By: Pune Pulse
July 28, 2023
Pune: Pune River Revival, a like-minded citizens’ group, has requested the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to stop the implementation of the Mula Mutha River revamp and road construction project immediately as it will cause critical damage to the ecology and environment of Pune.
Ameet Singh, a member of Pune River Revival said, “We have been fighting to stop this entire project since a long time. Crores of rupees are wasted on things which are causing constant harm to the ecology and environment of Pune and to the Mula and Mutha river. I simply don’t understand why instead of focusing on the redressal of real issues like repairing bad roads, sewage issues, drainage issues etc and utilizing the funds for real issues in Pune, why the administration is so keen on chopping trees, damaging rivers and the environment.”
Jaideep Baphna, another member of Pune River Revival said, “The cleaning of the waste that is entering the river is not happening. Instead, only the beautification part is taking place by the PMC. A lot of sewage waste is released into the rivers without treatment. With this issue, if this project by the PMC goes on, more than 600 MLD waste will go into rivers untreated. A scheme called JICA was introduced for establishing Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs). But, the usage of that hasn’t been done by the PMC. Recently, more than 7 to 7.5 thousand trees were cut by the PMC just to check a sample stretch of around 1 km. Hence, the PMC should first install 100% sewage treatment capacity. Intercepting the sewage network is not going to be sufficient for cleaning the rivers and making them pollution free. Also, a future provision for the expansion of sewage treatment must be planned first to ensure rivers will not get polluted in future.
As per information from Pune River Revival, the ongoing Mula Mutha Riverfront project has already uprooted, cut and destroyed the rich riparian vegetation of Pune.
This project is going to reduce the cross-section of the river beds by 30 to 40%. The combined effect of reduction in cross-section, pre-catchment area water flow and the projected increase of 38% in rainfall will lead to a whopping 3.75 m rise in flood levels in Pune. The PMC is going ahead with implementation on 3 stretches spanning a length of 9.5 km. Thousands of trees are marked for cutting and/or replanting because of the movement of heavy construction vehicles and the dumping of hundreds of tons of boulders, stones and gravel.
Hence, some of the demands of Pune River Revival are:
· Cleaning of the river, water must be treated first before releasing it into the rivers.
· Incorporation of protection and conservation of natural springs and their spring shed to increase base flows. No alteration in the cross-section of the river bed.
· Study and revise flood lines, flood zones, the current state of Dams & free catchment areas as per increased rainfall and new structures built in the river bed.
· Respecting the domain of the river: conservation and improvement in the natural tree line, forest, and biodiversity.
· Ensuring and executing vigilant monitoring for stopping solid & other types of waste.