Activists alarmed over work on riverbed

Sakal Times
Sunday, 11 February 2018

Pune: Volunteers of NGO Jeevitnadi - Living River Foundation saw debris dumped in the riverbed while cleaning the bank of Mula river in Aundh. After an inquiry, it was learnt that the Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran (MJP) or the State Water Supply and Sanitation Board is constructing a temporary cofferdam in the river bed to lay a new pipeline for the military hospital in Khadki.

Pune: Volunteers of NGO Jeevitnadi - Living River Foundation saw debris dumped in the riverbed while cleaning the bank of Mula river in Aundh. After an inquiry, it was learnt that the Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran (MJP) or the State Water Supply and Sanitation Board is constructing a temporary cofferdam in the river bed to lay a new pipeline for the military hospital in Khadki.

However, no signage or notice board was displayed before carrying out the work. The members of the foundation said rivers are in such a fragile state that any small action can further deteriorate the river.

Ganesh Kalapure, a resident of Aundh, who works closely with the foundation, said, “Every weekend, members from the foundation clean the river banks and bed of Mula. While carrying out the activity on Saturday, we noticed that debris was dumped in the river bed. Immediately, volunteers from the foundation and members of the Aundh Mohalla Committee checked the oxygen level in the river water. It had deteriorated.”

Vaishali Patkar, a Jeevitnadi member and Aundh Mohalla Committee President, said, “After checking the status of the riverbed, we contacted the sectional engineer MJP Rajkumar Jadhav. We organised a meeting with Jadhav and Shrikant Patwardhan, assistant engineer of Military Engineering Services.”

“During the meeting, Jadhav said the Military hospital, Khadki, has an old pipeline from the British era, which was leaking at various places. The military engineering services approached MJP to lay a new pipeline for the hospital. Also, there is no debris in the river bed, a temporary cofferdam has been constructed to carry out the work for laying the pipeline,” Patkar said.

Patwardhan said, “The water pipelines were laid in the British era and was not changed or repaired after that. We used to pump water from the Aundh Military Station. We were experiencing water shortage in the past few years. The work order for laying the new water pipeline was issued in August 2017. The work is expected to be completed by August this year.”

Jadhav said, “The actual work of laying the new pipeline started in August from the Aundh Military Station and continued till the Mula river bed. As the hospital is across the river, we constructed a cofferdam of 100 to 150 metres to lay the pipeline through the river. By August end, the whole work will be completed. The cofferdam will be removed by the end of April. All required permissions from the irrigation department have been acquired. There will be no damage to the river.”

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