Pune's BDP snippets
A high-level meeting headed by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Friday gave the go-ahead for four per cent construction in the proposed bio-diversity parks (BDPs) around Pune. Interestingly, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had recently declared his opposition to any construction in the green zones, a stance he adopted after all along being in favour of construction. With the clearance for construction in the BDPs, the process of approval of the development plan (DP) for the 23 villages that have been merged in the Pune municipal limits gains momentum. “The DP is in the approval stage. It will now need the chief minister’s signature,” a government officer said, adding that the DP file was with Chavan on Friday evening. Senior state government officers strongly backed construction in the BDPs. The BDPs were “impractical”, they said, adding that the state government and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) would not be able to compensate the farmers whose land would have to be acquired for the BDPs. The draft DP for the 23 villages, which was approved by the PMC in 2005, recommends that 1,600 hectares of land in these villages be reserved for BDPs. Of this, 978 hectares are privately owned for which the PMC would have to pay compensation. According to the state government, as much as Rs 3,000 crore would have to be paid by way of compensation. Government officials said that if the BDPs were reserved and no construction was allowed, they would be soon be encroached upon by slum-dwellers. Chavan holds the charge of the urban development department (UDD), which is the final authority to approve the DP. Last week, Ajit Pawar had said that Chavan had announced four per cent construction in the proposed BDPs “in a haste”. He said that the chief minister should have taken all stakeholders into confidence before such a major decision. Interestingly, it was on the insistence of NCP leaders that the Congress had changed its stance on BDPs, leading to Chavan’s announcement of four per cent construction.