PUNE: Over 35,000 residents of Bopkhel continue to struggle after 2.5 years following the closure of the 2 km road connecting Bopkhel to Dapodi. Some of the residents are on a hunger strike outside the District Collector’s office near Pune station.
The residents are demanding that a temporary bridge be built at the earliest as the closure of the bridge is causing a lot of problems to them. After the bridge was closed, over 150 residents were arrested in May 2015 for causing riots, as the locals had clashed with military authorities and Pune police demanding a solution for the closed bridge.
Following this, a temporary bridge was provided to the locals in 2015 but was dismantled in June 2016.
While addressing a press conference on Wednesday at Patrakar Bhavan, the local residents of Bopkhel alleged that all the concerned stakeholders are keeping the residents in the dark by not informing them about the bridge details.
The locals alleged that the stakeholders including defence authorities, district administration and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation are just passing the buck.
Rahul Gavde, one of the protesters, said that none of the stakeholders are coming to a conclusion and there is no development visible on the issue.
The protesters said that they were informed by the defence authorities that due to safety concerns, the bridge was closed, which led to a clash between police, local residents and defence authorities.
“However, we are looking for an amicable solution and are just requesting for a temporary bridge and the authorities are yet to clear their stand on the issue,” said Pandurang Ghule, another protester.
Kiran Patole of Bopkhel Gaon Rasta Sangharsh Samiti (BGRSS) said that the population of the village is around 35,000 and school students, working employees and villagers have to take a longer route following the closure of the bridge.
“Many local residents belong to workers group and cannot afford to travel 12 km instead of the short 2 km route, which has been closed. We are asking for a solution and the authorities are taking us for a ride,” added Patole.
A letter written by PCMC authorities to BGRSS on May 25, 2017, states that PCMC has asked ammunition factory Khadki, Kahdki Cantonment Board, Army base workshop and defence estate office to provide a no objection certificate to start work of building a temporary bridge.
A letter addressed to Santosh Ghule, one of the protesters of BGRSS by the district collectorate on Wednesday stated that the problem is being looked after by PCMC and defence authorities.
“The issue is also connected to judicial proceedings and so district collectorate is not associated with the issue,” the letter stated.
Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Sharavan Hardikar did not respond to a message sent by Sakal Times on Wednesday evening.
Deepak Tapse, Mahendra Waghmare, Gulabrao Bhalerao, Shrikant Ghule were part of the protest.