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State govt not opposed to riverfront development project: Jayant Patil

Published on Mar 22, 2022 04:55 PM IST

PUNE Minister for water resource Jayant Patil, on Saturday, said the state government is not against riverfront development project

Minister for water resource Jayant Patil, on Saturday, said the state government is not against riverfront development project. (HT FILE PHOTO)
ByHT Correspondent

PUNE Minister for water resource Jayant Patil, on Saturday, said the state government is not against riverfront development project. According to Patil, his department initiated the process of consultation with environmental activists as they raised concerns about the project.

While one meeting was already held last week, another is on cards to address the concerns.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) ambitious riverfront development project on March 6, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had ordered a committee to review it.

“The state government is not against riverfront development project. Since some environmental activists have raised concerns, my department organised a meeting with them which was also attended by PMC officials. We have already covered some issues and another meeting has been organised in a week or so. Once their concerns are addressed, work can start on the project,” said Patil while speaking to reporters in Mumbai.

However, during a press conference on Friday in Pune, environmentalists called on the PMC to prioritise cleaning the river water instead of only focusing on the riverfront development project.

“The riverfront development project in its current form for Mula-Mutha river has many flaws. It should not be implemented as it is,” said Sarang Yadwadkar, an environmentalist who is against pushing the project.

According to activists, the project doesn’t carry any details about mitigation plans for the situation of cloud bursting and river water levels going up drastically.

At its first meeting on Wednesday to discuss the much ambitious river development project the stakeholders decided to work on arriving on a common consensus and until then no physical work like construction work would begin along the riverbank, officials who were part of the meeting said.

The PMC will only continue with the surveying work and also undertake new surveys to identify the ecologically sensitive zones and the wetlands since the work contract has already been given.

Hanmant Gunale, chief engineer, water resources department, Pune, who headed the meeting had said, “There were some valid objections raised by the NGO’s wherein they asked for the PMC to identify the ecologically sensitive zones and the wetlands to ensure that the flora and fauna in the zones are not disturbed. The civic body would now address these concerns and then both the parties would come to a common consensus or a satisfactory common ground. The civic body would also present its point of view now. It is now decided that only survey work would go on and no physical work or construction work would begin.”

The project is one of the ambitious ones pushed hard by BJP with PMC being the executing authority. The 2,619 crore beautification project intends to make the river accessible for residents for recreational purposes, which is currently out of the question for many.

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