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Gera in News

Property tax up by 10%, water 50%

Times of India - 13 February, 2015

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has found serious irregularities in the slum rehabilitation projects undertaken by the municipal corporations of both Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad. In its report, the CAG has stated that beneficiaries of the projects, sanctioned under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), were arbitrarily chosen and the poorest of the poor were eliminated in the process.

Slum rehabilitation projects sanctioned between September 2006 and March 2012 by the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee were test checked in 14 corporations in the state including Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad.The other civic bodies included Thane, Kalyan Dombivali, Mira-Bhayandar, Nashik, Nanded, Kolhapur, Sangli, Malegaon, Dhule, Amravati, Aurangabad and Latur.

The report, tabled in the state legislature last December stated that PMC cancelled as many as 26,650 dwelling units or tenements between May 2011 and December 2013 as land was not available for construction. Even PCMC cancelled 6,532 tenements for the same reason. “ As availability of land was not ascertained by the municipal corporations or their consultants before preparing the detailed project reports, an expenditure of Rs 5.79 crore incurred on consultancy fee towards preparing the DPRs proved to be infructuous. The benefit of affordable housing also did not accrue to the urban poor,'' the CAG report said.

Among the many observations in the CAG report is one on the Pune Municipal Corporation's project sanctioned for the urban poor in February 2009 in which 4,000 tenements for eight slums were to be constructed. The work orders were issued in June 2009. Each proposed tenement's carpet area was meant to be 25 sqm. However, the corporation passed a resolution to allot tenements to only those slum dwellers who resided in tenements that had a carpet area of more than 10 sq mtrs.As a result, 2,245 huts were not selected for redevelopment as the area of the huts was less than 10 sq mtrs. This arbitrary criteria to identify beneficiaries eliminated the poorest of the poor, the report said.

In another case, the central government sanctioned construction of 672 tenements on Link Road in Pimpri at a cost of Rs 28.37 crore. The building plan was sanctioned in May 2010 on land reserved for sewerage treatment plan and vegetable market, but the land reservation was not changed as required under the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act. In April 2013, PCMC constructed 560 tenements. Meanwhile, a writ petition was filed before the Bombay High Court (October 2012) against the PCMC issuing a commencement certificate when the nature of reservation had not been changed.The PCMC could not issue the occupation certificate till February 2014 and the tenements constructed at a cost of Rs 25.27 crore could not be allotted to the beneficiaries.


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