Pune: After the orders by the Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had stopped work on a proposed Sinhagad to Vithalwadi road in Mutha riverbed as it violated environmental rules. However, the State government has issued new directives that permit work for public purposes on the riverbed. So the PMC is checking the feasibility of road work on the riverbed.
In May 2018, Maharashtra Irrigation Department amended its guidelines on development in the restrictive zone of rivers. The guidelines allow construction like roads on land between the blue line and red line of rivers for public purposes. They put the onus for loss of life or property during floods on the authority giving permission for land use.
Sushil Mengde, Chairman of City Improvement Committee said, “There was a proposal in a committee meeting about riverside road in Vithalwadi at Sinhagad Road. We have sent the proposal to the Building Permissions Department and Road Department to check feasibility. The new government directives stated that local bodies can do development work in blue line area. So, we sent the proposal to the concerned department. After getting their opinion, we will take a decision.”
According to civic officials, “According to new guidelines, there are chances of making development work in blue line areas. But, we have to impose blue and red line marking on Development Plan (DP) and check if there is appropriate width of road available in blue line area.”
The PMC began building a riverside road from Vithalwadi to Pune-Mumbai National Highway (NH-4) bypass in 2010 – a 2.3 km stretch - to ease the traffic congestion on Sinhagad Road. The PMC put 35,000 to 40,000 trucks of debris in the riverside near Vithalwadi area.
City-based environmentalist Sarang Yadwadkar filed a petition in June 2013 before the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in New Delhi, opposing the construction of an 80-ft wide road from Vithalwadi on the Prohibited Zone inside the blue flood line. The corporation removed all debris on the road, according to the Supreme Court and NGT orders last year.
Red lines and blue lines are artificial lines demarcating the river area on the floodline. The red line is decided on the maximum water level possibly once in 100 years and blue line is on maximum flood discharge in average 25 years. The prohibitive zone is the area between the two blue lines on the opposite side of the river, while the restrictive zone is the area between the blue line and red line.