Pune: Court, Maharashtra Government Stays Demolition Of Houses In Ambil Odha Slums Near Dandekar Bridge

Anti-Encroachment Drive At Dandekar Bridge
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Mrunal Jadhav
Pune, June 24, 2021: Maharashtra State Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde today directed the Pune municipal administration to postpone the demolition of houses in Ambil Odha slum area near the Dandekar bridge. The information was given after discussing the matter with Deputy Chief Minister and Pune District Guardian Minister Ajit Pawar.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) city president Prashant Jagtap said, “By taking action on people living in Ambil Odha slum, the municipal administration has brought 133 slum families on the streets during the monsoon. The local corporators, local MLAs and local MP in the area belong to the BJP which is in power in the PMC. However, this action taken without any consideration from the point of view of humanity is reprehensible. In particular, after the uproar over this action, Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol has taken a stand that the Municipal Corporation has nothing to do with this action, which is objectionable. The mayor should not shirk responsibility for this action. Taking credit for good deeds, the mayor also needs to show generosity in accepting responsibility for wrong deeds.”

A slum rehabilitation project has been announced in Ambil Odha area. Accordingly, the Pune municipal corporation (PMC) was in the process of demolishing the encroached houses, which created tension due to the opposition of the locals. Taking note of this, the Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Council, Dr Neelam Gorhe held an emergency meeting today through video conferencing. The meeting was attended by Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil, Minister Sunil Kedar, Pune Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar and other senior officials.

“The demolition of their houses without any prior notice to the residents of Ambil Odha should be stopped immediately. Also, they should not be made homeless in the rainy season, for which alternative arrangements should be made and permanent houses should be given to the affected people,” Gorhe said.

Urban Development Minister Shinde said, “The state government is positive about giving houses to all. The role of the government is to give justice to the people and not to make anyone homeless. At present, those whose houses have been demolished are being rehabilitated and the government has a positive role to play in giving them their rightful homes in the near future.”

It was informed in the meeting that a meeting will be held in the presence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister and Pune Guardian Minister Ajit Pawar, Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Council Dr Neelam Gorhe to resolve the issue of rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, a court has adjourned the hearing on the demolition of houses till July 7 and has directed to resolve the issue at the government level. Gorhe thanked the court and the government.

As per the instructions of Urban Development Minister Shinde, Pune Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar, Slum Rehabilitation Authority Chief Executive Officer Rajendra Nimbalkar, Pune City Engineer Prashant Waghmare met Gorhe. The details were fixed with a view to provide further information to the public regarding the rehabilitation of the citizens of Ambil Odha from time to time. The next outline will be decided after talking to the citizens.

Today, the residents of Ambil Odha are being relocated to Rajendra Nagar. Temporary relocation is underway. Eligible families will be rehabilitated as per the survey. A five-member committee has been appointed for the project, said Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar.

Despite the disclosure by the municipality and the builder, the demolition of houses continued. Some locals challenged this in the Pune court through their lawyers. Following an immediate hearing, the court adjourned the anti-encroachment proceedings.

The court said, “These people are going to be displaced. There is no record before the court to rehabilitate them. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to demolish the houses of people. Therefore, we are postponing the demolition action of Pune Municipal Corporation till these people are rehabilitated. The stay will be till further orders.”