Pune, 13th February 2024: The Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) under the Maharashtra state government has initiated the process of gathering details from seven cantonment boards, including Pune and Khadki, regarding plots that could be leased or utilized commercially following the proposed merger of civil areas with nearby corporations.
The DMA has asked the cantonments to compile information on civic facilities, infrastructure, the number of serving and retired employees, financial status, and citizens’ opinions on the merger plans.
Besides Pune and Khadki, cantonments in Dehu Road (Pune), Bhingar (Ahmednagar), Deolali (Nashik), Kamptee (Nagpur), and Aurangabad (Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar) are also included in this directive. The DMA aims to facilitate a smooth excision process by acquiring these details, as merger proposals were received from Deolali and Aurangabad cantonments last year, according to a senior DMA official.
Senior cantonment board officials mentioned that the state government has previously sought clarification on various matters. They emphasized the importance of empty plots in cantonment areas, which would become state government property post-merger, and how the DMA is keen on these plots for revenue calculations.
Most vacant land plots are situated near military areas of some cantonments, particularly in Pune and Khadki. The civil pockets, close to key defence establishments, are considered prime properties, and their inclusion in municipal corporations after the merger would mean that the army authorities will no longer have control over the Floor Space Index (FSI). Hence, the cantonment authorities must identify areas for potential merger, according to a cantonment official.
Pune Cantonment, with approximately 250 acres of civil area pockets across eight wards, and Khadki Cantonment, with about 150 acres of civil defence land pockets, are significant players in this process.
Activist Rajabhau Chavan from the Pune cantonment urged the cantonment board to prioritize citizens’ views and communicate clearly regarding the potential impact of the civil areas’ merger on the residents.