Pimpri: The Mumbai High Court (HC) order banning new constructions in Baner and Balewadi in the absence of adequate water supply may open a Pandora’s box as more and more citizens from Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad are coming forward with similar demands.
This issue is prevalent mainly in newly developed areas. In all, 22 such areas have been identified, which are struggling to get water and other amenities due to haphazard development that took place in the past 10-15 years.
In the near future, people from other areas facing similar problems are planning to push this demand with the authorities as increasing constructions are putting more burden on an already weak civic infrastructure.
Last two decades witnessed rapid residential and commercial development near IT parks. The development took place without proper city planning. The authorities have thoughtlessly issued building permissions without providing basic facilities to residents.
For instance, population of Hinjewadi village has been growing rapidly as hundreds of high-rises have been coming up ever since Rajiv Gandhi IT Park was set up in Hinjewadi. The village gram panchayat could not handle the growing demand for basic facilities such as water, roads, electricity and underground drains in the area. The population of the village has doubled to 80,000 in just three years. The ground water level has gone down considerably due to the excessive number of borewells.
Except big township projects such as Blue Ridge, all other residential buildings entirely depend on tanker water. Residential buildings having 100 flats spend Rs 1.5 to 2 lakh per month on water tanker bills.
Ravindra Sinha of the Hinjawadi IT Park Residents Welfare Association (HIRWA) said, “When the residents from the area are struggling to get water, the authorities are passing the buck. So far, the Hinjawadi gram panchayat has been telling us that it would lay a water pipeline from Kasarsai dam. However, there has been no progress on this front. So, I have posted a complaint on the Aple Sarkar portal of the State government for knowing the status of the project. The complaint was forwarded to the block development officer of Mulshi, who asked the gram panchayat to reply. Its reply was a rude shock for us as it said that the project could not be implemented owing to opposition from farmers.”
According to Sinha, the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA) is not taking any responsibility. In Pimpri-Chinchwad, the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) provides water to residential areas. However, in case of Hinjawadi, they are not doing anything. There are some 22 pockets in and around Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad facing similar problems. He said, “We are in touch with people from these areas and planning to solve this problem jointly. We will push our demand at every possible forum.”
Charanjitsingh Butalia, a resident of Wagholi, said, “Wagholi has witnessed the highest number of new residential projects due to its proximity to Kharadi IT park. Residents from this area are struggling to get civic amenities. Construction should be banned in the area, till the authorities come up with a proper plan. So, we will leave no stone unturned to bring our demands to the authorities’ notice. We are speaking to people and planning to highlight our problems.”