Ex-CM rewrote plot to benefit builders

12.11.2010 · Posted in All

ASHOK CHAVANFormer Chief Minister (CM) Ashok Chavan has become the king of controversy. As if the Adarsh scam was not enough, his nod to changes in reservation of land in the city is questionable.

Just before Chavan resigned as CM, the Urban Development Department (UDD) of the state had changed the status of a plot of land, reserved for a cultural centre, to a residential zone. And the cultural centre was shifted to a plot that was reserved for a garden.

The UDD had issued a notification (tps-1810/515/cr2418/2010/ud-13) on October 27, 2010. It says that the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) had submitted the proposal for modification of reservation status on February 13, 2010.

The cultural centre was to come up on site number 95 of the development plan (DP), which is a 600 sq metre plot. The garden was to come up on site no 91, which is a 30,000 sq metre area.

Now, the reservation status has been changed and the 600 sq metre area, earmarked for the cultural centre, has been completely deleted and turned into a residential zone. It means some builder may have benefitted from this change.

The cultural centre was then conveniently shifted to the 30,000 sq metre plot, which was to be a garden. The new garden will now be smaller by 2,000 sq metres. This is because, the cultural centre plot’s size was increased from 600 sq metres when the reservation was shifted.

A K Dhavle, deputy engineer of the town planning department of PCMC told Mirror that the PCMC had followed all rules and regulations before deleting and changing reservation status.

According to him,  the “measurement of the land was not suitable for the cultural centre and so we shifted it to the garden plot”.

However, when the Mirror team asked him why the 600 sq metre area was not reserved for any public purpose and, instead, made a residential zone, Dhavle did not have an answer.

Funnily enough, the Morwadi corporator, where the changes have happened, was unaware about it. When the Mirror asked Akhtar Husain Choudhari, who is a Congress corporator, if he was okay with the change in reservation status, he was shocked.

He had no idea the cultural centre had been deleted and shifted to the garden plot. “Morwadi is a densely populated area and it doesn’t have any place where people can celebrate or hold functions in.

That is why the land was reserved for a cultural centre in the DP, which was made in the 1995. I have been trying to acquire land for it since 2008. I have told the PCMC authorities about it many times.”

Interestingly, former CM Ashok Chavan had the UDD portfolio, which deals with modifications in the DP. Chavan left the post on November 9, 2010. Following his resignation, few cases of such alterations in reservation has been revealed.

Independent corporator Ujwal Keskar has alleged that the ex-CM permitted a change in the reservation of a plot of land near Uruli garbage depot, from agriculture and to no-development zone to residential zone, before he resigned.

“The UDD allowed changes in survey number 21/1 in Uruli, but as per the regional development plan, this was a no-development zone. Also, the Parvati final plot no 47a, reserved for a garden and open space, has been changed to a residential zone.”

This has come right after the director of the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) proposed to the state government to delete the reservation of a 2.2-acre plot of prime land meant for public and semi-public purpose recently.

The UDD had issued an order recently in this regard, in which land in survey no 19A/2B in Pashan, shown as public and semi-public zone of NCL, was deleted.

As per the rules, once the reservation status of a public or semi-public zone is deleted, it becomes a residential zone and builders can contruct here.

The UDD order had stated that the land owner Prakash N Baldota and the NCL director had requested the government to delete the reservation under provisions of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966. Accordingly, the state government had made the change.

Keskar has demanded that the state government stay these changes in reservations during Chavan’s tenure to residential zones, as it benefits builders and robs people of public amenities.

While rules have not been broken technically speaking, the changes are questionable as the deletion of reservation status does not benefit anybody but builders and developers.

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