In 2003, the Government of Maharashtra decided to merge 23 fringe villages into the Pune Municipal Corporation. For these 23 villages, a Development Plan was formulated by the PMC which inter alia proposed that the Hills and Hill slopes encircling Pune amounting to about 1674 hectares would be reserved as a Bio Diversity Park and no construction would be allowed on it. This plan was passed in the General Body of the PMC not just once but twice. This DP was labled by the citizens as the Green DP as it was the first of its kind in the country which made available substantial area to absorb the carbon generated by the city.
When suggestion and objections were asked about this Development Plan, as envisaged under the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, the citizens of Pune had filed almost 90,000 suggestions and objections opposing any kind of construction on the hills encircling Pune and for reserving the hills of Pune as Bio Diversity Parks. The Pune Municipal Corporation had accordingly sent the proposal for ratification to the State Government. However due to certain section of Members of Legislative Assembly wanting to oppose the decision, made representations to the Chief Minister time and again, asking for permission to construct on the hills of Pune. The Chief Minister constituted an Expert Committee (Jain Committee) to study the matter which also opined that no construction should take place on the hills and that these Hills and Hill slopes be reserved as Bio Diversity reserves and that the owners of the land holdings be compensated by way of a Green TDR. The Jain Committee went even further and asked the PMC to make preservation of the BDP it’s mission.
The State government is now once again contemplating to allow construction on the hills, which is much against the wishes of the people and the environment. Allowing 10% construction permissible would mean allowing along with it roads, water pipelines, drainage lines, etc. and other infrastructure which would mean an extra 33% development and cutting of hills. This would result in reducing the open space required for a city according to well established norms and also loss of precious Bio-Diversity.