PMC ready with Riverfront project sample stretch for G20 delegates
The PMC missed showing sample stretch – between Chima Garden and Bund Garden - to the G20 delegates during the first round of the summit in January this year.
Ahead of the second round of the G20 Summit to be held in the city in June, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is ready with a 300 metres’ sample stretch of the Mula-Mutha Riverfront Development (RFD) project to be shown to the visiting delegates. The PMC missed showing the sample stretch – between Chima Garden and Bund Garden - to the G20 delegates during the first round of the summit in January this year.
Yuvraj Deshmukh, executive engineer of the PMC, said, “We have completed 20% of the work (two stretches) so far. We have completed the 300 metres sample stretch at Bund Garden near the Ahilyabai Holkar Ghat. We started work last December. We had concentrated on the 300 metre sample stretch to show it to the G20 delegation that was visiting the city in January this year. However, we could not do so at the time.”
“Now, the G20 delegation is going to visit in June. We have completed the sample stretch. We will show the work to the delegation this time,” he said.
The RFD project entails reviving the Mula-Mutha river on the lines of the Sabarmati Riverfront Development project in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Work on two stretches (13 kilometres) between Sangamwadi and Bund Garden (Yerawada) and Bund Garden (Yerawada) and Mundhwa has been completed and contractors have been instructed to remove all the material in the first week of June to facilitate the river flow.
Surendra Karpe, deputy engineer of the RFD project, said, “We have developed a 300 metre sample stretch at the Ahilyabai Holkar Ghat near Yerawada Bridge. We have completed all the work including pavements for walking, Ghats and their beautification.”
Work on the RFD project began in December 2022 with the PMC beautifying the riverbank from Sangamwadi to Bund Garden (Yerawada), building cycling tracks along the river and giving a facelift to Naik Bet (island). At present, contractors have completed the work of embankment and rock pitching at Koregaon Park near the crematorium and at the Dhobi Ghat and Boat Club Road riverside. Thereafter, work on the footpaths and on planting trees will be carried out.
While the PMC had proposed the felling of more than 6,000 trees along the Mula and Mutha rivers, the civic body held a public hearing and decided to let the state government take the final decision on the matter after people protested the axing of trees.
Deshmukh said, “We completed the hearing and the report will be sent to the state government. After the government’s decision, we will take a call on the felling of trees. Till date, we have continued our work without cutting the trees.”
The PMC officials have claimed that most of the trees that are proposed to be cut down are bushes and of foreign species. “PMC will be planting more than 65,000 trees of local species as compensation for the trees that will be axed for the project,” Deshmukh said.
The PMC initiated the RFD project five years ago. The total cost of the project was estimated to be ₹2,619 core in 2017 but the cost has now increased to ₹4,727 crore. The state government has approved the formation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the project. The project – which includes gardens, jogging tracks and recreational areas along the river - will require 768 hectares of land. The state government and the environmental department have already cleared the project. However, environmentalists and civic activists have raised concerns over 80% concretisation along the riverbank and blocking the free flow of the river among others.