Pune: Vetal Tekdi Bachao Kruti Samiti has written a detailed email to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde seeking his personal intervention regarding the controversial Balbharati Paud Phata Link Road that will pass through Vetal Tekdi. The Samiti has requested Shinde to intervene in the matter. They also requested the chief minister to remove it from the development plan (DP).
Dr Sumita Kale, member of Vetal Tekdi Bachao Kruti Samiti, shared the details of the e-mail sent to Shide. Kale also requested personal intervention of Shinde into the matter. The mail stated, ‘ As you may be aware, the Balbharati to Paud Phata road (2.1km) has been proposed as an alternative to ease traffic congestion” issues on Law College Road. However, none of the 5 traffic studies for this road, carried out by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) so far, have been able to establish the need for this road. Yet, PMC announced its intentions to issue tenders for the construction of this road, and declared a change in the road alignment in March 2023 to suit the convenience of a private builder, which led to escalation of project cost.’
The mail further read, ‘On 2nd June 2023, we issued a press statement asking whether the BalBharati-Paud Phata road was being built for the public good or as an access road to the proposed township on Survey 44 plot of Vetal Tekdi. The map discovered in the DPR Volume 3 provides proof that the real reason for this road is to provide access to a planned township development project on the hill.’
The mail also stated, ‘In response, PMC issued an explanatory statement which was carried in various newspapers on 6th June 2023 where it falsely claimed that there is no access provided to Survey 44 from the Balbharati-Paud Phata proposed road. In this statement, PMC has misled the public by stating that the road is going to be elevated at the Paud side and at grade at the Balbharti side, which is in direct contradiction with the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of PMC, and all public statements of the PMC so far. ’
Furthermore, the mail said, ‘We must reiterate here that Balbharti-Paud Phata road will destroy one of the largest surviving natural heritage sites, Vetal Tekdi in Pune city. This Tekdi is also one of the largest shallow aquifers that play a critical role in groundwater recharge. Destruction of this tekdi will create water problems in parts of Kothrud, Erandwane, Deccan Gymkhana among others. There are about 3000 trees to be felled for this project. Tekdi controls the urban heat island effect and provides for one of the largest, freely available, recreational spaces for common people.’
Additionally, Kale in the mail addressed to the Chief minister requested him to look into the matter. ‘We would be grateful for your personal intervention as Chief Minister and Minister for Urban Development to stop this project of BalBharati-Paud Phata Road immediately and remove it from the Development Plan as requested by thousands of Punekars who came to the streets on 15th April in the rain.’ the mail stated.