Pune: After the merger of 34 villages in the Pune Municipal Corporation, the PMC is set to become the largest municipal corporation in the state. The question remains whether it has the capacity to provide basic infrastructure to newly included areas. Be it water supply, solid waste management, health services or public transport, addition of these new areas to the city is going to put additional burden on the civic administration in providing these basic necessities in the expanded limit of the municipal corporation.
According to town planning experts, the civic body is already facing difficulties in providing basic infrastructure to the existing area of the PMC. Experts have also suggested that a new corporation should be formed so that the burden of providing infrastructure in the municipal limit can be shared as two separate corporations can get more funds from the state government.
The state urban development department issued the notification for the merger of 34 fringe villages in the PMC limit last week. The talk of including these villages has been going on for a few years. In October 2012, the state had asked the PMC to begin the process of including 28 villages in the PMC limit and the general body gave approval for the merger in November 2012.
However, later the general body approved another proposal to add six more villages in the PMC limit. Now, after the state government’s notification, PMC’s jurisdiction area will be over 500 square kilometre which will be more than the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) area. When it comes to funds to carry out developmental projects, the PMC is already facing shortage.
Bad infrastructure in municipal limit
According to town planners, the recently merged villages in the PMC limit do not have basic amenities like good roads, water supply, system for disposal of solid waste and therefore the state should go for another municipal corporation. Former town planner Ramchandra Gohad said, “Pune should follow Mumbai’s example and how they formed Navi Mumbai as a separate corporation.”
“I feel the inclusion of 34 villages in PMC is not a logical decision and it is against town planning principles. The state should have formed separate a municipality or PMC should have been divided into two separate municipal corporations. At present the fringe villages are already facing acute water shortage. Apart from that there will be the issue of illegal construction. The PMC also will have to address the issue of garbage disposal as the solid waste of PMC will increase once these villages become part of PMC,” said Gohad.
Additional water supply needed
The present area of PMC is getting 11.5 TMC water and recently the civic administration had given a proposal to the state government to increase the water supply from 11.5 TMC to 16 TMC which was rejected by the government. Now, with the merger of 34 new villages, the water demand is likely to go up to 19 TMC and experts feel that it will be a daunting task for PMC in terms of water management.
Col (Retd) Shashikant Dalvi, director of Parjanya rain water harvesting management consultancy, said, “At present, the existing areas of the city are not getting equal water supply by the civic body and if additional area comes under the municipal corporation, the water situation of the city will go from bad to worse. The municipal corporation should have strengthened the water supply of the existing area first and then it should have gone for the merger. Now if the PMC fails in distributing equal water, there will be excess extraction of water which will disturb the ecology of the area.”
PMPML needs to
pull up socks
According to transport experts, the public transport system which at present is far from good will deteriorate further if the service of Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) will have to be provided to these new areas. Jugal Rathi, president of PMP Pravasi Manch, said, “Out of the total fleet of nearly 2,000 buses only about 1,300 are operational which is not enough for present area of the PMC and PCMC. There has to be a separate monitoring body to keep eye on the functioning of the transport company and it should make sure that the buses are maintained properly, then only there will be some hopes for better transport system.”
Civic body starts
Meanwhile, the PMC administration has started its process of collecting data regarding the infrastructure and the requirements of the 34 fringe villages. The report will be submitted to the state government. Vikas Deshmukh, commissioner of PMC, said, “We have already held a meeting regarding collection of data of the fringe villages through which the administration will have an idea about the existing infrastructure as well as requirements of these areas once they are merged in the PMC. We have also planned a meeting with the district administration where various developmental projects will be discussed.”