PMC’s decision to repurpose Katraj plot from playground to dairy production a violation of SC order: AAP - Hindustan Times
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PMC’s decision to repurpose Katraj plot from playground to dairy production a violation of SC order: AAP

Jan 09, 2024 07:02 AM IST

On the instruction of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, Kumar had approved the proposal in the city improvement committee on December 20, 2023 to change the playground reservation

The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) move to repurpose the reservation at Katraj from playground to dairy production for Katraj Dairy is violation of the Supreme Court order, alleged Vijay Kumbhar, Aam Aadmi Party leader and RTI activist.

The municipal corporation last week published the advertisement and invited suggestions and objections for changing this reservation. (HT PHOTO)
The municipal corporation last week published the advertisement and invited suggestions and objections for changing this reservation. (HT PHOTO)

The Supreme Court had in an earlier case that led to the fall of Manohar Joshi from chief ministership stated that citizens are vitally concerned with the retention of the public amenities and, therefore, deletion or modification should be resorted to only in the rarest of rare case.

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Appealing to the municipal commissioner Vikram Kumar to stay the civic body’s improvement committee’s decision pertaining to change of reservation of plot adjacent to Katraj Dairy, Kumbhar threatened to approach the court and challenge the decision if it is not withdrawn.

On the instruction of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, Kumar had approved the proposal in the city improvement committee on December 20, 2023 to change the playground reservation at Katraj and hand over the land to Katraj Dairy by introducing dairy reservation.

Subsequently, the municipal corporation last week published the advertisement and invited suggestions and objections for changing this reservation. However, many organisations, including the AAP and the Congress have opposed the decision.

It was in 1998 that the then chief minister Joshi had to resign from his post as his son-in-law was found violating the rules while constructing Sundew, a ten-storey apartment at Pune’s up-market Prabhat Road, on land originally meant for school as per the reservation guidelines laid out in the development plan (DP).

It was Kumbhar who had raised the issue of reservation of plot about Sundew apartment.

Later, the Supreme Court passed the strictures on the then elected members and civic administration too.

Kumbar on Monday wrote to the municipal commissioner citing the SC’s remarks in the order pertaining to Prabhat Road land.

SC in its order had observed that children are particularly facing serious problems concerning facilities for their education and sports, quality of teaching, their health and nutrition. “It is the duty of those in high positions to ensure that their conduct should not let down the people of the country, and particularly the younger generation. The ministers, corporators and the administrators must zealously guard the spaces reserved for public amenities from the preying hands of the builders. What will happen, if the protectors themselves become poachers? Their decisions and conduct must be above board. Institutional trust is of utmost importance,” SC had stated.

Court also observed that citizens are vitally concerned with the retention of the public amenities, and, therefore deletion or modification should be resorted to only in the rarest of rare case, and after fully examining as to why the concerned plot was originally reserved for a public amenity, and as to how its deletion is necessary. “Otherwise it will mean that we are paying no respect to the efforts put in by the original planners who have drafted the plan, as per the requirements of the city, and which plan has been finalised after following the detailed procedures as laid down by the law. Suggested safeguards for the future.”

Protest

To condemn the scrapping of playground reservation at Katraj plot, local organisations and political parties, including the Maha Vikas Aghadi, have planned agitations in front of the Pune Municipal Corporation building at 11 am on Tuesday. They have also planned to hold various sports activities at the protest site.

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