Pune: Stunned by the 'uncharitable' demand of private entities to pay for the space utilization, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has now decided to build its infrastructure of quarantine and isolation centres. The Estate and Management department of PMC has also started working on this initiative.
Recently, a management institute and marriage hall owner had demanded that PMC should pay crores as a charge for using their private properties as quarantine and isolation centres for COVID-19 patients for the last three months. The PMC officials were shocked over this 'uncharitable' approach of private entities and requested the District Collector to guide them regarding payment of any such charges.
Also Read: Coronavirus Pune: Owners demand compensation from PMC for using private properties as quarantine centres
The PMC is presently using 11 properties as quarantine and isolation centres while 74 other properties are kept reserved. Of these properties, some are government buildings while others are private hostels, institutes, schools, grounds and other spaces.
PMC's Estate and Management Department Head Rajendra Muthe said, "During the initial stages of the COVID-19 crisis, it was not possible for the civic body to build adequate quarantine and isolation facilities at a short notice. So we had taken private properties and spaces and converted them to quarantine centres. The government can acquire the spaces given to private entities. But now if the owners are demanding rent for the property usage, we are not in a position to pay them. We can pay the maintenance charges and power utility bill only. So we have decided that instead of using private properties, the PMC will build its own infrastructure of quarantine and isolation centres."
Former Deputy Mayor Dr Siddharth Dhende said, "The PMC should stop giving all facilities to the private entities who have demanded payment for letting the civic body use its property during a crisis like Covid-19 pandemic. The PMC and government should take back its land which has been handed over to private owners. At a time when the private players should be helping the government and civic authorities, they are demanding Rs 2000 per day charges. The PMC should immediately take action against them."