Common platform formed for saving Vetal tekdi from tunnel construction
After the Vetal tekdi tunnel construction received a green signal from the state government, citizens and NGOs in the city held a meeting to create a common platform to oppose the project called “Save Vetal Tekdi”.
In its first meeting held on June 27 in Panchavati, the forum invited people to join the movement to save the hills. Several forum members raised their concerns with the project and the serious ramifications, the project may cause if allowed.
During the meeting, various citizens’ forums, NGO’s, environmentalists presented the impact of the proposed tunnels on the area and the tekdi.
“The tunnel project has serious ramifications. It will have a disproportionate impact on the environment by irreversibly damaging one of the largest urban aquifer complexes - the Vetal tekdi hill range. This will result in growth of tanker lobbies in the areas that presently have no problems of water scarcity,” said Manoj Bhagwat, researcher, ACWADAM (Advanced Centre for Water Resources Development and Management).
He further added that the tunnel will permanently impact the capability of the city to sustain development in the future.
“It also has a large socio-economic impact especially on the densely inhabited areas of Kothrud and Gokhalenagar. The tunnel project will not solve the traffic congestion problem as is proposed by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), instead it will result in serious health risks,” said Pradeep Ghumare, resident and member of the Save Vetal tekdi.
The forum representatives also felt that such a project should not be taken up by PMC particularly in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.
“With Covid hitting hard on our economy, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) should be more judicious with its resources and focus on completion of Metro project that, according to PMC’s own account, will ease traffic congestion problem significantly,” said Sarang Yadwadkar, architect and urban planner.
“The tunnel project is unnecessary and wasteful expenditure of public money, particularly when PMC is already facing a massive financial crunch,” he said.