Pune Riverfront development : City based activists raise concerns against river rejuvenation project 

Pune: Residents of Pune, Pimpri and Chinchwad are demanding river rejuvenation which will beautify rivers scientifically. The recent Pune riverfront development project is raising concerns for the Mula Mutha Riverfront Development project which is showing more harm than good to the rivers’ ecosystem. 

In an open letter to PMC Commissioner Vikram Kumar and additional Commissioner Kunal Khemnar, the residents havr called for an immediate treatment of water pollution as per Central Pollution Control Board norms, including complete treatment and recycling of water for other purposes. They also demanded that the dumping of all types of solid waste and construction debris be stopped and prohibited immediately, with any breaches punished with exemplary deterrents and heavy fines.

The residents are calling for an ecological riverfront in the rejuvenation of the river, and the incorporation of sustainable development practices that do not compromise the environment. This call for action highlights the need for ecologically prudent and sustainable river revival plans to be drawn up and implemented.

Mukund Mavalankar, an environmentalist, said, “We want to save the river, and by digging or narrowing the bank, making a road, stopping it to turning points will not help to revive the river. But to revive the river, the sewage water discharged in the river must be stopped.”

Mavalankar continued, “On an average in Pune 1,600 MLD water is supplied through dam water and around 400 MLD is extracted through borewells, which makes total 2000 MLD daily usage of water. And 80% of this water goes as a sewage water. So we need a proper sewage water treatment. For the same in 2016 a project was approved by PMC where Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was providing loan of ₹1,000 crores for PMC to cleanliness of river by avoiding sewage water in. But it has not yet come into implementation, rather the population has increased with time, increasing the sewage discharge.”

“We are against the narrowing of the river. Instead, we have demanded for a bucket list that must be applied. On March 20, the residents plan to submit letters and buckets filled with polluted water from the river will be given to PMC Commissioner,” said Mavalankar.

The call for ecologically sound river rejuvenation has gained momentum, with a public gathering planned at Bund garden bridge on March 19. The residents are urging others to join the cause and submit signed forms to get as many signatures as possible. This movement emphasises the need for sustainable development practices that prioritise environmental conservation, and for community members to actively engage in advocating for these practices. 

Mrunal Jadhav 

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