Pune: Citizen activism never held a strong base in the Pimpri-Chinchwad area like it does in Pune, but with the upcoming Lok Sabha elections pressurising candidates, various NGOs from Pimpri-Chinchwad have joined hands to come up with a public manifesto ahead of the polls.
On the occasion of Gudi Padwa, 18 NGOs from the PCMC area have formed the Pimpri-Chinchwad Citizen forum. Though this forum, issues in the areas including traffic and transport, environment and even illegal constructions will be in focus.
Amol Deshpande of the PCCF told dna, “We are in a process of making a 10-point manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections, which will be finalised by this weekend. The points which will be highlighted include traffic and transportation, and basic infrastructure for the middle-class dominated PCMC area. The manifesto also will have some industry specific requirements, as it has a big industrial belt. Apart from that, we have also included issues regarding tourist destinations in Maval, which needs restoration.”
“ We are holding lot of voters awareness drives to increase the voting per cent, so that people are aware of their own rights and they come to voice their demands,” Deshpande said.
According to these activists, two years back the situation in PCMC was not like it is today. “Unlike citizen activism in Pune, there was not a lot happening in PCMC. However, former PCMC commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi introduced lot of citizen-friendly initiatives, which gave lot of confidence among citizen forums and now we have managed to bring together 18 such forum which will be active in different pockets of the PCMC area. We are also taking guidance from Pune-based civic activists in spreading citizen activism in PCMC as well,” Deshpande added.
Pune-based NGOs have also agreed to help their counter parts in PCMC to promote citizen activism in its twin town. Vivek Velnakar, president of of Sajag Nagrik Manch said, “There was no NGO network in PCMC area compared to the PMC.”
Jugal Rathi, president of PMP Pravasi Manch said that the group consists of like-minded people and have quite a lot of them are youngsters working in the IT sector. “It is a new-age community coming together to take the, issues which are currently faced by the residents.
He said that the forum called some of the activists from Pune to give them guidance on the newly-formed group. “We have told them to take up representation from small areas, so that the local issues will be taken up at this juncture. Apart from issues such as traffic, public transport, good governance, environment, civic amenities, the group will also spread awareness among the masses on voting and will encourage them to cast their vote in the coming election,” he said.