Thursday, June 01, 2017

Ignored & fed up, citizens try to lay road in Baner Annexe

Times of India: Shiladitya Pandit: Pune: Thursday, June 1, 2017.
Tired of waiting for Godot, residents of housing societies off the Katraj-Dehu Road bypass pooled in money and resources to build an approach road, only to be stopped by a corporator.
The area off the bypass, frequently marketed as Baner Annexe, houses a number of high-rises. Builders assured wide approach roads to the apartment buyers. But only non-metallic roads lead the latter to home at ground zero even now.
Residents had approached the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) several times for a concrete or a tarred road. They had also filed requests under the RTI Act. But they were in for a shock when they learnt that the land in question was not even under PMC's jurisdiction.
They then approached the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA). They also took too long to respond to their plea. Tired of waiting for Godot twice, the residents decided to lay the road themselves.
Waiting for Godot is a play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait for the arrival of someone named Godot who never arrives.
Aditya Gupta, a local resident, said, "We met the PMC commissioner last year and he told us that the area was just beyond the PMC limits and we should approach the PMRDA. Initially, we did not even get a response from the PMRDA. So, we wrote to the chief minister's office. Only then did we receive an assurance of help from the PMRDA in building the road."
Gupta and other residents said funds were still a problem. So they pooled in money, and got help from a non-government organization (NGO). "A Pirangut-based NGO contacted us and assured partial help regarding resources," said another resident Shailesh Birajdar.
A contractor chosen by the residents had started work on a concrete road two days ago. But all hell broke loose when a nearby corporator objected. "The corporator told the contractor to stop work, claiming that the area is under PMC. A PMC engineer also came here, asking us to pave the road with tar. I am looking forward to the PMC, PMRDA and the local gram panchayat for settling their dispute," Gupta added.