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Court lifts ban on construction for Pune's Baner and Balewadi


On October 11, high court disposed a petition regarding the water supply crisis in Baner and Balewadi, along with providing relief to the builders by lifting a ban on issuance of commencement and occupancy certificates of construction. The embargo had resulted out of excessive construction activities, which were using up a lot of water, leaving the areas scrambling and spending for the basic amenity. The court was hearing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by corporator Amol Balwadkar.

Earlier, the court had restrained the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) from doling out these certificates to the new buildings, while hearing the PIL. The petition stated that over 200 societies were facing problems in securing basic amount of water — 150 litres per person — which is provided by the PMC on daily basis. The overall requirement is 165 lakh litres. However, the PMC only provided 60 lakh litres, which is far from adequate. The report also stated that it had supplied 21,533 water tankers in these areas between 2015 and 2016. Apart from this civic body help, the residents had arranged for 1.40 lakh tankers at the cost of Rs 12 crore in the same duration to replete their supply.

After hearing the case on October 10, Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice NM Jamdar asked for formation of a committee to keep an eye on water supply and the availability scenario, a report of which has to be submitted every two months. Chief government pleader for the state of Maharashtra Abhinandan Vagyani said, "It will be headed by the divisional commissioner and the municipal commissioner, an engineer and one officer from the town planning department. It will work as a grievance redressal mechanism," he said, adding that while it has disposed the petition by lifting the ban, it has also kept it pending in case there are objections to the committee's functioning.

It has also been observed that the permissions given for constructions are impacting the water supply to the citizens. To gauge the situation, the court has asked for construction reports from last five years.

In this duration of hearing, Amol Balwadkar, Bharatiya Janata Party corporator and petitioner claims that he has already seen a difference in the areas. He said, "PMC has been working to better the situation in these areas, results of which are visible. There was no scarcity this year. Even though the court has lifted the ban, it should also be taken into account that this is temporary relief."

Builders and CREDAI members have also welcomed the decision. Amar Manjrekar, owner of Amar builders and member of CREDAI, said, "Many builders had promised property possessions during Diwali. The decision has stalled the possibility as a property cannot be handed over without occupancy certificates. People who had booked the flat had to rent out their flats due to the court’s decision. Now, they will be able to move into their own homes."


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