Pune: Corporators are insisting that a policy for Biodiversity Park (BDP) zones in the city needs to be formulated allowing construction up to certain extent. However, the state government has already banned construction in the BDP zones.
The opposition party members did not participate in the discussion as the mayor did not give into their demand that many of them wanted to speak on the Environment Status Report (ESR) for 2017-18, for which the meeting was called.
Many corporators from the ruling party pushed their demand to allow 10-12 percent construction in the BDP zones.
District guardian minister Girish Bapat is also in favour of allowing 12 percent construction as is done under the Mahabaleshwar pattern. Corporator Amol Balwadkar, Haridas Charwad, Kiran Dagade and Dilip Vede aggressively supported this demand.
The corporators said under the current BDP policy, there is no specific provision to protect the hills in the city. The civic body has reserved these hills for the BDPs. However, there is no mechanism in place to protect these hills from encroachments.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is pushing this demand for a long time. BJP leaders in the city claimed that the hills around the city could be saved only by a allowing minimal construction. Otherwise, these zones will be encroached upon. The state government had issued a “no construction” notification in 2015. The ruling party is of the view that the state government must revise the notification.
In August 2015, the government had issued the notification stating that no construction would be allowed in the BDPs. The state had, then, rejected the demand to allow constructions by land owners in the BDPs using 8% of plot area for residential purpose.
In Mahabaleshwar, the state government has allowed 12 percent construction. Therefore, the ruling BJP plans to apply the same pattern in Pune. Since the ruling party is in favour of allowing construction in the city, there is a likelyhood of the state government revising its earlier notification in the near future. Green activists are likely to oppose this move.
Besides this, many issues were raised by corporators in the meeting, including the deterioration of environment in the city. Trees are being chopped and the green cover of the city is reducing. The central government is not releasing funds for environment protection in the city. The situation of solid waste management is not improving due to lack of serious efforts by the civic body.
BJP city unit chief’s presence
† A large number of BJP corporators spoke on the ESR. There was a list of 32 corporators, who wanted to speak on the issue. The list increased suddenly on Wednesday morning, as the BJP city unit chief Yogesh Gogawale appeared in the gallery. Since there were more speakers from the ruling party, the opposition members did not get chance to speak. Hence, they demanded extension of the general body meeting for one more day. But it was not accepted by the mayor.