Over 2,000 supporters protest PMC projects at Vetal tekdi

ByPrachi Bari
Aug 08, 2022 12:12 AM IST

Residents tied yellow ribbons to trees to pledge their support for the Vetal tekdi through the ‘yellow ribbon campaign’

Even as the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) withholds the findings of its survey of Balbharti-Paud road conducted a few months ago, residents are in no mood to relent with a fresh round of protests having erupted on Sunday.

Protestors at Vetal tekdi on Sunday. (HT PHOTO)
Protestors at Vetal tekdi on Sunday. (HT PHOTO)

Sunday morning saw over 2,000 Punekars converge at the Apla Maruti temple, Vetal tekdi, to tie yellow ribbons to trees to pledge their support for the Vetal tekdi through the ‘yellow ribbon campaign’. Residents who reached the tekdi at 7.30 am tied yellow ribbons - made of biodegradable and recycled scraps of cloth – to the trees to express their love and support for the tekdi and the urban forests on it.

The ‘yellow ribbon campaign’ has been launched by citizens who have expressed their support for conserving the Vetal tekdi. “We have been agitating for over 50 years against the development projects on the tekdi to conserve this resource for our future generations, “ said Dr Sumita Kale, one of the residents and a member of the Deccan Gymkhana parisar samiti. The ‘yellow ribbon campaign’ will continue with the twofold aim of creating awareness amongst citizens about these destructive projects and the need to conserve the Vetal tekdi and demanding effective public transport.

“Despite thousands of objections by citizens, the PMC has approved three projects on Vetal tekdi - the Balbharti-Paud phata road across the Law college hill slope, the HCMTR elevated road aligned parallelly above the Balbharti road on the same slope, and the tunnel from Panchavati with two entry/exit points at Gokhalenagar and Sutardara,” said Harshad Abhyankar, Save Pune traffic movement, offering insight into the situation. “The real solution to growing traffic in Pune is the provision of an effective bus transport system.”

He said that the PMC survey carried out for the Balbharati–Paud phata road clearly shows that congestion on the Law college road will not reduce significantly with this alternative road. The PMC studies also show that there will be irreversible damage to the biodiversity, green space and groundwater recharge from the slopes that currently feed bore wells in a large part of Deccan/Erandawane.

Vetal tekdi is not just a natural heritage for Pune but also a part of Pune’s cultural identity. Meanwhile, VG Kulkarni, head of the road department, PMC, said, “We are still studying the proposals and haven’t yet come to any decision on the Balbharati-Paud road.”


Creativity flowed throughout the morning at Vetal tekdi as artists joined in to express their solidarity with the ‘save Vetal tekdi’ movement.

Milind Mullick, world-famous water-colour artist, painted a landscape of the hill and said that he hoped that “This stairway to heaven does not become a highway to hell.”

Sonal Pendse’s kathak troupe performed a short kathak dance about the beauty in nature. A Marathi street play by Parag and group urged the PMC to reconsider these projects, Vinit Allurkar and his students sang songs of unity and hope, while youngsters and senior citizens alike recited emotional poems on how the tekdi needs to be preserved for posterity.

“We shall keep the movement on till these projects are withdrawn by the PMC. The tekdi is a ‘no development, no construction’ zone,” said Sushma Date.

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