Bal Bharati-Paud Phata : Citizens push for saving Pune Hills  

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In a bid to understand the potential impact of the proposed Bal Bharati-Paud Phata Link road in Pune, Shivajinagar MLA Siddhart Shirole and former Pune mayor Murlidhar Mohol alongwith many citizens and members of various organisations undertook a walk of the entire length of the proposed road. 

The controversial road has been the subject of intense debate and criticism, with many locals expressing concerns about its potential impact on the environment and the displacement of residents.

The walk, which began at 5:30 PM on March 28th from Balbharati on Senapati Bapat Road, was aimed at providing Shirole, Mohol and mainly residents with a first-hand experience of the road’s potential impact on the surrounding area. The two leaders hope to gain a better understanding of the concerns of the locals and to engage in a dialogue with them.

The proposed Bal Bharati-Paud Phata Link road has been in the works for several years, and the project has faced numerous delays and setbacks. Proponents of the road argue that it will provide much-needed connectivity and ease traffic congestion in the area. However, opponents have raised concerns about the environmental impact of the road and the displacement of local residents.

The walk by Shirole and Mohol was a welcome move, as it showed that they are willing to listen to the concerns of the locals and engage with them in a meaningful way. It remains to be seen what impact the walk will have on the ongoing controversy surrounding the proposed road, but it is a positive step towards finding a solution that benefits all stakeholders. Between many residents also raised a doubt that since the government was hurriedly pushing for releasing tender for the same and if this walk was just an eye wash. “The citizens were informed by taking them to the actual location together with the road department head V G Kulkarni, Municipal Corporation in order to comprehend the facts of the project of Balbharti to Paudphata planned road inspection and clear up any misconceptions. The answers to the citizens’ queries and sceptics are certain. The choice will be made with the citizens’ convenience in mind”, said Muralidhar Mohol, former mayor of Pune.

“A road survey was carried out to better assess the potential environmental effects of the Balbharti to Paudaphata connection road project. We will carry out a solution on this which is convenient to citizens” informed Siddharth Shirole, MLA Shivajinagar. 

“Where is the Vetal tekdi here?,” people ask today. When someone inquired while standing on a hill like this, we showed them the hill, went up it, and explained it. Hills matters” said Prajakta Divekar, Researcher in heritage studies. 

” Since the PMC Road Department has a different definition of “hill,” we climbed up to where the pillars are supposed to be, and they grudgingly approved this location and others up ahead as “hill slopes” today” said, Sumita Kale, co-founder of DGPS.

Another active citizen Paresh Lodha a resident of Deccan said, “Yesterday I went through Paud Phata road in 10 minutes to German Bakery from Law college road. This is enough to describe the view, we should raise our voices for our hills. We need to save our Hills.” 

Nividita Kelapure