Pune: Increasing complaints from residents about the proliferation of water hyacinth in the Katraj Lake prompted a spot visit by Kunal Khemnar, Additional Municipal Commissioner of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). During the visit, former Corporator Rani Bhosale was also present.
The growth of water hyacinth has caused numerous problems for the surrounding residents. The number of mosquitoes has increased significantly in the area, posing a threat not only to the residents but also to the animals in the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park. As a precaution, the elephants have been taken into shelter after six in the evening and a net is being put up to prevent mosquitoes from biting them.
Tajuddin Mahout, the caretaker of the elephants, stated, “The mosquitoes bite the elephants and due to the high amount of water hyacinth, the problem has worsened. After six in evening, we apply net curtains to protect the elephants and also burn medicines to create smoke and repel mosquitoes. At night, the elephants do not sleep due to the mosquitoes.”
Ramesh Chandan, the contractor responsible for removing the water hyacinth, said, “This is the second time PMC has given us the contract to remove the water hyacinth. Last time, we started removing the water hyacinth in June 2022, and within three months, the hyacinth was cleared by August 2022. However, it grew back again. At that time, the budget was ₹50 lakh, but this time we have been given a tender of ₹25 lakh, which is insufficient. We began removing water hyacinth in January.”
Former Corporator Rani Bhosale stated, “Since 2012, the residential area in the vicinity has expanded, and there is no proper drainage system, so the water is being discharged into the lake. As a result, the water hyacinth is growing rapidly. Due to this, mosquitoes in the area have increased, and residents are fed up with it and have complained to PMC. Despite numerous follow-ups, only 5 percent of the work has been completed.”
Bhosale added, “Even the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological park, a tourist attraction, faces problems. Due to the sewage water flowing from there, tourists visiting the park cover their noses due to the bad odor.”
However, PMC Additional Commissioner assured that the work of removing the water hyacinth is underway and will be completed soon. He reviewed the status of the water hyacinth and sewage water that is being discharged into the lake and assured to take corrective steps soon.