States

Maharashtra clears merger of 34 villages with Pune Municipal Corporation

Pune: The Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government on Wednesday gave a green signal to the merger of 34 villages into the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) limits. However, of these, only 11 will be incorporated into the civic body by the end of this year.

Among the 11, only the twin villages of Uruli Devachi and Phursungi, 20 km from Pune city, are to be immediately assimilated while the remaining nine villages will be incorporated in phases. The process of the merger is expected to be completed by December 31 this year.

In view of the impending Gram Panchayat elections in some villages this year, the government is expected to complete the merger of the remaining 23 villages in a phased manner over a three-year period, said PMC sources.

Last month, the Bombay High Court had directed the State government to take a decision on the merger of 34 villages into the PMC within three weeks. In 2014, members of a citizen group called the ‘Haveli Taluka Nagari Kruti Samiti’ had filed a petition in the HC seeking expediting of the merger process of these fringe villages.

Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat, along with other BJP legislators have been vociferously opposed to the grand merger of 34 villages, citing that the move would put a great strain on the financial resources of the civic body — a view shared by PMC authorities.

“The proposed merger benefits neither the urban pockets nor the villages. It is vital to first set forth the infrastructure like roads and drinking water facilities. A number of pending projects have to be completed first to ensure development in these areas,” Mr. Bapat said.

Politically, city BJP leaders were opposed to the move before the crucial February PMC polls as the villages were seen as NCP strongholds.

For the PMC, the population in these villages, totalling six lakh, is expected to put an enormous strain on the budget.

Authorities estimate that the water provisioning system itself, which will include the construction of water purification plants and reservoirs, will exceed a whopping ₹3,000 crore.

A further ₹1,900 crore will be needed on the key development parameters of public health, land acquisition, primary education among others.

In the event all 34 villages do get incorporated in the near future, the PMC will be the largest civic body in Maharashtra, bigger in scope and size than even the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The PMC’s geographical area is set to increase from its existing 243.84 square kilometres to over 500 square kilometres, in contrast to the BMC’s 416 square kilometres.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2021 10:06:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/maharashtra-clears-merger-of-34-villages-with-pune-municipal-corporation/article19310347.ece

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