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Pre-monsoon blues: PMRDA to ‘crowdfund’ Wagholi water pipeline project

What shocked builders and society residents was that 10 crore was to be contributed by society residents, with every flat owner in Wagholi having to shell out around Rs 10,000-12,000 for the scheme. 

pune Updated: May 19, 2018 17:47 IST
Nadeem Inamdar and Prachi Bari
Nadeem Inamdar and Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,PMRDA,crowdfund
Kiran Gitte (right, in white), CEO, PMRDA, at the meeting held by Wagholi housing societies association to discuss issues related to water supply, garbage disposal and roads.(HT PHOTO)

In a meeting held to discuss issues relating to water supply, garbage disposal and roads in Wagholi, Suraj Mandhare, chief executive officer, Pune zilla parishad, said that it was the responsibility of builders and residents of Wagholi to contribute Rs 10 crore towards the proposed Wagholi water scheme.

According to Sanjeev Kumar Patil, director of Wagholi housing societies association, “Pune metropolitan region development authority (PMRDA) studied the water requirement of Wagholi and tabled a detailed project report (DPR), with an estimated cost of Rs 24 crores. They said they can contribute only Rs 8 crore to the scheme and the gram panchayat committed support with Rs 7 crore, but only after societies clear their pending taxes.”

What shocked builders and society residents was that 10 crore was to be contributed by society residents, with every flat owner in Wagholi having to shell out around Rs 10,000-12,000 for the scheme.

According to officials concerned, without the contribution from residents, the scheme cannot kick off. Mandhare said that if residents can give money for water tankers, then they should also contribute to the water supply scheme. He suggested to think of it as an investment.

“This is sheer disrespect of the people who are living in Wagholi. How can residents be asked to contribute such a large amount, when they have already invested in flats,” said Nitin Kumar Jain, a resident of Wagholi.

Kiran Gitte, chief executive officer, PMRDA, further clarified that the allotted Rs 25 crore, approved last month by the chief minister of Maharashtra, is actually for eight villages, including Wagholi.

According to Gitte, “There are no new sanctions for Wagholi. The water pipeline project in Wagholi is a matter of serious concern to us and we are working towards solving the issue. While the entire plan is ready, cost sharing for the project has been posing as a hindrance. However, PMRDA will be giving Rs 8 crore for the project. Also, 30 per cent of the total cost of the project will be given by the gram panchayat. We already have the consent from the gram panchayat regarding the proposal. As far as the remaining amount is concerned, we have requested developers in the area to share the expenses for the water pipeline. We are in dialogue with the developers. The project is expected to be completed in eight months.”

We will commence the construction work immediately and in the course of time, we are confident of coming up with solutions to all problems that the project may ensue, added Gitte.

In order to discuss issues relating to of water supply, garbage disposal and roads in Wagholi, the Wagholi housing societies association had held the meeting with Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil, member of parliament, and other government officials, including Kiran Gitte, chief executive officer, Pune metropolitan region development authority (PMRDA); Suraj Mandhare, chief executive officer, zilla parishad; and Vasundhara Ubale, sarpanch, Wagholi gram panchayat, on May 10, at circuit house Pune.

Ramkrishna Sarva, deputy sarpanch, Wagholi gram panchayat; Shivdas Ubale, member, Wagholi gram panchayat; Madhukar Date, development officer, Wagholi gram panchayat and Surendra Kadam, executive engineer, water supply division, zilla parishad , Wagholi gram panchayat were also present at the meeting.

Following the meeting, MP Patil also sent a letter, elucidating the needs of the residents, to the chief minister on May 12, while on a visit to Pune. He also requested the state to sanction a total amount of Rs 25 crore for the Wagholi water scheme.

Wagholi residents prepare to sink knee-deep in muck after official apathy

One lakh Wagholi residents, who were affected by a flood last year during the monsoon, are still waiting for promises made by the local gram panchayat, political leaders and Pune metropolitan region development authority (PMRDA) officials, to be fulfilled. Members of the Wagholi housing societies’ association allege that the civic authorities wasted the year with meaningless and unproductive discussions, instead of coming up with a concrete plan to setup a robust drainage system and water supply infrastructure in the area.

Harcharan Singh Butalia, office bearer, Wagholi housing societies association, said, “Since there is no garbage disposal mechanism or a treatment plant, the waste which has been dumped in the open and along the roads will flow back into the drains and choke them beyond repair. This will lead to accumulation of water. Similarly, 90 per cent of Wagholi does not have a proper drainage system and civic authorities have not bothered to construct them, despite being mandated to carry out the task.”

Sanjeev Kumar Patil, director of the housing association, said, “The main problem during monsoon is inundation of incomplete approach roads, and the drainage systems getting choked by waste. PMRDA has failed in its duty to ensure the welfare of residents. It has only made hollow promises and has lost its credibility.”

A visit to the area reveals that a drainage and water supply network is absent. Moreover, roads are littered with holes and there are a number of road projects left unfinished, clearly indicating the ignorance and apathy of civic officials. Excessive rains led to sewage bursting out of the old pipes last year. Despite last year’s flood and with the monsoon closing in, the storm water drains have still not been cleaned as residents prepare to spend another monsoon knee-deep in muck.

The housing association, in its petition to the Devendra Fadnavis, chief minister, Maharashtra, described PMRDA as an ineffective civic body which pays scant attention to resident’s woes.

Wagholi housing societies association will soon write to the Prime Minister to seek the inclusion of civil society members in government committees to effectively implement government policies. Despite repeated efforts, Kiran Gitte, chief executive officer, PMRDA, could not be reached for comment.

First Published: May 19, 2018 17:34 IST