Amidst din of hectic campaigning for high-profile Pune Lok Sabha.constituency in Maharashtra, where issues ranging from national security to lack of jobs are being discussed widely, various forums of citizens have come up with their own manifestos demanding better civic amenities and effective local governance. The constituency, which votes in the third phase on April 23, is spread across Vadgaon Sheri, Shivajinagar, Kothrud, Parvati, Pune Cantonment and Kasba Peth assembly segments, which have a urban profile.
The main contest is between state minister Girish Bapat of BJP and Mohan Joshi of Congress. The seat was won by Anil Shirole of BJP in 2014 elections. In their manifestos, various citizen forums are mainly demanding that transportation and road conditions are improved.
Demands like setting up of a national skill development hub in Hinjawadi IT park to develop better eco-system for skill augmentation, protection and cleaning of the Mula river, launching judicial reforms, protection of rights of flat buyers and effective disposal of garbage also figure on the lists. "It is a good sign that citizens' forums are coming together and drafting their manifestos by highlighting the issues in their areas," said Ravi Sinha of the Hinjawadi Residents Welfare Association (HIRWA).
A manifesto drafted by HIRWA raises demands including regular water supply to high-rise buildings in posh Hinjawadi area; a mechanism for integrated waste management, cleaning the Mula river, protecting environment, passing National Tree Act, and better security for residents and IT employees. The Pimpri Chinchwad Cooperative Housing Societies Federation is demanding legal amendments to ensure better governance in urban local bodies.
"We are also seeking an amendment to Environment Protection Acts and inclusion of new IPC sections for environment-related crimes. We want the National Green Tribunal to become more independent," said Sudhir Deshmukh, a representative of the Federation. "As far as urban mobility is concerned, we are seeking implementation of UMTA (Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority) within 12 months. We also want that rights of flat buyers and owners are protected," he said.
Deshmukh said more ammendments are needed to make RERA (Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority) consumer friendly. Nitin Kumar Jain, one of the directors of the Wagholi Housing Societies Association, says their manifesto dwells upon basic issues such as effective garbage disposal, construction of internal roads, resolution of water woes, and setting up of sewage lines.
"Wagholi is one of the fastest growing suburbs where urbanisation is catching fast. Though the suburb is still under gram panchayat, the local body has failed to provide any kind of civic amenities to the residents of Wagholi," he said. Jain demanded that Wagholi be either merged into a municipal corporation or created into a separate Nagar Parishad or Mahanagar Palika including nearby villages.
Since the area falls under Shirur Lok Sabha constituency, copies of the manifesto have been sent to all candidates, including sitting Shiv Sena MP Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil. In their manifesto, Pimpri Chinchwad Citizens' Forum demands that issues concerning the common people like education, health, good governance, better transport etc. be given priority.
Though they fall in Pune district, Pimpri and Chinchwad segments are part of Maval Lok Sabha constituency. During campaigning for Pune Lok Sabha seat, the BJP is seeking to build the narrative around national security and "decisive" government whereas the Congress is highlighting "failure" of the Modi government in creating jobs and fulfilling the past promises.
The candidates of both the parties are promising to rectify traffic woes and improve mobility. They are also promising to improve condition of roads and erratic water supply in some areas..