come in existence, some six months back! And it’s decided that everything, not in just 10km periphery outside PMC & PCMC but much larger area will be under PMRDA’s jurisdiction. It’s a mammoth task but at least there is a ray of hope as so much time has been lapsed as well many cross announcements were made by the people in power that people have lost faith in anything but were just living on their own. I always compare builders (off course only those who follows the law) & the residents in these 34 villages with orphans; as both are living on god’s mercy! In the fringe area around Pune city, nobody knows who will maintain the roads leave apart widen them, garbage lifting issue is unanswered, public transport is missing, drainage lines are not existing & so are water lines, social infrastructure like schools & play grounds can’t even be dreamed & list of civic problems is unending! Despite all this the land rates kept souring, flats are getting sold in these villages; looking at this I do believe this country does live on hope! Some day someone will come & will improve our lives is what keep us going & when the hope did came in form of PMRDA, somewhere something went wrong for somebody & talks of remerging these villages in PMC came to life again!

I think it’s not about whether to merge these villages in PMC or let PMRDA develop it but we need to take one firm stand. If PMC is able to take care of these villages then why it has not been done so long & why the PMRDA got in existence itself? As these 34 villages are already partly developed & makes major part of PMRDA; if not to plan these urban areas then does PMRDA is supposed to control just mountains & forests & rivers of its jurisdiction which are practically unbuildable! This is the question we should ask & answer it fast! Agreed PMC has a set up in place which is strong presently in compare to PMRDA but then these 34 villages are revenue generating cow is a fact! And money is the strength giving tonic & we will be indirectly killing PMRDA by depriving the revenue coming from of development in these 34 villages. Not only that, PMC has its own enough troubles to handle; don’t we all have witnessed it? There are every sort of problems a citizen can have, ask any citizen living in those 14 villages which have been part of PMC for last twelve years. I am not blaming PMC but you try to adopt a child not when your own kids are starving, which exactly will happen if we merge these villages in PMC! At the same time PMRDA should work fast & must be given enough tools from man power to money power, to not only plan the vast area under them but to provide infrastructure also to the same. As it’s still unclear that PMRDA is just a regulatory body or it has executionery powers? As even after six months coming to life, they are sanctioning plans but no improvement is there regarding road conditions or water or drainage like basic issues which equally are important along with the buildings & it’s not happening!

In the whole scenario saddest or unfortunate part is no political party, may it be ruling or opposition, in PMC or State, cares a hang about city & citizens; all they are interested is who gains the control over the respective vote bank! All the political parties look at the citizens in these 34 villages as vote bank but conveniently forget that this vote bank requires a decent living too, for its survival! This subject is very much important for Pune as city because in future major population will be choosing these 34 villages as their home, so the entire Pune’s real estate future is tied with development of these villages! Here I remember few years back there was a fiction movie named “Godzilla vs. Kingkong”, i.e. both are very large mythological creatures fighting each other for supremacy over the world as their kingdom & in that fight millions of innocent people’s lives shown to be at danger along with buildings & cities! Same is happening with Pune in fight of who will have hold on the 34 villages, PMC or PMRDA! And in the fight millions of residents who have purchased their homes as well builders who have invested in lands in these villages have got their life time earnings at stake! In this fight for control over 34 villages, it’s not who wins at the end is important but who will survive to celebrate the victory is the important question PMC & PMRDA should ask to themselves! As the common citizen of Pune doesn’t care PMC rules him or PMRDA; he just wants his peace of life which lies in a legal, safe & affordable home with basic needs of life taken care! I think at least that much the poor common citizen deserves as value for his vote because let’s not forget on his existence only depends the existence of PMC or PMRDA!

Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

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  1. I am living in SUS gaon, 3 KM from highway, I am waiting for road to be develop with street lights, wanted to ask if my hope is realistic?

    1. dear arpit, thts something which i hate to say but no one can guess! Unfortunately its the voters & common men who unless dont come on street & put pressure on govt, nobody will listen is bitter fact!

  2. I m living in keshavnagar wants to know about its road extension as i wanna buy property over here

  3. Does Shikrapur comes under PMRDA


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