Pune’s Rs 2,619 cr riverfront project approved by state committee
The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) ambitious Rs 2,619 crore riverfront project along the rivers of Mula, Mutha and Mula-Mutha sangam river beds, has got a thumbs up from the State government’s State Environment Assessment (SEA) committee.
The committee has recommended the project to the Union environment ministry and the civic body now awaits a formal clearance from the state environment department which it expects will come soon.
The riverfront project of the civic body is on the lines with Gujarat’s Sabarmati riverfront project.
It will not only beautify the riverbanks but also restore the natural flow of the river. The project is spread across 44 km length of the rivers and widths varying between 80 metres to 250 metres.
Mangesh Dighe, environment officer, PMC said, “The project has got recommendation from the state environment assessment committee. Now the committee will put it forward the environment ministry and once we get the formal clearance letter, we can go ahead with the project. This development happened 15 days ago.”
The project might also eat into the roads along the riverbank which are also widely used by commuters during peak hours. Dighe added that any manual construction which blocks the river’s natural course of flow has been asked to be cleared.
The kiosks and stalls below the Z-bridge and other such manual constructions will be removed for the project.
The project also aims to stop the flow of untreated water into the rivers which also increases the growth of hyacinths, leading to serious environmental issues and mosquito menace.
The development of the banks is expected to stop the dumping of garbage and aims to stop the threat of flooding by restoring the natural limit of the riverbanks.
The project will also make the river accessible for citizens for recreational purposes which is currently not available.
The project envisages construction of 11 new sewage treatment plants to cover sewage generation till 2027, laying of 1,13.6 km of sewage lines connected to houses in city, construction of 24 community toilets in slum areas to stop open defecation along the river banks, monitoring of flow of effluent water, facilitation of public awareness programmes and the overall objective of rejuvenation of the Mula-Mutha.
Interception, diversion and treatment of domestic sewage generated and discharged in the river has also been planned to improve the quality of the rivers.
Mula Mutha river 2nd most-polluted in Maharashtra: MPCB
In a report released in June this year, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) said that the Mula-Mutha river, that flows along a 22-km stretch through Pune city, is Maharashtra’s second-most polluted river.
As of 2018, it contained human and animal excreta three times the permissible limits, MPCB said.
Mumbai’s Mithi river ranked as the most polluted river in the state as per the MPCB’s water quality assessment of eight major rivers in the state in 2018, published in the Maharashtra Economic Survey report 2018-19.
The study found levels of faecal coliform content (indication of human and animal excreta), biochemical oxygen demand (oxygen levels for aquatic life to survive) and dissolved oxygen in the Mula-Mutha river, all not meeting safety levels.
Reacting to the study, Sunil Joshi, environmentalist and river expert had said, “Presence of human and animal excreta three times above permeable limits indicates how our rivers are dying.”