Pune: Residents Disappointed Over Evening Access Restrictions Forest Area On NIBM Road, Safety Concerns Cited By Forest Dept 

Pune: Residents Disappointed Over Evening Access Restrictions Forest Area On NIBM Road, Safety Concerns Cited By Forest Dept

Pune: Residents Disappointed Over Evening Access Restrictions Forest Area On NIBM Road, Safety Concerns Cited By Forest Dept

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Chetna Raja 

Residents of VTP Celesta in Pune have been denied entry to Anandvan for their evening walks and yoga sessions due to safety concerns cited by the authorities, including the presence of snakes and potential theft. Despite being offered morning hours as an alternative, residents argue that their evening visits are safe and convenient, emphasizing their routine’s importance for health and well-being, especially for senior citizens and a specially-abled individual in their group. They are urging the authorities to reconsider their decision.

In response to concerns raised by residents of VTP Celesta in Pune regarding restricted evening access to Anandvan, Forest Officer Suresh Varak emphasized the safety protocols in place due to the area being a reserve forest.

“Anandvan is designated as a reserve forest where residents are permitted to engage in activities such as walking, yoga, or tree planting during designated hours,” stated Suresh Varak in an interview with Pune Pulse. “However, we do not have staff available in the evenings to oversee visitor safety. Should any unfortunate incident occur during these hours, responsibility could become a challenge,” he added, explaining the rationale behind the restriction.

The decision has prompted disappointment among the residents, many of whom have made evening visits a regular part of their routine. Nirmala Rai, a spokesperson for the affected group, expressed their frustration, highlighting the benefits of their evening visits.

“We have been enjoying peaceful walks and yoga sessions in Anandvan for months. It’s disheartening to suddenly be denied access,” said Nirmala Rai. “We understand the safety concerns, but many of us are senior citizens or have mobility issues. The evening time suits us best for our health and well-being,” she added.

The residents argue that they take precautions during their visits and stay within well-lit areas to ensure their safety. They have urged the authorities to reconsider the decision and find a solution that balances safety concerns with their need for access.

The restriction has sparked a debate among residents about the accessibility of public recreational spaces and the responsibility of authorities in ensuring visitor safety. The environmental group working in the reserve forest area informed that it has taken over a decade to transform the dumping ground into a paradise. In the evening, not just nature enthusiasts but revellers make it their den in the forest area hampering the free movements of the birds and animals. When human interference occurs these animals run away and don’t feel comfortable in the atmosphere. The forest area is accessible to all in the morning hours. Also, manpower to control any mishap in the area is lacking which forces the department to keep the area open only during morning hours.

As discussions continue, both sides are hopeful for a resolution that accommodates the interests of residents while maintaining safety standards at Anandvan.