With elections round the corner, corporators cutting across party lines are raising the problems faced by the villages that have been recently merged into the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
BJP corporator Haridas Charvad said the staff of the newly merged 11 gram panchayats have not got their salaries in the last six months. “The permanent staff of the merged panchayats have already started working for the PMC. However, they have not been paid their salaries,” Charvad said.
NCP corporator Baburao Chandere said the issue was not just limited to 11 villages but all 23 villages that have been merged with the civic body recently. “A proper procedure has to be followed after the extension of civic boundaries. The PMC takes over the office, documents, properties and staff of the gram panchayats after any merger. There is a set rule for it, but I don’t know why the civic administration is delaying regularisation of the staff on its payroll,” he said.
MNS leader Vasant More said the PMC has started levying property tax in newly merged villages but “there is hardly any efforts to resolve civic issues in those areas. It seems the villages have been merged only with an eye on the forthcoming elections.”
Opposition leader Dipali Dhumal said the staff have suffered owing to non-payment of salaries in the last few months. “The civic administration is doing injustice to the staff of gram panchayats that have been absorbed into the PMC,” she said.
Former deputy mayor Siddarth Dhende said that the PMC has to be careful while absorbing the staff of gram panchayats.
NCP leader Yogesh Sasane said, “It is wrong to make everyone suffer because of a few staff against whom doubts have been raised.”
Shiv Sena leader Prithviraj Sutar and Congress leader Ulhas Bagul said the delay in absorbing the gram panchayat staff would affect civic services in the newly merged areas.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner Rajendra Muthe said that the Pune Zila Parishad had furnished a list of 1,122 staff of the 23 merged villages but it was withdrawn as it was challenged in court. “Now, the Pune Zila Parishad has assured that the complete list would be submitted to the PMC on Wednesday. Thus, there will be no problem in giving their salaries,” he said.