Govt Nod For Expansion Of Village Sites
The city's fringes will soon witness a construction boom as the state government has approved the expansion of existing boundaries of gaothans (village sites). This would mean more agriculture land around the city will now be used for residential purpose.
Gaothan is the village area used for settlements. Construction is allowed only in this area as land beyond the gaothan is used for non-residential purposes like agriculture.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday evening accepted the Town Planning (TP) department's proposal to expand boundaries of village sites in Pune district.
With this expansion, a big chunk of agriculture holding will now fall in gaothan area.
Land holders can apply to the collector to seek conversion of land use from agricultural to nonagricultural purpose under the Gaothan Expansion Scheme. They can then sell these plots or themselves construct residential projects.
A town planning official said that massive migration and unaffordable housing in the city is forcing people to settle in villages around Pune. "In the last few years, gaothans are teeming with people. This has given rise to illegal constructions within gaothan and outer areas. The government felt it was necessary to make land available for residence to the local people," he said.
However, experts and town planners have a different take on the government move. Town planning expert RamchandraGohad said, "Illegal construction is already rampant in villages surrounding Pune. People have used maximum Floor Space Index (FSI) and constructed buildings inside and outside gaothan areas. The government has taken this step to legalise all illegal buildings keeping an eye on the assembly elections," he said.
Gohad added the move is not going to ensure planned development. "The state government should work on developing satellite townships or implement town planning schemes in villages. For comprehensive development of Pune city and region, the state government should make Pune Metropolitan Development Authority functional," he said.
Developers have predictably welcomed the move as it would open up large tracts of land for construction. Rohit Gera, vice president, CREDAI Pune-Metro, said the development will help the entry of well planned residential projects to cater to the housing needs of Pune's rising population.
However, he said the move would not impact realty prices in the city. "In fact, there will be upward pressure on realty prices as the government has imposed the provision of housing for economically weaker sections on builders. The government's decision to expand village boundaries will facilitate moving of construction and development activities to the city's periphery. With the merger of 23 villages, developers have already started moving away from central city areas. This new move will create additional scope (for construction business)," said Gera. He added, "The villages should ensure that the money they get from construction business is used to develop infrastructure. People are going to look for housing in periphery areas, but this can happen only if housing projects have matching basic infrastructure."
Times of India, 21 June, 2014, pg 4
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