Demolition drive along stream in Pune halted

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Pune, Jun 24 (PTI) Demolition drive undertaken by the Pune Municipal Corporation against encroachments along Ambil Odha, a water stream that flows through the city, was halted on Thursday after local residents put up stiff resistance.

Maharashtra Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde tweeted in the evening that he had instructed the corporation to suspend demolition till the issue of rehabilitation of residents is sorted out.

Shinde held a virtual meeting over the issue with deputy chairman of the state Legislative Council Nilam Gorhe and PMC commissioner Vikram Kumar.

'The civic administration has been asked to shift all the affected residents to a transit camp and ensure that they are rehabilitated,' the minister said.

Earlier in the day, the PMC started the demolition drive amid heavy police security along the Ambil Odha in the Sinhagad Road area.

'The action was started in the morning without any notice. They should have given us a notice in advance and made alternative arrangements,' said an angry resident.

Avinash Sakpal, zonal commissioner, said the corporation wanted to straighten the stream's course in this stretch.

'The stream here is shaped like letter 'S' and we need to straighten it so that any rain-related incident is avoided. Residents living along the banks are being rehabilitated,' he said.

Notices had been issued earlier, he claimed. 'There is no question of making all these people homeless. We are giving all 130 residents flats in nearby areas,' Sakpal added.

Assistant municipal commissioner Ashish Mahadalkar said water had entered adjoining houses during the last three monsoons, so precautionary measures were necessary. PTI SPK NP KRK KRK

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