PCMC corporators try to reason with Pardeshi, tell him to go slow

Demolition Drive Ask him to hold 'loss-for-all' drive until govt comes up with regulation order

Uniting against the demolition of illegal constructions, corporators of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) on Wednesday appealed Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi to adopt a "humane approach".

Calling the drive a "loss for all", corporators cutting across party lines made it clear they wanted the civic administration to go slow until the state government comes out with its promised notification to regularise the structures.

A far cry from the acrimonious debate over the issue in the earlier civic general body meetings, where corporators had breathed fire at the administration, Wednesday's meeting saw corporators trying to make the administration understand the need to abandon its "anti-people" approach and go soft on illegal constructions.

Their argument was that both the citizens and the administration had erred and that a middle path needed to be found. "Citizens are clearly in the wrong as they set up structures without proper permissions. The administration has also been caught on the wrong foot as it turned a blind eye to illegal structures coming up," the corporators said.

Starting the debate, Opposition leader Shrirang Barne said, "There are thousands of properties that have not been assessed for tax by the PCMC. The state government is likely to regularise such properties, which have been provided with electricity and water connections. Without waiting for the promised notification of the state government for regularisation of such structures, the PCMC should start assessing them for tax. The civic administration will thus get revenue in crores this fiscal itself. This also means the administration would not be required to hike tax in its upcoming budget," he said.

Barne, a Shiv Sena corporator, said the administration should go slow on the drive. "Citizens have taken wrong steps and the administration has erred. Let us look at the future... Let us ensure that in future no illegal structures come up. The administration should have to put a mechanism in place to ensure citizens cannot set up illegal structures," he said. Barne said the Pardeshi administration should advise the state government about structures that can be regularised. "On its own, the administration should adopt a humane approach," he said.

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