‘PMC can do a better job in its new villages but govt should allot funds, sanction new posts’

In this Idea Exchange at The Indian Express office, Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak talks about how PMC is geared up to take on the additional responsibilities of new villages that will be merged with it, its attempt to provide better health facilities and how citizen participation is a must for the success of all projects

Manoj More: What is your assessment of illegal constructions in the city? Why is it being allowed to grow in this manner?

There are various angles to the illegal construction issue. There are dam-affected people who got land to build houses. Then the gunthewari system was there when the area was under gram panchayat. Now, we could see that the owner and developer of the plots are different. It is mainly the greed among people that has led to illegal activities. We had taken measures to check the illegal constructions and conducted at least ten meetings in this regard from March to September with specific directions to the civic officers in charge of the responsibilities. In the particular case where the building collapse took place, the engineer concerned, despite reminders to follow the format for initiating action on the illegal construction, failed to do so while the next engineer posted in the area issued a notice immediately. Action was taken against the engineer who ignored his responsibility.

Anuradha Mascarenhas: Pune has seen a lot of health issues in the last few years with diseases spreading and dengue cases being registered every day. Is the PMC health department initiating adequate measures to take care of the growing population?

We have taken up the dengue infection seriously and initiated appropriate steps. The PMC gets a dengue case confirmed from the National Institute of Virology, National Institute of Communicable Diseases or any government approved laboratory. However, the civic body also decided to include the figures of private hospitals, which showed the rise in dengue cases but it was later observed that 40 per cent of the positive cases were false. The problem is that we are good at demeaning or defaming ourselves, and the civic staff are leading it from the front.

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