PMRDA at last?

In a major boost to the development of Pune region, municipal corporations and councils, cantonment boards as well as grampanchayats will finally come under the purview of a parent body, which will ensure integrated development.The Maharashtra state government has decided to form Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) by December 2008. The government plans to amend the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act to help clear the hurdles in forming the long-pending authority.“The PMRDA will be formed by December 2008, in any case. The state government has decided to amend the MRTP Act to include the city development chapter in the same. The move will help in integrated development of about 2,200 sq km region, falling under the PMRDA,” principal secretary T C Benjamin said.Elections for the 30-member Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) were held in April 2008.
Total area under PMRDA 2,200 sq km ( approx).
Municipal corporations : Pune, PCMC .
Municipal councils : Lonavla, Talegaon, Bhor,Shirur and Saswad.
Cantonment boards :Pune, Khadki and Dehu Road.
Grampanchayats: 100.
The thirty-member body of the Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) that came into existence in April holds the key to development in the entire Pune metropolitan region. The committee is expected to enhance co-ordination between the various government agencies and local governing bodies, on the lines of the District Planning and Development Council (DPDC). It will also be responsible for the integrated development plan for the region.“The Pune region requires integrated development, including in the rural areas around Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. The MPC will play a major role in drafting the development plan for the region as a whole. As of now, every local governing body has its own plan which is implemented individually. Not only does this lead to problems of funds for the fringe areas but, sometimes, prevents a holistic development of the entire metropolitan area, which could be avoided in the future with the MPC and the PMRDA becoming functional,” said newly elected member of the MPC Ujwal Keskar.Keskar said the PMRDA would raise funds for the implementation of the draft development plan as drawn up by the MPC. “In the end, the actual role and operations of the PMRDA is the government’s decision. But there is need to give a free hand to the MPC, as also the PMRDA, for planning and developing the region. This is in accordance with the true spirit of the 74th constitutional amendment, where the MPCs are expected to prepare and implement the development plans,” he said.It may be noted that it is compulsory for state governments to form MPCs for cities that have a minimum population of 30 lakh to claim funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).During the period 1817-1997, a span of 180 years, the Pune urban area has grown from a mere five sq km to 700 sq km, which is 140 times the original area.The city mainly grew during the post-independence period. According to the Pune Municipal Corporation statistics, between 1901 and 2001, Pune’s urban population has grown from 1.64 lakh to about 42 lakh (estimated figure for 2001) which is 25 times the original figure.“The MPC will draft a plan for development and the PMRDA will have to raise funds for its implementation. The burgeoning population of Pune is taking a toll on the lush greenery and hills of the fringe areas. Once we have a detailed development plan for the entire region,it would be much easier to work out solutions for local as well as overall problems,” says Ramchandra Gohad, former deputy director of town planning.
Formation of the MPC and the PMRDA is good news for the fringe locations, as the move will ensure that central government funds under the JNNURM now trickle down from Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad city limits to the surrounding rural and developing areas. As per the 74th constitutional amendment, MPCs are expected to prepare and implement an integrated development plan for a region. The committee deals with matters of common interest including co-ordinating spatial planning of areas under its purview. Areas falling under the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporations, municipal councils, panchayat samitis and gram panchayats, which will be part of the MPC, now stand to partake of the JNNURM funds. Matters of sharing water and other physical resources will be dealt with by the MPC, which will also deal with disputes and matters arising due to overlapping jurisdictions of local bodies. On the whole, these committees will boost the development of rural areas surrounding Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, which were left out of the development planning of the twin cities. The MPCs will prepare integrated development plans and seek funds from the JNNURM, which was earlier restricted to municipal corporations. This is expected to bridge the development gap between the urban and rural areas of the Pune region.

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