PMC REACTS TO MOB ATTACK AT YERWADA ANTI-ENCROACHMENT DRIVE – 27 areas `sensitive’ to public resistance

The Yerwada stone-pelting incident on Tuesday has left the civic body cautious about the possibility of more violence erupting during their planned crackdown on illegal structures. Now, wary of further casualties in the course of anti-encroachment drives, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has drafted a list of 27 sensitive zones that may present them with stiff protests from locals during the initiative.

On Tuesday, a mob at Yerwada strongly opposed the demolition of various stalls and attacked PMC officials with iron rods and sticks, besides pelting stones. The assault left antiencroachment department head Madhav Jagtap hospitalised.

Municipal commissioner Kunal Kumar subsequently met commissioner of police K K Pathak and demanded police support for such drives. He also directed officials to make a detailed plan of action, so that intensive drives could be initiated to indicate that the civic body is not about to back down.

Additional municipal commissioner Rajendra Jagtap told Mirror, “We have collected a list of encroachment zones from all ward offices and sent them to the commissioner. There are 38 places where roads have been encroached upon. Of these, 27 are sensitive areas, on the lines of Yerwada, categorised on the basis of a history of incidents, local resistance and the presence of illegal businesses.“

He added, “Now, the commissioner will decide on further action, in consul tation with the CP. The list has been made so that we can make sure we have additional police personnel with us. In Kondhwa, for example, our drives have gotten substantial police support.“

On November 1, 2012, for example, when PMC had pulled down two unauthorised structures at Kondhwa-Khurd, over 150 police personnel had accompanied them on request, as it has already been declared a sensitive area. Including one assistant commissioner of police, five inspectors, 22 sub-inspectors and 120 constables, this was the maximum police force used for a demolition drive.

Some sensitive areas on the list include Kondhwa, Satara Road, Yerwada, NIBM Road, Bibwewadi, Harish Bridge (Bopodi), Padale Palace near Nal Stop, and several slum areas along 45 no-hawker roads.

The drives plan to tackle clear encroachments by hawkers and stalls on PMC land and roadsides. Besides, illegal shades and RCC constructions on PMC land will also be taken to task.

Reiterating the cops’ stance, joint commissioner of police (law and order) Sunil Ramanand told Mirror, “PMC needs to give us a list of requirements in advance to plan adequate security measures. Police personnel given to PMC are not sufficient as security cover during anti-encroachment drives. If we have details in advance, we can provide more personnel from reserve forces and other police stations in the concerned area. Cops from the latter need to be kept in the loop, besides senior officers.If there is better co-ordination, incidents like Yerwada can be avoided.Though I am responsible for the city’s law and order, I was not aware of an intended drive that day.“
Source : Pune Mirror

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