PCMC chief to go on leave, says demolitions to continue

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With Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Dr Shrikar Pardeshi deciding to go on 52- day leave, tongues have begun wagging about his likely transfer. It is believed that the drive against illegal demolitions that he launched might be slackened and the large-scale administrative reforms he has initiated will be adversely affected.

Some political leaders and civic activists believe that it could be part of the NCP strategy to keep him away for some time so that the drive against illegal construction slows down and public anger against the ruling party subsides. Rumours are also floating in Pimpri-Chinchwad that Pardeshi will get transfer orders once he returns from his leave. This had happened in the case of his predecessor Asheesh Sharma, who went for a training course meant for IAS officers and was transferred upon his return. Even in the Pune Municipal Corporation, Mahesh Zagade went on leave and never returned to take charge as the commissioner.

However, Pardeshi dismissed rumours that his going on leave was linked to a transfer. Dr Pardeshi said he had received the Eisenhower Fellowship — from September 29 to October 16 — for which he was selected in February. "My going on leave has nothing to do with the drive against illegal constructions. Rumours keep floating whenever I take a decision," he said.

Dr Pardeshi said he has been selected for the Eisenhower Fellowship programme for which 21 outstanding professionals in diverse fields from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka will visit the United States for a South Asia Regional Programme. "The state government had given me the green signal to attend the programme. I will be away till October 17," he said.

Before he goes on leave, the civic chief made it clear that the drive against illegal constructions would continue. "All guidelines have been formulated, strategy has been decided regarding illegal constructions. As and when police bandobast is available, the drive will be carried out," said Dr Pardeshi. Additional Municipal Commissioner Prakash Kadam is likely to take charge in Pardeshi's absence.

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