Pimpri, 4th February 2024: The Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) faces allegations of mismanagement in the development plan process, with members of the Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) asserting malpractice. Accusations include the unauthorized publication of the development plan by PMRDA and failure to adhere to the mandated procedures.
As per the committee members, PMRDA was obligated to prepare a draft development plan and submit it to the MPC for approval. However, PMRDA reportedly took it upon themselves to publish the development plan without the necessary approval from the Metropolitan Planning Committee. Additionally, objections and instructions from stakeholders were addressed irregularly, with hearings conducted in front of a single committee member instead of the appointed committee.
Vasant Bhase, a member of the Metropolitan Planning Committee, highlighted these issues during a press conference held in Pimpri. He disclosed that the committee had filed a petition in the High Court against these alleged irregularities, resulting in a court order that explicitly maintained a stay on the earlier directive. Consequently, PMRDA is prohibited from taking any action concerning the development plan.
Bhase emphasized that despite the court’s directive, PMRDA continued to proceed with actions related to the development plan, raising concerns about malpractice. He was joined by other committee members, including Sukhdev Tapkir, Deepali Hulawle, Santosh Bhengde, and Priyanka Bhengde-Pathare, in addressing the press conference.
The MPC Committee, authorized under Section 243 Z E (1), holds the responsibility to prepare a draft plan for the development of PMRDA. The irregularities allegedly occurred when the MPC directed PMRDA to prepare the draft development plan without including any elected representatives.
The controversy deepened as PMRDA released the development plan on August 2, 2021, without adhering to the mandated procedure of submitting it to the MPC for publication. Furthermore, objections and suggestions from stakeholders were reportedly mishandled, with decisions made at the PMRDA level rather than the appointed committee.
In response, the committee members filed a petition in the Bombay High Court, resulting in a stay on the proceedings related to the development plan. The court also cancelled a meeting scheduled for January 24, 2024, where PMRDA sought approval from the MPC.