Pune: “Instead of Mula-Mutha riverfront development project, the city wants a river rejuvenation project to save the environment," demanded members of the Green Pune, Save Pune Movement, which comprises city-based Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) working in the field of environment.
On Friday, the NGOs questioned the riverfront development programme which Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) wants to run in the city on the lines of Sabarmati river front development.
Green Pune Save Pune Movement comprises National Society for Clean Cities, Sajag Nagrik Manch, Parisar, Surajya Sangharsh Samiti, Centre for Environment Education (CEE), Jal Biradari, Jivit Nadi, Bavdhan Area Samiti, Save Pune Hills Initiative, Parivartan and other NGOs, totalling one dozen.
Rajay Sabha MP Vandana Chavan, MP Anu Aga, industrialist Arun Firodia, architech Sarang Yadwadkar, National Society for Clean Cities Founder Satish Khot, industrialist Arti Kirloskar, urban planner Aneeta Gokhale-Benninger and Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Ajit Abhyankar objected to the Mula-Mutha riverfront development programme. They said, “We don't want riverfront development but river rejuvenation programme.”
Chavan said, “Sabarmati riverfront project has failed. It is a wide nala more than a river. Water has stagnated in the river and our river water is flowing."
Sarang Yadwadkar, architect said, “Due to riverfront project, biodiversity along the riverbed will be ruined as corporation is going to develop it. Riverbed will become narrow and no-development and green zone will no longer exist.”
NGOs said the State government decisions are against the environment. They claimed the Housing Department issued a notification allowing housing projects in No Development/ Green Zones across the State. They said the government deleted 4.25 acres from the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and allotted more than 10 acres from Empress Garden for staff quarters. The government's plan of 100 metre-wide roads on the riverbed and concrete embankments on both sides of the river were opposed.
The group is running a campaign against cutting down of trees on the Empress Garden and have collected more than 30,000 signatures. The signature campaign will run for more than 15 days and then submitted to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.