Save Bhairoba Nallah, say residents; object to PCB’s concretisation plan
Various non governmental organisations (NGOs) have raised serious concerns over a proposal by the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) to concretise the Bhairoba nallah (stream).
This is after PCB raised a proposal to the Principal Directorate of Defence Estates of Southern Command in November 2019, to concretise the waterbed of the nallah to avoid flooding during the monsoons.
As many as 20 citizen groups and NGOs have objected to the proposal and are seeking an audience with PCB to discuss the effects of the proposal.
The PCB concretisation proposal came after the city witnessed flash floods in September 2019.
Many housing societies from Wanowrie and NIBM road area such as Ganga Satellite, Utopia, Clover village, Radiant, Nancy Garden, Kumar Homes, Manish park phase 2, Padma Vilas enclave, Natasha Enclave, Rose Parade were affected by the flood.
Maithily Manakwad, a resident of Wanowrie and a member of the Wanowrie Residents Association, said, “We were badly affected by the flash floods last year. If the PCB continues with their idea of concreting the waterbed, the water will not percolate into the ground, which will also affect the water levels of the bore wells and during monsoon, it will cause more problems.”
One objection written in by the resident groups states: “The proposed concretisation of the Bhairoba nallah is a wrong decision and will lead to ecological damage and there will be adverse impact on the Ripirain zone - plants and vegetation; bio-diversity - flora and fauna; birds - many species of birds survive on food sources found in the natural stream, they nest in the surroundings.
“The aquatic life will also be affected - a variety of aquatic life and amphibians, reptilians among others. This move will increase the high flooding risk due to increase in the velocity and volume of water flow during heavy rains and cloud bursts, adverse effects to groundwater levels and damage to the aquifers will affect the source of water to many residential societies.”
The residents also said that according to the Jal Shakti guidelines issued by central government, it is required by the local bodies to ensure groundwater recharge conducive measures to be implemented, therefore we demand PCB to initiate measures of removal of encroachments and illegal constructions along the course of the stream, widen the nullah to its original natural state by desilting and cleaning the stream.
Shaileja Deshpande, co founder Jeevit Nadi, NGO, and a member of Ecological Society of India, said, “Streams and natural drains work like feeders to the river. Though surface water dries post monsoons, shallow aquifers (groundwater) help revive the river. Concretising will stop this natural process of percolation, infiltration and exchange.”
“Natural drains are important corridors for birds, butterflies and other fauna - terrestrial or aquatic. Seed dispersal is another benefit. We have already lost many such natural drains. Now the civic body must take efforts to save and restore them,” said Deshpande.
The natural water body
9.65 km Length of the basin
33.52 sq.km basin area
27.78 sq km Basin perimeter
The Bhairoba Nallah (rivulet) drains a catchment of 27.78 sq.km. It is located to the south of Pune city. The nallah originates at an elevation of 1,000 m above mean sea level (AMSL) near the offshoot the Western Ghats and flows towards north-west direction to join the Mutha river. This watershed area consists of Kondhwa area, Pune Cantonment, Bibewadi, Fatimanagar in Pune city and a village Yewalewadi. The physiography in the upper catchment area is hilly and of undulating nature. A dendritic type of drainage pattern is observed as the rivulet flows through the basalt.