Days after the urban development department sought a report on the impact of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) regarding the inclusion of 23 areas – originally villages surrounding Pune – within the Pune city limits, the state government finally given his nod to fusion.
Once these areas, which are new real estate hotspots given low land prices, are part of the Pune Municipal Corporation boundaries, the city boundary will substantially increase from 331 square km to 485 square km.
Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde signed an order on Tuesday, paving the way for the merger.
The chairman of the Nationalist Party of Congress city unit and MLA Chetan Tupe, while confirming the development, said that with the order in place, the merger of these areas within the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) limits will begin soon.
“Minister Eknath Shinde signed the proposal for the merger of 23 villages in the PMC. Pune Deputy Minister and Guardian Minister Ajit Pawar was aggressive in merging these villages within the PMC boundaries. As the minister hinted at the nod, the urban development department will formulate a public resolution on this by completing the administrative process soon, ”said Tupe, who is also head of the NCP’s city unit.
These 34 areas were to merge into the city in 2014, although political controversies have halted their inclusion. In 2017, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led the government in the state finally facilitated the merger of only 11 villages in the PMC boundary and promised to merge, the other 23 villages gradually.
The merger move takes on significance for the NCP and Congress as these two parties have political control over these areas, which will help them during the 2022 civic polls. As municipal elections are expected in early 2022, Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) accelerated the merger of these villages into the PMC ahead of the elections.
A senior PMC official said merging these areas into PMC is good. “It would help to start the proper development of these villages. Although they are part of the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA), they did not have sufficient machinery to carry out the development process, “the official said, requesting anonymity.
This official said that while making the merger decision, the state government must give funds to the PMC to erect basic infrastructure such as roads, waterways, drainage and electricity.