The defence ministry has given sanction to the transfer of defence land measuring 16,122 square metre to the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) for construction of the approach route and bridge across the Mula river connecting Bopkhel village with Khadki bazaar. The bridge over the Mula river will connect Bopkhel and Khadki and help the residents of Bopkhel, Ramnagar and Ganeshnagar.
The letter signed by the undersecretary, government of India, R K Yadav, addressed to the chief of army staff and director general of defence estates (DGDE), read, “I am directed to convey the sanction of the President of India for grant of work permission for the transfer of defence land measuring 16,122 square metre of the Khadki Cantonment Board to the PCMC for construction of the Bopkhel bridge and approach road connecting Bopkhel village through the Khadki cantonment. The way has been cleared for the construction of a bridge in Bopkhel on the site of the defence ministry.”
Deputy mayor Hirabai Ghule said, “During the last four years, the people of Bopkhel had to make a big detour to reach Pimpri-Chinchwad or Pune. Therefore, through BJP MLA Laxman Jagtap, we approached the central government to build a bridge over the Mula river. The then defence minister Manohar Parrikar followed-up with the now finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. As a corporator, I have consistently pursued it through MLA Jagtap and got it approved by the army and ministry of defence.”
The PCMC started actual construction of the bridge on the Mula river connecting Bopkhel and Khadki on January 4, 2019 and completed it quickly. However, work needed to continue on defence land for which a working permit from the defence ministry was required. MLA Jagtap followed up with the central government for this and requested defence minister Rajnath Singh for speedy permission.
“The central government responded positively. The defence ministry gave final approval for 16,122 square metre land on September 9. This will lead to construction of the bridge on defence land,” said Ghule.
Additional commissioner Vikas Dhakne said, “The final working permission has been obtained to start work on the Bopkhel bridge. A meeting will be held with the PCMC commissioner in this regard. Planning will be carried out on how to start the work. Work on the bridge will begin accordingly.”
Ghule said that the civic body planned to complete the work and open the bridge to the people of Bopkhel in a few months. Both Jagtap and Ghule thanked the central government on behalf of the people of Bopkhel.
On May 13, 2015, the CME authorities closed the road connecting Bopkhel with Dapodi after the Bombay high court dismissed a petition filed against closure of the road. Due to the road being closed, the residents of Bopkhel have to travel for at least half-an-hour more on alternate routes.
The issue of closure of the Bopkhel road took a violent turn on May 21, 2015 when villagers pelted stones and bricks during an agitation and the police had to resort to lathi charge and the use of tear gas to control the mob. At least 22 police personnel and 15 villagers were injured.