Residents divided over installing gym equipment and paver blocks on Mhatoba tekdi

Updated on Mar 31, 2021 04:34 PM IST

Objections were raised after the forest department decided to lay paver blocks, some residents are against the use of cement and concrete on the tekdi.

Pune, India - March 30, 2021: Garden work ongoing near Mhatoba temple at Mhatoba Nagar, Kotharud in Pune, India, on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (HT PHOTO)
Pune, India - March 30, 2021: Garden work ongoing near Mhatoba temple at Mhatoba Nagar, Kotharud in Pune, India, on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (HT PHOTO)
ByPrachi Bari

The forest department is caught in the crossfire of residents who are divided over the idea of beautification and conservation of tekdis around the city.

A fortnight ago, the forest department began their work on the Nakshatra garden project on the slopes of the Mhatoba tekdi, which is within their perimeters, however objections were raised after the forest department decided to lay paver blocks. Some residents are against the use of cement and concrete on the tekdi.

“The Nakshratra garden was in the plan of beautification of the tekdis and in the creation of a green cover. We will be planting trees according to the moon signs, and after insistence of residents were also adding paving blocks as a boundary to every tree so that people can rest or exercise or do yoga under these trees. We are not using any cement but simply putting in interlocking paving blocks to hold the pattern together during monsoon,” said forest range officer, Deepak Pawar.

Rohidas Sutar, Kothrud resident and businessman is one of the regulars to the tekdi, who was part of the team who visited the forest department to request for the gym equipment.

“There are plenty of walkers and those who exercise wanted this equipment and we had visited and requested to the forest department to set it up in their area. They gave us permission orally to set up the equipment,” he said.

“Following the orders from the forest department, we have not used any cement or concrete to fit these equipment instead have used rock crevices to hold them” he added.

“We have been coming here for 22 years to the Mhatoba tekdi, as the temple is of our gram daivat. We come here to plant trees and nurture them and there are many who come for regular walks and exercises. Some of the regular visitors approached us stating that some gym equipment would be helpful,” said Sachin Mokate, a resident of Kothrud, and part of the Mhatobagad Sevak Sangh.

On the other hand, some of the environment and tekdi lovers were aghast after seeing photos circulated on social media of these paving blocks and gym equipment jutting out on slopes.

“They want the hills to be left alone. How does one make the forest department understand that ‘forest’ and ‘concrete’ are antonyms? Are the concrete pavers meant for sitting? It is quite unexpected and actually unbecoming of the forest department,” said Ashutosh Pradhan, member of the Save Vetal tekdi group.

While Uma Dongre, a resident of Pashan and a regular tekdi visitor said, “These gyms can be set up in amenity spaces and footpaths. Let the forest land be dedicated for trees and wildlife with minimal human intervention. Sadly, the PMC is selling off amenity spaces. Not only that, but the roadside gyms are also rusted and broken, there is no maintenance. Instead of setting up new gyms they should maintain existing gyms.”

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