Monday Musings: Civic neglect of Pune’s fringe is not smart
There is no evidence to show that PMC is dealing with the fringe areas with a sense of urgency.Updated: Feb 04, 2018 21:50 IST
Rapid urbanisation with large clusters of residential buildings, poor water availability, poor garbage management, bad roads and poor public transport. This, in short, is the litany of a large number of newly emerging localities of Pune.
Contrast this with the heavily funded Smart City project in the Aundh-Baner-Balewadi area where designer streets and other cost-intensive public amenities are being provided in an already well-developed area. At yet another level are the mega projects such as the Pune Metro and the Purandhar international airport which are also top priority projects.
The fear amidst all this is that the fringe areas of Pune city will continue to remain neglected as they have been all along, ever since the merger of 23 villages within Pune municipal limits, two decades ago, and additional 11 villages in July 2017.
Three weeks ago, Hindustan Times launched a weekly series under the theme ‘Expanding Pune: Issues and Concerns,’ looking at the fringe of Pune city. Whether it is Mohammadwadi or Ambegaon, people living in these areas have a common complaint.
While promoters and builders are creating housing complexes with fancy, enchanting names borrowed from the British countryside and romantic Italian locales, the stark reality is far less enchanting. There’s no municipal water supply in most of the fringe areas of Pune and so the people have to depend on water tankers or supply from bore wells.
If the supply is from water tankers, it means an additional monthly cost over and above the water tax collected by the civic body. The availability of good roads in these areas is a serious issue as the public infrastructure has not kept pace with the expansion of Pune. In a number of localities, the roads are still under construction.
When it comes to public transportation, a common complaint is that the public bus service is extremely poor (as is the case throughout Pune). Also, autorickshaws do not run by the meter and charge as per their whim under the pretext that they do not get return passengers.
Solid Waste Management, or garbage collection, gets the least priority from the PMC, creating filthy heaps of unattended garbage, compounded by the absence of civic sense among the residents themselves.
After the merger of the fringe villages and emergence of suburbs and localities such as Dhanori, Warje, Dhankawdi, Kharadi and Dhayari, the responsibility on the PMC to provide basic public infrastructure has increased multifold. But there is no evidence to suggest that the top civic officers, including the municipal commissioner, are seized with the task of addressing the needs of the fringe areas.
There is no evidence of any town planning schemes in these areas which would have led to the well-planned development, with the provision of public amenities and public spaces including parks, gardens and water bodies in an expanding Pune.
It is extremely important that the residents in these areas establish Mohalla Committees and RWAs (Residents Welfare Associations) to highlight their priorities in terms of civic infrastructure and bring pressure on municipal officers, corporators and MLAs to address them. We stand by you as your ally in this endeavour.