Pune: The graph of Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) showcases a curve of ups and downs but mostly, the growth has been upward in 2017.
This year, Pune Cantonment celebrated its 200th anniversary. On its bicentenary celebration, the administration had produced a documentary film that takes into account, the development of urban cantonment from being a military base, highlighting its historical relevance for residents of PCB. Chief Executive Officer of PCB DN Yadav has also penned down the 200 years of Pune Cantonment's journey in his book, 'The ballad of 200 years'.
It is also heading towards becoming a smart cantonment, under which it has set up several smart projects. Here is a recount:
Clean and Green cantonment
The biggest challenge facing PCB administration for past two years was managing the heap of garbage generated at the site of trenching ground in Hadapsar. This year, the board planned and executed various cleanliness and awareness works for improvement of the environment as well as enhancement of cleanliness services.
The administration emphasised on door to door segregation and with the help of Janwani and SWaCH, it has managed to segregate over 70 per cent of dry and wet waste from households and decompose it properly.
The vermiculture project undertaken by the board has been diligently pursued and the bio-degradable waste of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Market, open markets at Kumbharawadi, Wanawadi bazar and Ghorpadi bazar as well as from the eateries across the cantonment area is being processed by vermiculture.
Moreover, the areas in cantonment which were being used as dumping grounds have been now been transformed into citizen utility facilities like parks or marriage halls. Fences have been built on all seven bridges that connect PCB and Pune Municipal Corporation roads to avoid throwing of garbages into Bhairoba Nala. The sewage treatment plant, which has the capacity of 20 MLD at Bootee Street, is finally ready to go for a trial of three months from January 2018.
School and hostel
The Veer Savarkar School which has remained abandoned for 15 years is now being revamped and is likely to be ready in the new year. The new campus of Rabindranath Tagore English Medium primary and high school is ready to be inaugurated in 2018. The premises also shares its land with the building for working women's hostel which has a capacity to accommodate 96 women.
Improved medical facilities for cantonment residents
In a first, Pune cantonment run Sardar Vallabhai Patel Cantonment General Hospital (SVPCGH) has started a full-fledged dialysis centre and has already conducted dialysis on 60 patients from November 14. The hospital has added few more facilities like neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), intensive care unit (ICU), specialty and super-specialty outside patient department (OPD) where specialists will always be available.
The biggest blow to the PCB administration in 2017 was the sudden abolishment of vehicle entry tax (VET) after Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced in July. Although, VET was exempted only for a month, PCB incurred a loss of around Rs 80 crore. Cantonment boards across the country were asked to withdraw VET as according to GST, no other taxes can exist. Now, it has been reinstated.
However, this had affected the budget of the board which was half way through implementation of several projects.
It was also embroiled in a small controversy when Kayani Bakery was shut for a month. As per the reports, PCB President Rajiv Sethi had verbally asked the owners to not run the business, as its licence had expired. The issue landed in the court and the bakery was shut for a few days. The iconic bakery is back in business from the end of November.