The state government has scrapped a proposal to convert a 50-acre part of privately owned Katraj hill in Pune into a residential zone.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who heads the urban development department, took this decision following public outcry over construction activity that posed a danger to the environment.
He has ordered the hill’s usage be changed from residential to non-residential.
The famous Katraj tunnel on national highway 4 cuts through the hill on which many rich people booked plush bungalow plots after the state allowed Katraj Hill Club and Resorts, the owner of the hill, to carry out construction. After he got permission from Mantralaya in late 2010, the developer started constructing a road and other facilities despite adverse remarks by local urban development department officials. The Pune district collector had also imposed a fine of Rs 1.90 crore on the owner of the hill for levelling it beyond permissible limit. The developer is likely to be asked to undo the damage done during the construction of a road between two points on the hill. Sources in the urban development department said following complaints and reports in the media, the CM’s office asked Pune’s joint director of town planning, Sadhana Naik, about the project.
Naik reiterated her earlier stand that construction on hills in rural parts of any district was not permissible if the plot was close to urban areas. After Chavan’s order, the hill has been granted its original status under the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, which prohibits construction.Government officials refused to comment on the issue.