PUNE: Flat owners who want to register for deemed conveyance of their housing societies can hope for some relief from paying 1% additional local body cess on the value of flat.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has agreed to look into the matter of this additional burden of 1% local body cess, the collection of which was mandated by the office of Inspector General of Registration (IGR) of the state.
The office of the IGR has been collecting 1% additional cess by way of stamp duty on the documents registered from April 1, 2013 as per the notification issued by the state government. However, the additional cess is being collected under the said notification not only for the new documents registered but also on the conveyance deeds including those documents which are not registered earlier by the old housing societies.
This has caused serious hardship to owners of flats in old housing societies who wanted to complete the formality of conveyance as encouraged by the state’s law on deemed conveyances.
A statement issued by the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (Credai) Maharashtra said on Wednesday that it has been able to convince the chief minister to look into the issue and offer relief to owners of such flats.
After receiving complaints from several flat owners in this category, Credai engaged in a dialogue with both the chief minister and state revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat to reconsider the levy of such additional cess including on such documents like conveyance deed, second sale of flats and the cost of land. Both have agreed to examine the issue, the statement by the realtors’ body said.
Vice-president, Credai-National Satish Magar, who is the immediate past president of Credai Pune Metro, told TOI that there was absolutely no need to extend the collection of the 1% cess to the old flats. “These buildings were completed many years ago, have obtained the necessary completion certificates and the flat owners are paying municipal taxes. Thus, there is no new transaction that the authorities would be registering,” Magar said.
“As it happens there is poor response from flat owners in old societies to avail of the deemed conveyance route where conveyance deed was not done by developers or builders for any reason. If the state wants to collect money on these deemed conveyance deeds on the basis of current value of the flats, the very purpose of the state’s making a law for deemed conveyance will be defeated, as people will not come forward to finish the conveyance formalities,” Magar said.
PUNE: A group of citizens, researchers and activists has prepared ward-wise maps of the draft development plan for old city areas along with proposals to make its interpretation simpler. It will help people submit their objections and suggestions after assessing how the development plan was going to impact their neighbourhood.
The group, called the ‘de-mystification cell’, has a team of seven architects, three geoinformatics experts and a few researchers. The cell aims at helping people know the changes in the development plan and encourage citizens to raise objections about land-use patterns in their areas.
The 20-year DP from 2007 to 2027 was published in March. It was kept open for the people’s suggestion and objections for a month, till April 27. However, the state government gave an extension of 60 days for submitting suggestions and objections.
“The de-mystification cell is functioning full time. A number of people from various parts of the city have visited the cell in the last week or so. The discussions made us realise that de-mystification can truly take place only if we are able to go to the electoral ward level,” said Aneeta Gokhale-Benninger, executive director and professor of sustainable development planning at city based centre for development studies and activities (CDSA), who is a member of the group.
It would elicit objections and suggestions for every ward. “This is a huge undertaking and we need help in the form of manpower. Women can join,” she said.
The proposals will be taken to each ward for discussions. The group will need help in printing the maps, since plans are to give hard copies and base maps where people can make changes. “The team is working entirely pro bono,” Gokhale-Benninger said.
The general body had approved the draft DP for the old city areas in the second week of January 2013. In October 2012, the city improvement committee had approved the plan with special provisions for the metro rail project, a transport hub, expansion of main roads, schemes for housing for the needy and cluster development of dilapidated ‘wada’ structures.
The earlier DP for the old city areas was drafted in 1982 and was passed in 1987. It expired in 1997, but was ex-tended for 10 years since only 20% of the works had been completed. In 2007, the civic body sought another extension from the state government, which set a deadline of December 2010 for a new DP. The civic administration completed and submitted the draft copy of the new DP to the city improvement committee in December 2011.
PUNE: About 364 people who got flats on lease from the Pimpri Chinchwad New Township Development Authority (PCNTDA) about 30 years back may have to vacate their properties for not paying lease charges.
The decision to take the properties back was taken at the PCNTDA meeting held recently. Chief executive officer (CEO) Yogesh Mhase said that not only did the owners fail to pay the lease charges, they also refused to pay fine imposed on them.
Deputy CEO Kishore Pawar said, “The PCNTDA has to recover lease charges and fines amounting to Rs 15 crore. The authority had come out with an amnesty scheme for the defaulters in 2007-08 asking them to pay the original lease charges and 50% of the fine to become legal leaseholders of the flats. But only 10% of the defaulters responded.”
Pawar said, “We can conclude that the defaulters who sold the flats and those who rented them do need these flats. So we will take action to recover these flats in the first phase.”
The tenancy law has a provision by which a person occupying a house for more than 25 years cannot be evicted. Pawar said, “No rental laws are applicable for properties of the PCNTDA. The authority gives its flats on lease to those people who are found eligible. But in this case, the people have not signed any lease deed with the Authority to be the legal occupants of the flats. We will evict them as they have intruded into the flats and are occupying them illegally.”
Mhase admitted it was a big mistake on part of the PCNTDA to not to recover the cost and fine from these allottees. The PCNTDA, which has constructed several residential houses and tenements, allots the properties by a draw of lots. Total 681 people were selected by similar procedure. The owners were directed to pay the lease charges. After they failed to pay up, the PCNTDA imposed fine for delay in payment. Once the lease chargers are levied, a lease deed is concluded.
“Allottees of 156 flats have failed to make a lease deed with the authority and have sold flats to others. Another 169 flat owners did not pay the lease charges but have given the flats on rent. There are 39 flat owners who have not paid the lease charges but have kept the flats locked,” Mhase said.
The flats that are to be taken back are located in Indrayaninagar, Rajwade scheme and low income group (LIG) colony. “All the flats are at least 15 years old and a maximum of around 30 years old. We have not calculated the cost of these flats yet,” Mhase said.
Finally, it is official. Any illegal construction that sprouted up after March 31, 2012 will be demolished by the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. The state government has issued directives to PCMC to demolish these structures as they would not be regularised at any cost.
The government directive came at a meeting convened by Urban Development Department of the state government in Mumbai on May 5. UDD Principal Secretary Manu Kumar Srivastava said all illegal structures that have come up within the municipal corporation jurisdiction will have to be demolished, as the government has decided not to regularise them. These illegal structures have come up in large numbers on reserved land, on public roads and within floodlines. The civic officials said PCMC will now launch its anti-encroachment drive in a big way.
The meeting was convened by the state government to discuss pending proposals of the civic body with the state government. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar presided over the meeting. Among others, Mayor Mohini Lande, Deputy Mayor Raju Misal, MLA Laxman Jagtap, standing committee chairman Navnath Jagtap, NCP House leader Mangala Kadam, NCP unit chief Yogesh Behl and a few top state government officials were present.
As soon as the meeting started, civic office-bearers demanded that illegal constructions that have come up after March 31, 2012 be regularised and the “gunthewari” law be given an extension. Reacting to the demand, Srivastava said these demands cannot be met.
“Illegal constructions that have come after March 31, 2012 would not be regularised. Also, since there are allegations that gunthewari law could be misused, there is no plan to give it an extension. The state government has taken a firm stand on this,” he said.
When contacted, Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi said, “The state government has made it clear that illegal constructions set up after March 31, 2012 would not be regularised. The Principal Secretary said that an amendment to the Act (BPMC Act) was made in March 2012. When the amended Act has come into force, the state government cannot go against its own law.” Besides, he said, the Act has pinned responsibility on officials to ensure that illegal constructions do not come up in their jurisdiction. “Otherwise they would be held responsible and complaints filed against them,” he said.
As regards the illegal constructions that have come up before March 31, 2012, the civic chief said, “The government has made it clear that construction on reserved land, in no development zone, within floodlines and in green zones would be demolished. Only constructions like extension of a gallery are likely to be regularised. The government would declare a policy on this,” he said.
“The state government will place a proposal in this connection in the assembly during the monsoon session,” said Srivastava.
At the meeting, the state government made its stand clear on illegal constructions that have come up before March 31, 2012 in rural areas. Srivastava said the committee that was appointed by the state government to look into illegal constructions that have come up before March 31, 2012 has submitted its report.
The mayor, in the meeting, demanded that the “buffer” zone in Moshi Garbage Depot be reduced and the local residents be provided basic amenities. To this demand, Srivastava directed the PCMC to appoint a committee and submit a report to the state government. “All basic amenities should be given to the local residents,” said Ajit Pawar.
Srivastava also directed that the proposal for giving TDR (Transfer of Development Rights) on the land coming within the floodlines be placed before the civic general body meeting afresh.
“Since those having land in floodlines are going to lose crores, the proposal should be placed before the civic general body meeting once again. After it is approved by the GB, suggestions and objections should be invited from citizens. And then, it should be sent to the state government for final approval,” said Srivastava.
Manipulation of defence land records has just got tougher. Records pertaining to over 75,000 acre of prime defence land in Pune circle have been reduced to a few Gigabytes.
Digitisation of land records was taken up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in February 2011, and forms part of a larger project for preservation of land records, with a total budget of Rs 21.25 crore. Pune Circle’s share is Rs 40 lakh.
The first phase of the project in Pune was supposed to be completed by March this year. However, officials of Defence Estates Office (DEO), Pune Circle, say that 95 per cent of the work is done and only 15 more days will be required to complete the phase.
The deadline for the entire project is February 2014.
An official, on the directions of G S Rajeswaran, Defence Estates Officer (Pune Circle) told The Indian Express, “Some of the most crucial files pertaining to land records of this circle have now been scanned, converted into digital form and will soon be uploaded on the server specifically meant to store these data.”
With almost 17 lakh acres of land, MoD is one of the biggest land holders in the country.
According to the DEO records (Pune circle), the Army’s Southern Command has almost five lakh acres land under its jurisdiction.
The Pune Circle, which includes five cantonment boards, has in the first phase, completed conversion of 1,768 files — comprising five lakh papers — many belonging to the British era, including land acquisition files, bungalow files, defence land, court judgments, government orders among others.
The DEO official further said, “This includes almost 60,000 acres of defence land outside cantonment board limits, while 15,000 acres of defence land is within the limits of the five cantonment boards that come under the purview of DEO, Pune Circle.”
Besides, special machines required for the project have been brought from Germany to be installed at the DEO office, Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) as well as Khadki Cantonment Board (KCB), each costing Rs 35 lakh.
The DEO (Pune Circle) alone has about 6,500 files pertaining to defence lands. While 1,768 files form part of Phase I, details regarding the second phase of work is yet to be announced.
The objective of the project, as the DEO put it, is to use electronic medium for creating digital surrogates from the existing source.
The Director General of Defence Estates (DGDE) website defines the aim of the project as ‘to conserve the rare, vital and critical documents by preservation techniques and improving the storing facilities, to create a central facility of an archive as a facility for preservation and backup for all user organizations besides others’.
The digitization project was run on a pilot basis in Chennai, after the success of which it is being replicated in other locations across the country.
2500 files, five cupboards converted to mere GBs at KCB
Khadki Cantonment Board (KCB) has completed scanning and digitising land records within its limits. Almost 2,500 files that occupy almost five cupboards in the board office have now been converted in digital format. The next step would be to convert these into micro films. This will then form part of the Archival Unit and Research Centre (AU&RC) coming up within KCB limits.
PUNE: Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Friday said the state would support desiltation of small water bodies or village ponds to recharge them and help line them with polythene to check seepage. “Monsoon shortfall may hit agriculture in future too, but every effort will be made to ensure there is no scarcity of drinking water,” he said. He called for a strategy for decentralised water storage systems managed by local communities.
Maharashtra is in a stage where government action is not effective unless it is complemented by the non-governmental organisations working with people, Chavan said.
Government action is rule-bound and the implementation machinery takes a cautious approach as officials do not want to overstep any government decision. “The NGOs possess the flexibility to go the extra mile and improve outcome,” he said.
He was addressing a function organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to felicitate city-based NGO Shashwat, which has won the UNDP Equator Prize 2012. He said the co-existence of government machinery and NGOs would go a long way in bringing the real benefits of government policies to the people.
The government was spending huge amounts of money on water supply through tankers to deficit areas, but at the cost of development funds, he said. “About 18% cultivable land in the state is irrigated and this can be increased only up to 27% given its topography. We only have the option of conserving water,” Chavan said.
Shashwat was selected for the prize from 812 nominations in 113 countries for in recognition of its outstanding work in developing sustainable livelihoods for marginalised tribal communities displaced by the Dimbhe dam in Pune district. The Equator Prize comprises a cash award of $5,000 and a citation. Shashwat was also awarded with a special prize of $15,000 for its efforts in water conservation.
The NGO has helped displaced communities to develop small-scale fishing activities in the Dimbhe reservoir and to improve agricultural production on cultivable land, much of which is on steep slopes. With Shashwat’s support, tribal farmers and fish workers have conserved forest resources and adopted land use practices in the Dimbhe dam catchment that are directly contributing to environmental sustainability.
As a result of Shashwat’s work, the reservoir has been stocked with fish and local fishing families have obtained fishing leases, boats, and nets. Fish workers are now harvesting fish on a sustainable basis and have access to wider markets, increasing their household incomes.
PUNE: The drought-hit Kamkhera village in Beed taluka is all set to try rainwater harvesting, hoping it would end the dry spell. Half the wells in this village have dried up and villagers here have now invited Pune-based Paranjya to help set up two rainwater harvesting plants.
Paranjya, that has introduced several residential societies in Pune to rainwater harvesting as an effective and simple
technique to conserve water, will travel to Beed on May 13 to educate villagers on its benefits of storing rainwater and recharging groundwater aquifers.
Kamkhera’s 6,000-odd villagers currently make do with water from three government tankers which come from the nearby reservoir daily. Of the 20 borewells in the village, each dug 250 feet deep, nearly half have completely dried up. The others, with their daily yield of about 1,000 litres each, hardly meet the village’s need.
Rainwater harvesting, premised on directly injecting the existing borewells with collected rainwater, could prove to be the breakthrough against drought in the region, believes Shashikant Dalvi, the brain behind Parjanya, who has been invited by the village panchayat to help set up rainwater-harvesting plants on an experimental basis. “The village already has borewells, but their yield has gone down. So far, the villagers have been allowing the rainwater to drain away. I will meet them and explain the importance and process of collecting it and recharging their borewells with it. We will set up two rainwater harvesting plants in the village on an experimental basis. Once the rains come, the benefits will be visible immediately in the form of a recharged groundwater table, which could help yield water for larger parts of the year,” Dalvi says.
Dalvi, who will also conduct a workshop on the method of the plant’s installation for the villagers, is confident of the response. “Rainwater harvesting is a practical and long-term solution to water scarcity. I hope to involve local engineers, teachers and even doctors to help educate the villagers. Once we do that, the village can be self-sufficient in meeting the water needs of its people and cattle at least,” he says.
For the villagers, it is like a shot in the dark which they are praying will hit the target. “We are facing a water shortage year after year. So far, we did not make any use of the rainwater. But if this experiment works, we could replicate it on all the borewells in the village,” says Anees Baig, a panchayat member, who first saw a working model of rainwater harvesting in Pratapgarh, but did not know how to install it in his own village. He later contacted Dalvi through a Pune-based friend.
Parjanya, along will other like-minded organisations and individuals will also be pooling in money to set up similar projects in a village in Jalna district in the coming weeks, which too is reeling under severe drought.
PUNE: The state government has said that unauthorized constructions built after March 31, 2012 cannot be regularized.
Pimpri Chinchwad municipal commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi said that deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar had convened a meeting in Mumbai on Monday to discuss civic problems. During the meeting, principal secretary of urban development department Manukumar Shrivastava said that unauthorized constructions constructed after March 31, 2012 cannot be regularized as the laws have been amended recently by the state legislature.
“The civic body is conducting its demolition drive against unauthorized constructions. We have now found support from the state government for our drive,” Pardeshi said
There is a demand from the elected representatives and citizens for extending the duration of the Gunthewari Act, he said. Shrivastav had pointed out that the Act was only for a specific period and it cannot be issued again for regularizing unauthorized constructions. He said unauthorized constructions built on plots reserved in the development plan (DP) or on land affected by floodlines, green zones and no development zones before March 31, 2012 cannot be regularized.
Mayor Mohini Lande said, “The state government has declined to regularize the unauthorized constructions built after March 31, 2012. We pointed out that the civic body has stopped giving basic amenities to the people residing in areas affected by the buffer zone of Moshi garbage depot. We have demanded that the buffer zone limits be reduced as many houses have come up. We also demanded that the amenities be restored to these affected people. Pawar accepted our demands.”
PUNE: The Bombay high court on Monday admitted a writ petition challenging the controversial de-reservation of nearly 938 acres in Mundhwa.
“Judges who admitted the petition said the state government should not issue a notification for dereservation till it submits an affidavit regarding conversion of land use. The state government should justify the dereservation in the affidavit,” said Abhijit Kulkarni, a lawyer, who represented the PMC.
The general body of the PMC on October 20, 2011, had cleared a proposal to change the status of 938 acre of agricultural land in Mundhwa for residential use. Earlier, the City Improvement Committee of the PMC had cleared the proposal in December 2010.
Civic activists argued that the conversion will cause a huge financial loss to the civic body. They said the admission of the writ petition on Monday had vindicated their stand. “The dereservation of the land should be cancelled,” said Ujjwal Keskar, founder of Pune Janahit Aagadi party, who had filed the petition. tnn
Mundhwa is the only village within civic limits which has a large chunk of agricultural land.
PUNE: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is expected to begin work on equitable distribution of water in the city in the next few months.
As of now, there is imbalance in the distribution system. The core areas of the city get adequate water supply, but the situation is different in the fringe areas. The civic body has envisaged 100% metered water supply in the city to tide over this imbalance, said V G Kulkarni, PMC’s water department chief, on Monday.
He was speaking at a seminar on waste water technology for a green economy, organized by the society for environment education research and management. A detailed project report on equitable water distribution would be ready in the next two months. “The civic body has appointed a consultant for the equitable water distribution project which will be implemented over four to five years,” Kulkarni said.
“The civic body is supplying 1,150 MLD (million litres per day) water for the city’s 40 lakh population. This supply works out to 300 litres per capita per day (lpcd) which is almost double the yardstick. However, it is not true that all citizens get that much water. The core city areas get more than the fringe areas,” Kulkarni said.
The consultant has been studying the total water distribution system. The civic body has a total of 70 water reservoirs and the supply is being monitored. The cost of implementation of equitable distribution of water project is over Rs 1,500 crore, he said.
The city lacks a water metering system and citizens pay a lumpsum tax up to Rs 1,100 per year irrespective of the water they use. The civic body has planned to implement 100% water metering system, he added.
Sewage treatment is also a concern as the city is not able to treat the entire 750 MLD sewage generated. The treatment plants have the capacity to treat only 567 MLD. The civic body has tied up with Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran to meet the demands for treating all the sewage generated by 2047, he said.
Dwelling on the challenges of management of water, chief engineer of the water resources department of the state government Avinash Surve said increasing urbanization will result in competition for use of water for domestic purposes, although water is also essential for irrigation and industrial purposes.
One of the challenges faced for management of water is during monsoon as the rainfall pattern is non-consistent with the past statistical data. “In the past four to five years, there has been scanty rainfall in June. Rainfall is not well distributed throughout the season. More rain in a short duration creates challenges for flood management,” he said.
All dams, he said, should be filled with water by October 15, the end of the monsoon. “If dams are not full even after good rains, it is a drought-like situation,” he said.
Water researcher Ah Kie Lim stressed the need for international cooperation and sharing of best practices and ideas on water management. Convenor of the seminar, Mangesh Kashyap, also spoke.