Expanding Pune: City’s new suburbs are a picture of failure of PMC’s planning
Municipal authorities need to take immediate steps to address the issues of water, roads, bus service, solid waste management and public amenities such as gardens and playgrounds in the areas on the city’s outskirts.pune Updated: Apr 02, 2018 13:51 IST
The spot reporting and assessment of situation at the fringe areas (east and west) of the city by Hindustan Times reporters over the past three months have revealed the collapse of urban governance and urgent need for holistic planning.
It puts a serious question mark over the abilities of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) in delivering civic amenities to the residents. These suburbs are crying out for basic amenities such as water, roads, bus service, solid waste management and public amenities such as gardens and playgrounds.
Poor water management in the suburbs should be a wake-up call for PMC water supply department to immediately regulate the water tanker operators as the latter seem to consolidate themselves as public authorities and pose a challenge to democratic functioning of the local self governing municipal institutions of the government.
Lack of planning and failure of grievance redressal mechanism especially related to construction of internal approach roads has shown the road department’s lack of will to execute land acquisition related approach projects, some of which have been pending for more than fifteen years.
The approach roads though have been sanctioned under development plan (DP) more than a decade ago, little paper work seems to have been done by the road department in acquiring the land for public good. The PMC roads department has come in for sharp criticism by the citizen movement for denying official information under Right to Information Act (RTI) for the approach roads.
In some cases, roads have been planned but execution is taking time. Case in point is the Kharadi-Kalyaninagar connecting road, which is pending since six years and the 12 approach roads in Wagholi awaiting execution.
In Bavdhan, residents have been facing severe inconvenience for lack of garbage disposal, swine menace and increasing chain-snatching incidents leaving Ambegaon residents worried.
PMC city engineer Prashant Waghmare said, “The issues related to construction of approach roads pending land acquisition could be due to higher cash compensation being demanded by landowners. However, we have kept three options like giving transfer of development rights (TDR), floor space index (FSI) and cash compensation. We will sort out issues related to pending approach roads soon.”
Mohammadwadi RTI activist Daljeet Goraya said, “All pending approach road construction projects of last ten years must be investigated by the state CID. Taxpaying residents cannot be made to suffer by the inept and inefficient working of the PMC road department “
Besides, there is no vigilance officer present on the spot on under construction roads to maintain the safety and security of commuters. In all, the road department has to be brought under the ambit of public surveillance and regular auditing must be done to make it an effective department. Citizen’s forum has demanded that the elected representatives too are failing in their duties towards citizens due to lack of vision.
Lack of bus service to the suburbs with no efforts being undertaken by the bureaucracy to incorporate the issue as part of citizen issue compulsorily during the civic body general body meetings is also one the prime reasons behind the topic getting relegated to a non-priority issue, residents said.
Similarly, the suburbs lack implementation of proper garbage disposal plan which has led to huge garbage mounds in eastern and western suburb areas reflecting poorly on the planning and implementation of basic civic services by the civic body. Besides, a majority of citizens have expressed strongly that despite paying taxes, the PMC was ignoring their demands deliberate reportedly under pressure from elected representatives. NIBM Annex Citizen’s Group has written to the PMC saying that the civic administration must provide amenities to residents and if vested interests try to create obstacles then suo moto police cases must be lodged against the officials and people working against the citizens.