Rs3 crore vegetable market in amenity space in Pune’s Kondhwa Budruk lying unused for two years
PUNE The Punyashlok Ahilyabai Holkar Vegetable Market and Multipurpose Centre, constructed in the amenity space of survey number 41 near VIT chowk in Kondhwa Budruk at a cost of Rs3 crore, has been lying unused under lock and key for the past two years. The vegetable market has 32 mini stalls or shops for vegetable vendors and five state-of-the-art auditoriums. As none of the stalls has been allotted, vegetable vendors are not allowed to sell vegetables at these shops, causing severe losses to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) exchequer.
Local resident Sangita Shinde said that the market was constructed to cater to the needs of the residents while the auditoriums were built so that people could assemble for academic and other cultural programmes. “Currently, however, no vegetable vendor is allowed to sell vegetables as the stalls are yet to be allotted. We demand an early completion of the process as it is already two years and citizens have to go a long distance to buy vegetables despite having a vegetable market that is very near and convenient to us.”
Ever since the market and multipurpose centre was inaugurated by the then state minister Bala Bhegade at the time of the 2019 assembly elections, not a single transaction has taken place, according to residents. What’s more, the vegetable vendors currently occupying the road in Kondhwa gaothan have emerged as a major bottleneck due to vehicular traffic and two-wheelers parked by buyers on both sides. So much so that residents have threatened agitations if the vegetable market is not commissioned at the earliest.
Meanwhile, PMC vegetable market inspector for the Kondhwa and Hadapsar divisions, Ashwini Bhagwat, said, “It is a newly constructed market in Kondhwa Budruk and the process of allotment of stalls is currently in progress. Within one month, the official process will be completed following which the stalls will be allocated to vendors. All efforts are being undertaken at the administrative level to solve the issue.”
The issue of misutilisation of amenity spaces in Pune has come to the fore after the PMC general body led by the BJP passed a resolution to lease amenity spaces for a term of 99 years. The decision has been vehemently opposed by opposition parties and in particular by civil society and citizens’ rights groups that have gone to the high court seeking a stay on the decision. Also, the BJP has levelled allegations that the actual privatisation and leasing of spaces began under the former Congress government where their leaders stand accused of not paying rent over Rs53.30 crore while others have taken public amenity properties at very nominal rates due to their strong political standing in former municipal body amenity spaces as per the Act.
Amenity spaces, as per development control (DC) rules, are statutory spaces kept in the layout to be used for amenities such as open spaces, parks, recreational grounds, playgrounds, sports complexes, gardens, convenience shopping, parking lots, primary and secondary schools, nurseries, health clubs, dispensaries, nursing homes, hospitals, sub-post offices, police stations, electric substations, ATMs of banks, electronic cyber libraries, open markets, garbage bins, assisted living and hospice together, senior citizens’ housing and orphanages together, project-affected persons’ housing, auditoriums, conventional centres, water supply, electricity supply and other utilities.