Pune civic body mulls long-term leasing instead of sale of 117 amenity spaces – ET RealEstate

PUNE: Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has finally decided to give up the plan to sell its 117 amenity spaces, which may be leased out for a longer period of time. After building department officials submitted an opinion that the plots — 34 acres in all at Baner, Balewadi and other areas — should be leased for a longer period of time, the authorities have now started considering this new option. Citizens have, however, stated that they will still continue to oppose this as longer lease in a way means handing over the ownership just like the sale bid.

As per the original plan, PMC had decided to sell its amenity spaces for generating revenue while ensuring zero encroachment. The only condition for the development was that the developer would have to construct one of the designated amenities — schools, gymnasiums, sports complexes, markets, hospitals, etc. — for the utilisation of the citizens.

Concerned citizens had sent multiple letters to the civic body, stating that these amenity spaces are public properties and need to be used for the benefit and well-being of residents.

They had said the public is not convinced about this plan, and the civic body should not proceed with its implementation, and also requested a detailed presentation on the roadmap.

Now, the PMC building department has submitted an opinion, stating that the spaces should not be sold. Prashant Waghmare, city engineer, building department, said, “We have identified a list of amenity spaces except for essential ones. We have stated that all these properties should be leased for a longer period of time instead of selling them off.”

Rajendra Muthe, head of land and estates department of PMC, added, “Based on the city engineer’s opinion, we are considering leasing of the amenity spaces. PMC doesn’t have the authority to put the properties on lease for 90 years. So, we are trying to figure out if we can split this period. A final proposal will be prepared accordingly.”

And yet, citizens have still opposed the move. Ravindra Sinha, one of the citizen activists leading the movement against this proposal, said, “This is public land. We have given their share of property. So, we are not comfortable with any mode of transfer to private parties. We want these lands to be developed by the government authorities. If private agencies want to develop it, then it should be done through corporate social responsibility (CSR). Any lease beyond five years is a form of sale only.”

Kharadi residents, too, opposed the step. Stating that there are 19 amenity spaces in their area, Nitin Memane, president of the Kharadi Residents’ Association, said, “If they want it to be leased out, then it should be given to the society that had parted with it. Bringing it to a private person doesn’t make sense. Leasing in a way means selling the properties. Hence, we are still opposing the move.”

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Pune: Ready-mix cement plant in middle of Baner societies worries residents – ET RealEstate

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PUNE: At a time when the city is battling COVID-19, a virus known to affect the respiratory tract, residents of Baner, near Yogi Park, find themselves inhaling fine dust every day with a ready-mix cement (RMC) plant operational bang in the middle of a residential area and also just across the road from an old-age home.

Petrified, the local citizens have posted a complaint to Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), highlighting how this worsens their vulnerability to the pandemic.

The plant, located on an open plot and flanked by residential societies such as Silver Dale and Urban Crest, has been operational for the past one month.

Worse, it is less than 50 metres away from the old-age home— Satyak — across the road. Residents have been complaining of the air becoming heavy with the tiny flying particles which has already led to respiratory issues.

“By now we all know how COVID-19 impacts respiratory functioning. Just when we need to boost our immunity to survive this pandemic, the RMC plant, running in our area for the past one month, has become a cause for concern for all residents here. The air is thick with dust and it is bound to affect our respiratory system. Should somebody get infected by COVID-19, his/her compromised respiratory functioning could even prove to be fatal,” Anuj Singh, an IT professional residing close to the plant, told Mirror.

Similarly, Suryakant Dalvi, a senior citizen from the area, complained, “We have a lush green hill in the neighbourhood which works like a local lung. But its advantage has been lost to the pollution the RMC plant is spreading. There is dust everywhere and we are facing problems in breathing.”

It may be recalled that in October 2019, Mirror had reported about an RMC plant that was running in the middle of a residential area in Balewadi. Pursuant to the report, the plant was shut down. Citing that case, the locals have urged PMC to take action against the plant in their area.
Pune: Ready-mix cement plant in middle of Baner societies worries residents“There are clear guidelines from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) against any RMC plant being set up within 100-metre distance from any human habitat and further stipulating that it should maintain a distance 200 metres from sensitive places.

However, this plant is right in the middle of residential complexes which are all within 100 metres. This makes it clear that the plant is illegal, hence it should be shut down with immediate effect,” insisted Rajan Joshi, a senior citizen from the same locality.

Drawing attention to the offending unit’s proximity to the old-age home, Deepa Navale, another local resident and a homemaker, observed, “We’ve seen the senior citizens living in the home ritualistically using its common area to take in some fresh air. However, what they are unwittingly breathing in, the past month, has been air laden with fine dust from the plant. Should any of them develop respiratory issue, it will be difficult for them to recover.”

The air is thick with dust and it is bound to affect our respiratory system—Anuj Singh, an IT professional

All efforts made by Mirror to draw out the name of the owner of the plant from the workers present at the site proved futile as they refused to divulge any detail. Interestingly, despite the online complaint lodged by the residents, PMC’s assistant commissioner, Jaydeep Pawar, who is in charge of the Aundh-Baner ward office, was clueless about the issue. “I am not aware of an RMC plant being operational in a residential area. I will ask the officer concerned to look into the matter and ensure that necessary action is taken in this regard,” he told Mirror.

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