Construction of a wall along Waldhuni river at Gauripada, Kalyan (W). (Rishikesh Choudhary/HT)
Construction of a wall along Waldhuni river at Gauripada, Kalyan (W). (Rishikesh Choudhary/HT)

Maharashtra CM help sought over Kalyan park project affecting Waldhuni river

The city park project in Kalyan has hit a roadblock with an environmental activist from Ambernath writing to the Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to cancel the project as it encroaches on the Waldhuni river
PUBLISHED ON JAN 31, 2021 01:25 AM IST

The city park project in Kalyan has hit a roadblock with an environmental activist from Ambernath writing to the Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to cancel the project as it encroaches on the Waldhuni river.

The project, which is inching ahead, has been opposed by the greens for a long time to conserve the Waldhuni river that falls along this project at Gauripada, Kalyan (W).

Sudhakar Jhore, 54, activist has raised concerns over the adverse effect of the project on the river. He said, “We want a proper survey to be conducted on how the project is affecting the river. The project has led to shrinking of the river banks and this will further lead to flooding in several parts as the water won’t have enough space to seep in. The government should stop this project.

“Instead of undertaking such projects, the civic bodies should first look into the conservation of the water body, which they have failed to do. The river is already subjected to rampant pollution from industries and it has turned into a nullah. There is no plan to clean it by the stakeholders.”

The Waldhuni river flows from the hills of Kashivli village of Ambernath taluka, further to Bohonali village, Kakole village and to the historic Lord Shiv temple in Ambernath. It also crosses different parts of the Ulhasnagar and Kalyan cities.

“In June 2015, the urban development department of Maharashtra government, in a notification, asked the local civic bodies to look after the Waldhuni river. However, the civic bodies did not take up any conservation of the river,” added Jhore.

Earlier, during the 2019 floods that hit several parts of Kalyan city, the entire city park project land was submerged under water. This led to concerns among the residents and activists about the sustainability of the project.

Shashikant Dayma, founder of Waldhuni Biradari NGO, said, “The construction of the park is on the river bed, which will definitely affect the water body. When there is high tide, the water won’t be able to flow with speed and this will lead to flooding in the nearby areas. We are not against the development but it should not be at the stake of killing our rivers.”

The idea of having a park in the city came in 2010, though the construction began in early 2019 when the fund of 114Cr was available under Smart City Scheme of the central government.

Balchandra Nemade, deputy engineer of Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation, said, “Following the floods in 2005, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had appointed the Maharashtra Engineering Research Institute (MERI) to conduct a study. The institute conducted the survey of 11.80m-long Waldhuni river and its premises and submitted a report to the authority in 2007. Based on that survey, we have initiated the works as per the permissible limits. The civic body has made sure that all the environmental norms are followed while carrying out the project.”

Meanwhile, the 40 per cent of the work on retaining wall on banks of Waldhuri river has been completed while 20 per cent of the work on the compound wall is complete. Land filling across the plot is on the verge of completion.

The city park is slated to have landscapes, garden, water plant and auditoriums, botanical garden, drive-in cinema, light and sound show, wind and water cafe, jogging track, playground, cultural gallery, exhibition court, green corridor, children’s play garden, toy train, shopping street, eatery lane, tennis court, swimming pool, basketball court, skating ring and farm land.

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