PIL Challenges Power Of Pune Municipal Commissioner To Give Away Lands Reserved For Developing Public Amenities To Private Entities At Commercial Rates

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Mubarak Ansari

Pune, 17th September 2021: After eight NGOs from Pune, Nationalist Congress Party’s office bearer has filed public interest litigation (PIL) in Bombay High Court demanding full disclosure about the status of all the lands reserved for developing public amenities in Pune.


The PIL filed by educationist and social worker Dr Saagar Balwadkar who is also Vice President of the NCP Pune unit, demands that instead of leasing the lands reserved for developing public amenities to private entities on commercial terms, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) must develop the public amenities on their own. It is the Constitutional duty of the PMC and their responsibility towards the residents of Pune. PMC is trying to hide its inefficiency and, on the contrary, trying to wrongly raise revenue from the lands reserved for public amenities.


The PIL filed on September 16 also challenges the authority/powers available U/s 79 of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act 1949, upon which the PMC is relying for leasing the land parcels reserved for the development of public amenities to private entities on commercial terms. The PIL claims that the powers under the U/s 79 are for routine subjects and not available for disposal of special subjects like lands reserved for developing public amenities.


The PIL further demands full disclosure of the plan of PMC to develop the public amenities and demands actual development of the Public Amenities as per statutory provisions under the MRTP Act and the UDCPR. Further, the PIL demands public participation in the matter of the development of public amenities.


On Behalf of the petitioner, Advocate Satya Muley said, “Why will a private entity take the land reserved for developing public amenity on lease at a commercial rate and then develop a public amenity on it? The plan does not sound logical. Further, if the powers U/s 79 of MMC Act are to be considered unfettered, then the day is not far when PMC, for raising revenue, will lease out every inch of land in Pune. Therefore, the interpretation and scope of these powers u/s 79 are challenged in the PIL.”