Today, on December 3rd, Sunday at 7 am, the citizens of Pune organized a walk on the Ganeshkhind road, named ‘Chalo Chipko’ to express their opposition against the tree felling done by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
Hema Chari, a prominent civic activist, brought attention to the blatant disregard shown by PMC’s road authorities towards established guidelines. It was emphasized that the PMC’s road authorities have purportedly breached regulations outlined by the Indian Road Congress, PMC’s Urban Street Design Guidelines, and the Unified Development Control and Planning Regulations issued by the Maharashtra state for town planning.
The primary objective of the Chalo Chipko demonstration was to increase public consciousness regarding the ecological consequences and possible traffic disturbances caused by deviating from established protocols.
Ameet Singh highlighted the poor handling of the Pune metro project since 2016, resulting in extensive traffic congestion in areas where the metro has been implemented.
Singh raised apprehensions regarding the proposed expansion of Ganeshkhind Road, anticipating significant traffic congestion due to three chokepoints. Calculations indicate a surge in the number of vehicles from 4230 to around 8500 on this stretch, leading to an ecological threat with an estimated emission of 300 tons per day.
PMC, PMRDA, and metro authorities have cut down more than 97 trees without consulting the citizens, which has led the citizens to pursue legal action.
Ameet Singh and Hema Chari elucidated the imminent catastrophe faced by trees, from Hardikar Hospital to Reliance Centro Mall, during the rally held today. They highlighted the already transpired devastation until University Circle, leaving the citizens disheartened and acknowledging the futility of this undertaking.
The local residents were notified that a tentative agreement was reached during the recent public hearing, suggesting the sacrifice of one lane on each side in order to protect pedestrian walkways, bicycle lanes, and multi-purpose areas, while still maintaining the majority of the existing trees.
The residents are demanding a comprehensive review of the proposed schemes, emphasizing the need to protect Pune’s greenery and strictly follow the regulatory guidelines.