Here is why retaining green cover in Pune’s Bio-Diversity Park is an ‘uphill’ task
On August 5, 2015, the long-awaited decision of banning construction on the Bio Diversity Park (BDP) area in Pune was taken by the state government. According to the government resolution (GR), the state government had ordered that illegal structures which have come up after March 2005 will have to be removed. Yet even now little has been done to protect land under the BDP zone from encroachment.
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) seems to be struggling in acquiring land and getting rid of illegal structures in the BDP zone. Recently, guardian minister of Pune, Girish Bapat, had stated that 12 per cent construction should be allowed in the BDP zone with a way to prevent slums from coming up on that land.
When team Hindustan Times visited some of the areas under the BDP on Monday, it was found that illegal constructions and slums are coming up in areas near Warje, Hingane Khurd and Wadgaon areas. With slums mushrooming in these parts, it is now becoming a challenge to protect these areas.
Activists from the city have said that administration lacks the will in protecting the areas under the BDP.
Speaking about the issue, founder of NGO Parisar, Sujit Patwardhan, said, “There is very little transparency on what the administration is presently doing in terms of protecting the open land under BDP. There seems to be a complete lack of will to protect this land by getting rid of encroachments. Once the situation gets more complicated and illegal structures and slums come up in the BDP zone, the government would want to compromise and allow some percentage of construction on this reserved land which is wrong.”
He added that with lack of action by the administration in acquiring land under BDP and protecting it, people who are not adhering to the law will ultimately get rewarded after the authorities compromise and allow construction on that land, which is completely wrong.
Urban planner Anita Benninger, too, shared similar views.
She said, “I had proposed in the development plan that hundred per cent compensation should be given for land acquisition for BDP as per the ready reckoner rates. This was passed by the general body of the PMC twice but nothing much has been done about the same.”