Digging up roads for public utilities to cost more, PMC hikes charges

Already under criticism for charging heavily for digging roads for laying down public utilities, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), despite instructions from Deputy Chief Minister and Pune Guardian Minister Ajit Pawar to reduce the rate has decided to increase them.

"The civic administration had proposed to increase the road or footpath restoration charge after digging by service providers. The new rate of Rs 2,600 per metre instead of the existing Rs 1,900 per metre has been approved unanimously by all party members," said Baburao Chandere, chairman of standing committee.

He said there was no option but to recover the cost of damage done to road and footpath by digging to lay utility lines. "There has been a demand of lowering the rate as it might affect infrastructure development by different service providers but we have nothing to do with it. We want to think of the interest of the PMC," Chandere said.

When pointed out that this might lead to corrupt practices with more corporators joining hands with service providers and civic staff to get utility lines, the standing committee chairperson said that it was up to the civic administration to keep a tab on illegal practices even if it is done with the consent of the local corporator.

The PMC will now charge Rs 2,600 per metre instead of Rs 1,900 per metre for laying open cables, Rs 3,600 per metre instead of Rs 2,900 per metre for laying cables covered with PVC pipes and Rs 4,500 per metre instead of Rs 3,800 per metre for laying cables covered with RCC pipes.

He said those digging up roads illegally will have to pay thrice the actual price. "Road digging without permission of PMC will be regularised if the agency or person concerned paves it back and pays thrice the amount charged for digging up the area," he said adding the earlier penalty was twice the charge for digging roads.

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