PMRDA development stalled as major schemes await approval - Hindustan Times
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PMRDA development stalled as major schemes await approval

BySiddharth Gadkari
Mar 02, 2024 07:04 AM IST

The PMRDA meeting, which is chaired by the chief minister (Eknath Shinde), was originally scheduled on December 5, 2023

With the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) meetings having been postponed thrice, the draft development plan (DP), six town planning (TP) schemes, revised rates of the Gunthewari scheme, and the PMRDA budget are all waiting to be approved due to which residents of the Pune Metropolitan Region (PMR) are experiencing untold delay in developmental projects.

In 2017, the Pimpri-Chinchwad New Town Development Authority (PCNTDA) had announced a DP. (HT PHOTO)
In 2017, the Pimpri-Chinchwad New Town Development Authority (PCNTDA) had announced a DP. (HT PHOTO)

The PMRDA meeting, which is chaired by the chief minister (Eknath Shinde), was originally scheduled on December 5, 2023. However, it was cancelled and postponed to January 19, 2024 citing the Gram Panchayat elections as reason. The meeting on January 19, too, was deferred to January 24 only to be postponed once again. PMR residents are worried because if the meeting isn’t held before the Lok Sabha (LS) polls and the DP isn’t sanctioned, they will face problems in developing their properties. They will also face delay in infrastructure projects related to roads, water, sanitation and drainage systems.

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Civic activist Sudhir Kulkarni said, “The DP divides land in each area into different zones such as residential or industrial. It specifies what kind of land use is allowed or not allowed in each zone. If people don’t know the zone, how can they build houses or develop old property.”

“Currently, the PMRDA is approving plans based on old DP rules. According to the Unified Development Control and Promotion Regulations (UDCPR), buildings under 24 metres in height do not need two staircases and a lift. However, under the old DP rules, developers must provide two staircases and a lift in buildings under 18 metres in height,” he said.

Navnath Darshire, a resident of Punwale, said, “I have 5,000 square feet of land. However, it is located in an agricultural zone. Though it shows residential zone in the draft DP of the PMRDA, I cannot develop it as I don’t know what will change in the final DP. I am eagerly waiting for approval of the DP which is pending for more than a year.”

In 2017, the Pimpri-Chinchwad New Town Development Authority (PCNTDA) had announced a DP. Thereafter in August 2021, a draft DP was prepared and announced. Objection notices were sought from citizens. More than 67,000 citizens filed objections. Three years’ ago, the authority’s DP work was stopped due to an increase in Covid-19 cases in the state, including Pune. Thereafter, the DP work was extended. Meanwhile, the state government in December 2019 appointed an expert committee to hear the objections and suggestions filed by the citizens on the DP.

The committee began hearing the objections and suggestions from March 2, 2022. In December 2022, the committee completed the work of hearing all the objections and suggestions. In January 2023, the hearing of institutional and people’s representatives on the DP was conducted by the committee. Earlier, a meeting was called under the chairmanship of CM Shinde on December 5, 2023 to approve this DP. However, the meeting was cancelled and postponed to January 19 citing the Gram Panchayat elections as reason. The January 19 meeting was postponed to January 24 only to be postponed yet again.

Sunil Marale, joint director of planning, PMRDA, said, “We are waiting for a meeting. There are pending issues such as the draft DP, budget, revised rate of Gunthewari, and town planning schemes.”

A PMRDA official on condition of anonymity said, “The CM should take a decision, at least on the revised rate of the Gunthewari scheme which will help people regularise unauthorised construction and the PMRDA will also get revenue. If the meeting is not going to be held before the election code of conduct comes into effect, it will be prolonged for almost a year as after the Lok Sabha polls, there will be the state assembly polls.”

TP schemes hit a roadblock

Six proposed town planning (TP) schemes covering over 1,000 hectares in the Pune Metropolitan Region (PMR) have hit a roadblock due to pending approvals from the state government. If these schemes are not approved before the Lok Sabha polls, over two lakh citizens will face delays in development projects.

Ramchandra Gohad, former director of the Town Planning Department, said, “After the implementation of the six TP schemes, the population within the limits of these villages may increase by six to seven lakhs. Also, it will be possible to provide infrastructure facilities to all these people through planned development of those areas. But due to delay in approvals, slums are increasing in these villages.”

“Sections 85 and 86 of the MRTP Act contain clear provisions for final approval of urban planning. The DP of the PMRDA has not been finalised. Before that, these TP plans have been sent for approval. There is no problem in approving them. But why is the state government not giving approval? This is the question. So, what is the use of the provisions of the Act?” Gohad said.

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