In a strange turn of events, the state government by its gazette notification of October 11 had invited suggestions and objections for the inclusion of 28 more fringe villages within the limits of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
Post the inclusion of the villages, the PMC’s limit would be 560 sq km much more than that of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) which is 450 sq km.
The issue of inclusion of fringe villages has been going on for the last many years in Pune.
In 1997, 38 villages were scheduled to be merged with the PMC. However, 20 of them were de-linked by the state government in 2001 following protests by the villages over the reservations on their farmlands in the draft development plan of the city.
The villages in question are Mahalunge, Sus, Bavdhan Budruk, Pisoli, Kondhwa-Dhawade, Kopre, Phurshungi, Manjri, Uruli Devachi and others.
Corporators of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had made a surreptitious plan for the inclusion of the merged villages just after the civic elections.
The law committee of the PMC had given its nod for the inclusion in the absence of the chairman and members of the BJP, Congress, Shiv Sena and MNS earlier this year.
Enraged by this, the opposition members had filed for a reconsideration of the proposal and revoked it. The present gazette of the state government has given a time of one month for filing the suggestions and objections.
Senior BJP corporator and city unit president Vikas Mathkari drew attention to the state government’s notification during a press conference in the PMC on Thursday. “We welcome the move as it was the BJP-Shiv Sena combine had originally proposed the inclusion of the villages. The 20 villages which to de-link have been included in the list of 28,” he said.
He also demanded Rs1,000 crore from the state government for its infrastructure. Ujjwal Keskar of Pune Janhit Aghadi also welcomed the move and said that it would lead to the city’s growth.
While the NCP had stoutly claimed that the inclusion of the merged villages was necessary for further development of Pune, the Opposition parties had said that it would not be possible for the civic body to provide the basic infrastructure for the same. Also, it was alleged that the NCP was desirous to get the villages merged as it had its vote banks in those areas.