MP Vandana Chavan registers her disapproval, writes to PMC Commissioner about pledge forms

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Pune: The Pune Municipal Corporation is struggling to gather the support of the citizens for the Mula-Mutha riverfront development project and in a latest move, PMC has sent a pledge form to schools of the municipal corporation and also, private schools. 

The move of the corporation is receiving brickbats from various quarters, including politicians and NGOs. Nationalist Congress Party Member of Parliament Vandana Chavan wrote a letter to the Pune Municipal Commissioner Vikram Singh in this regard. In the letter, she stated, “Some citizens have pointed out to us that on behalf of the Pune Municipal Corporation, citizens are filling up the citizens’ acknowledgment form through the students to show the support of the citizens for the said scheme. This attempt is very shocking and reprehensible. For other important projects in Pune city, suggestions from citizens were not taken but now through children and by luring with rewards PMC is taking responses by misleading parents.” 

The pledge form issued to students by PMC states, “Dear Citizen of Pune, The Mula Mutha river has cared for Pune like a mother by providing it with water and life. PMC has undertaken the Mula Mutha River Rejuvenation project. The success of this initiative is possible only if all citizens come together with PMC and fulfill their duty to our beloved city Pune and be called a “PuneRé Helping Pune, Re-pair, Re-novate & Rejuvenate.”

The responses for the form can be given both online and offline. Punekars have a chance to win Rs 1 lakh if the form is submitted online and Rs 50,000 if it is submitted offline. 

A portion of the project, 300-metres, is being completed in Yerwada on a priority basis in order to bring in more clarity about the project among the residents. 

“Earlier PMC had constructed BRT and other such projects for which responses were not taken from citizens. As the project is being opposed by various NGOs, PMC has sent pledge forms to schools to get responses from their parents. Parents pay attention when something comes from schools,” said Vivek Welenkar, environmental activist. 

Jayshree Deshpande of Parents association of Pune said that getting responses from parents by using students is wrong. “If NGOs are opposing the project that means they have studied it and it may have consequences on the environment. PMC using students to reach its citizens is wrong,” she said.

“Are the schools aware of what exactly the project is and to fulfil the need of PMC, to take opinions from citizens they are taking the responses using the pledge form. But why is PMC involving students to get the pledge form?” asked Tanmayi Shinde, a resident of Pune.

“The schools received the pledge forms two days ago from Pune Municipal Corporation. We have distributed it to students,” said Pooja Jog, principal of Renuka Swaroop Memorial Girls High School.

“Pledge forms for the project have been given to school students on January 23. Around 5 lakh forms have been distributed amongst private and Municipal Corporation schools within the limits of PMC. We expect to get response from students by January 27, 2023,” said Mangesh Dighe, Environment Officer, PMC. 

Mrunal Jadhav 

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