Pune activist opposes Khadakwasla Dam to Phursungi water tunnel project 

Pune activist opposes Khadakwasla Dam to Phursungi water tunnel project

Pune activist opposes Khadakwasla Dam to Phursungi water tunnel project

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By: Pune Pulse

October 20, 2023

Pune : c, a non-governmental organization (NGO) has raised objections towards the 28 km long water tunnel project connecting Khadakwasla Dam to Phursungi.

Speaking to Pune Pulse, Lt Col (Retd) Suresh Patil, Founder and President of Green Thumb Foundation said, “Firstly, it is a heritage property. Hence, it should be left as it is without disturbance. Secondly, this water tunnel project is claimed to save 2 to 3 TMC of water. It will ensure that evaporation will not take place. It doesn’t matter if the evaporation occurs in that or not. If the true objective is to save water, then it can be done in the dam itself.”

As per further information shared by Lt Col (Retd) Patil, they have been desilting dams for the last 20 years where a lot of silt has been removed. A lot of silt has been given to the farmers due to which the farmers’ yield has increased a lot. The PMC has proposed to spend Rs 3000 crores of taxpayers’ money on this project. Even if 1% of this money is spent over here, then a lot of water can be saved which will benefit everyone.

The Green Thumb Foundation suggests that two-wheeler vehicles & bicycles must be allowed to ply on both the banks of the canal. If two-wheeler vehicles are allowed to travel on this track, then 50% of the pressure on roads will be reduced. Seepage on both sides of the canal must be allowed because the seepage ultimately goes into several wells there. Environment & bird life are sustained due to this.

In a letter sent by the NGO to the PMC, the administration has set aside a cost of Rs 3000 crores for the project. This cost will increase in the future. Two to three TMCs of canal water are being evaporated. But three thousand crore rupees will be spent on the tunnel. If the silt is removed from the Khadakwasla dam, which can be done at a fraction of the cost, it will help to raise the water by three to four TMCs. So, the canal should not be closed. Historical architecture should be preserved.

The side effects due to the closure of the canal are:

1) Seepage wells on both sides adjacent to the canal will not be available to the borewell

2) Insects, moths, birds and carnivorous animals will not get water to drink

3) Green trees that have flourished in the area will be destroyed

4) Deforestation will disturb the ecological balance

If the silt in Khadakwasla dam is removed:

1) The water storage in the dam will increase and there will be no need to build a new dam.

2) By providing the dam silt to the farmers free of charge, the agricultural land will become fertile. The cost of chemical fertilizers will be saved.

3) Evaporation of water is a natural process. It must continue.

4) The silt in the dam can be removed at a negligible cost compared to the cost of tunnelling and the water storage can be increased by two to three TMC.

5) If the road on the canal is opened for two-wheelers, the traffic on the main road will be reduced.

6) Planting a large number of trees on both sides of the open canal will help enhance the beauty of nature.

7) From March to June when the water in the dam is low, the mud from the dam pond must be removed and given to the farmers of the neighbouring villages free of cost.

Shreyas Vange

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