Katraj, 4th January 2024: In a controversial move by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), the decision to cancel the reservation of a 3.591-hectare playground in Katraj Gaothan and allocate the space to the Pune District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited, commonly known as Katraj Dairy, has raised eyebrows. The decision, made during a meeting of the City Improvement Committee, highlights the ongoing challenges of diminishing open spaces in the city.
The City Improvement Committee’s decision to cancel the playground reservation will undergo scrutiny through citizen objection notices. Following this, a report will be submitted to the Maharashtra State Government, which will make the final decision on the proposed reservation change. The move has drawn attention to reported ‘encroachments’ on the playground, further intensifying concerns.
The decision to alter the reservation is rooted in the need to accommodate the growing population, address infrastructure demands, and facilitate the development of reservations in the city’s Development Plan (DP). The densely populated Dhankawadi, Balaji Nagar, and Katraj areas in South Pune face a shortage of playgrounds, making the utilization of existing spaces a contentious issue.
Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar initiated the process with a letter dated February 3, 2021, advocating for the removal of the playground reservation and its allocation for the expansion of the Katraj Dairy. The subsequent correspondence between the Urban Development Department of the Maharashtra State Government and PMC, spanning February 2021 to December 2023, culminated in the technical process completion.
During a City Improvement Committee meeting on December 19, 2023, the PMC Commissioner proposed inviting objections and suggestions from citizens, marking a crucial step in the legal process. The forthcoming period will witness the initiation of the objection and suggestion phase, followed by the final submission of the proposal to the government for ultimate approval.