Citizens launch campaign to protest garbage depot at Punawale
In 2008, The PCMC had reserved 22 hectares of land at survey number 24 in Punawale village located off Katraj-Dehuroad Bypass
To oppose the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s (PCMC) proposal to build a garbage depot on 22 hectares of forest land in Punawale, local residents have launched a campaign called ‘Mi Punawalekar’.
In 2008, The PCMC had reserved 22 hectares of land at survey number 24 in Punawale village located off Katraj-Dehuroad Bypass. The civic body in exchange for the land had paid ₹3.5 crore to the forest department and promised to provide alternative land elsewhere. However, with no efforts from PCMC to acquire this land in the past 15 years, several residential projects, schools, and colleges have come up in the vicinity of the proposed project.
Now, the civic body has begun the process to acquire the land for its second garbage depot, leading to unrest among the area residents. In the past two weeks the locals have met Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde; deputy chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, and local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), Ashwini Jagtap requesting to quell the decision.
Residents are noting that Punawale is home to more than 1 lakh people and has a beautiful forest area next to it. Large trees would have to be cut to set up the garbage depot on the proposed land, which will have an impact on the daily lives of all residents.
Chetan Bhujbal, an area resident, said the PCMC should have kept a 1000-meter buffer zone for no construction in the vicinity of the proposed garbage depot land. However, permissions were given to construct several residential projects and now the citizens who have invested in them have become disgruntled.
Bhujbal said every time a new municipal commissioner is appointed the vision of the civic body changes and the citizens have to protest to cancel the decision.
“The land was never acquired during the tenure of the previous Municipal Commissioners because the decision to establish the unit here was incorrect,” he stated.
Another resident, Hemant Koyate, stated that there are already over 1 lakh people living near the proposed plant and that a new residential project of 500 acres has been built recently.
Vishal Kate, another resident said, all people living in this area are opposing the decision and the civic body should consider it.
Sanjay Kulkarni, joint city engineer of PCMC, said, the civic body currently has only one Garbage depot on the 81 acres of land in Moshi which is running out of its capacity and there’s a need to build another unit at Punawale.
“The land at Punawale won’t be a garbage depot but a processing unit. The unit will have high-end technology so that the citizens won’t face any issues. However, no one wants a garbage unit in their area,” he said.