Cidco razes Ulwe bldg, PAP protest NMMC cuts budget for mega projects to tide over fund crisis
DEMOLITION DRIVE Three-storey structure brought down amid heavy police security; politicians back project-affected
The City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) on Friday demolished a ground-plus-three-storey structure in Ulwe’s Sector 10 despite opposition from the projectaffected people (PAP). The PAP had, using political intervention, succeeded in protecting the under construction building, from being demolished on two occasions in the past.
On Friday, when the Cidco team arrived at the spot, tension again gripped Ulwe as the PAP shouted slogans against Cidco and even blocked the approach route in a bid to stop them from bringing down the structure. Heavy police bandobast was in place to maintain law and order.
Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) leader Raviseth Patil said, “We will not tolerate if any PAP structure is touched. This is not political pressure but a social one.”
“Cidco needs to relook its policy and implement it properly. Cidco MD Sanjay Bhatia had said that structures within 200m of the villages will not be touched, but others beyond it will be demolished. These structures are amidst several other buildings and within the limits set by Cidco. How then can Cidco demolish them?” said Patil.
Congress leader Mahendra Gharat said, “For the airport and Nhava Sheva projects, Cidco comes with folded hands to the PAP. It has not taken action
Cidco officials demolish the ground-plus-three-storey structure in Ulwe on Friday.
against the illegal godowns, but is going against the PAP’s houses.”
The warring parties then proceeded to the Uran police station to lodge a complaint.
According to a
Subhash Gosavi, an official from Cidco’s Unauthorised Constructions Department who was heading the demolition drive, was told by the Cidco management that he had to get the job done or he would face departmental
action. Following the orders, Gosavi returned to the site and as the crowd disbursed in the afternoon, demolished the building. Gosavi did not comment on the demolition despite repeated attempts.
In a major decision, NMMC, which has been facing a major financial crunch, has revised its budget spending, relegating several mega projects announced earlier by the ruling NCP, to the back burner and using the funds for more urgent works that are required for the functioning of the city.
The proposal presented in the general body on Friday increased the spending on important civic works like repair and maintenance of roads and footpaths, holding ponds, gardens, crematoriums, toilets and security from Rs224 crore to Rs377 crore.
Spending on big-ticket projects was reduced by over half from Rs281 crore to Rs128 crore.
The ruling NCP had prior to the Lok Sabha, assembly and finally civic elections in April this year approved projects worth hundreds of crores in a hurry. The huge burden on the civic body did not seem to be a concern as the election loomed large. The decisions brought the civic body to bankruptcy as LBT, its main source of income, was abolished.
The projects that have now been sidelined are the ones that the NCP had repeatedly showcased during its election campaign.
With the civic body finding it difficult to meet its regular expenses to maintain the city, it has undertaken a review of the previously approved projects.
According to NMMC sources, the administration has already decided to cancel the proposals of all the corporators who have lost. It is believed that the decision will provide a relief of Rs250 crore to the administration.
The mega projects taken up by the administration were following the instructions of former guardian minister and NCP leader Ganesh Naik.
An NMMC source said: “The projects will remain on the back burner until the financial position of the civic body improves. Tough decisions have to be taken to tide over the financial crisis. Taking up populist projects is not going to help. The priority is providing the basic needs.”