MLAs seek halt to demolition drive

Will not allow civic general body to take place unless CM discusses the issue with us, say MLAs Laxman Jagtap and Vilas Lande

Even as two MLAs have called for an immediate halt to the demolition drive being carried out by the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, eminent citizens from the industrial town have extended their full support to Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi.

Addressing a press conference at the PCMC headquarters on Monday, independent MLAs Laxman Jagtap and Vilas Lande, who are associated with the NCP, threatened that they would not allow the civic general body meeting to take place unless Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan held a meeting to discuss the issue of illegal constructions. "Since he joined the PCMC, the commissioner has been busy in demolishing structures and in the process development work has been adversely affected," they said. "We don't intend to go against the directives of the High Court, but till the chief minister holds a discussion with us, the commissioner should stop his drive against illegal constructions," they stressed.

Jagtap and Lande said they had been trying to meet the CM for the last four-five months but had failed to get an appointment. "Now we have decided that till the chief minister holds a meeting with us, we will urge the corporators not to allow the civic general body meeting to take place," they said.

Accusing the commissioner of being a "publicity monger", the MLAs said: "By undertaking the drive against illegal structures, the commissioner is deriving a sadistic pleasure. He seems to be habituated to this."

Stating that the issue pertaining to severing electricity and water connections to illegal structures was scheduled to be discussed in the civic general body meeting, they questioned the commissioner's move to take the decision on demolitions on his own. "This only means the civic general body meeting has no meaning in the eyes of the commissioner," the MLAs said.

While undertaking demolitions, Lande and Jagtap said, PCMC should not just look at the law but also adopt a humanitarian view. "The problem of hyacinth in rivers has increased in the town. This has spawned the mosquito menace triggering health concern among citizens. But the Pardeshi administration is doing little for the health of the citizens," they said.

Stating that they were not opposed to the commissioner, Jagtap and Lande said: "We however are against the commissioner's attitude...We are tired of being spectators while the commissioner functions at his whims and fancies. If all corporators come together, we will show him what we can do. If the chief minister does not call a meeting by next week, we will sit on a fast to press for our demand."

Meanwhile, a delegation of eminent citizens from Pimpri-Chinchwad has decided to meet the commissioner and express their support to his drive to "clean up the mess at PCMC" and provide an effective and transparent administration. "We have decided to meet the civic chief and express our support to the good work that he has been carrying out since he joined office six months ago. The kind of actions like demolishing illegal structures, transferring employees, initiating probes, scaling down school budget, conducting audit of departments are unprecedented in the history of PCMC," said Sathyan Iyer, a retired income tax officer who will lead the delegation. Pardeshi said he would meet the citizens at his office around 1 pm on Thursday. The delegation comprises D G Baliga from Pimpri, Babu Nair from Morwadi, Domnic Lobo from Sangvi, Sanjeevani Pandey from Chinchwad, Hrushikesh Tapshalkar from Nigdi, Shridhar Chalkha from Akurdi, Williams Naidu from Akurdi, Shrikant Jadhav from Kasarwadi and Jayant Kariya from Dapodi among others.

No comment, says Pardeshi

Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi refused to comment on the points raised and charges levelled by the MLAs. The civic chief had all along maintained that what he was doing was as per the High Court's directives. Pune Newsline had on Monday highlighted how the commissioner was aggressively going about his task of ensuring what he described an effective, transparent and accountable administration.

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