Your Space: Infra development top priority in 23 villages merged in Pune municipal limits
The merger of 23 new villages into Pune Municipal Corporation, though a populist decision, will leave the civic administration handle basic amenities of an extended area of 518 sq km from its present 334 sq km. What are the steps that PMC should take to turn this merger into advantage and boost exchequer?
Planned development must in merged areas
We can have planned development in the new areas that have been merged into Pune civic limits. Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) should provide facilities and the government should give subsidies to improve civic amenities in these villages. The new areas can be utilised for creating infrastructure related to housing, transport, medical, new colleges and garbage management. Projects like low-cost housing can be promoted in the areas for slum rehabilitation.
Merger will help rationalise property tax
The merger of 23 villages under PMC has its advantages and disadvantages. Since the area after merger has increased, it becomes a challenge to manage the same unless the professional manpower is employed for the task. There are many advantages of the merger. Property tax collection of PMC will increase multifold due to the merger. The increase in revenue can be rationally utilised to develop the existing facilities and provide basic amenities to the villages newly merged. The merger can also help in bringing the development faster since the hierarchy has changed and communication becoming easier. The merger can also help in judicious estimation of property tax as the payer base will increase. Any decision or change has its own advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to us how we want to utilise the same.
Focus on development should be priority
Although the merger makes Pune the biggest city in Maharashtra in terms of geographical area, I wonder how much beneficial the decision would turn out for the added villages. For the current size of Pune, there are already numerous issues which are unanswered for years. With the addition of these 23 villages, it would be challenging for the administration. The new villages would be seeking benefits of being included in city limits and they don’t even know how long will it be till they actually see the benefits. I feel PMC is going to have a tough job at their hands for the next 5-10 years. The appointment of right people and focus on development would probably change the game.
New areas should have a separate civic body
The advantages of being in municipal area include planned development, stricter watch on unauthorised construction, being part of larger authority, better chances of good implementation of common facilities such as footpaths, roads and water. Part of a large municipal corporation also has its disadvantage. It should have been divided into two civic bodies, as there may be delay in work implementation/decisions due to workload on the authorities to cover a bigger geographical area.
Good to be part of the city
Living in one of these 23 villages never felt like a part of Pune. Apart from living amidst greenery, one had to travel long distance for other amenities. It feels good to be officially recognised as a Punekar and not being condescended as a countryman. We have been waiting for this merger for years now and finally the civic body has made it official. Over the years, living in a village but staying close to urban life has been influencing our lifestyle. Although, centralised infrastructure and roads which would be maintained by the authorities would not only make our life easier, but make us feel a part of the city. Tax collection would be better and streamlined as population has increased by 0.2 million.
Strategies must for new areas
With the merger of 23 villages into PMC limits, the civic body becomes largest municipal corporation in the state. However, they will have to plan new strategies for generating revenue for the administration and development of extended area. PMC needs funds from the state and they can generate funds by altering taxes. PMC can get more revenue through these villages. They will have to put more effort to administer and give basic facilities to the people.
Infra development of villages must
It will support Pune Municipal Corporation for development and work towards achieving progress. The city administration has to take initiatives such as construction of sewage treatment plants (STP), remodeling of stormwater drains, water supply, development of waste management facilities, rehabilitation of slums under environmentally sensitive locations, residential area, commercial, industrial, public utilities, transport, public transport, metro, ring roads, road widening and subways, recreational reserved, forest and agriculture, river improvement forest land, water bodies, hills and housing policy.