Retired soldiers clean up Pune’s Bairobha nallah stretch, turn it into mini forest
Work began in May 2019, and 15,000 trees of at least 100 varieties, have now been plantedUpdated: Jan 31, 2020 16:09 IST
The one- km Bairobha nallah (canal) stretch from Sopanbaug to Anant Talkies in Ghorpadi, has been completely transformed thanks to a collaboration between retired soldiers and city-based NGO, Green Thumb. The Hinduja Foundation donated Rs 50 lakh for the beautification of the canal
Before the clean up and beautification process, which took six months, the site was considered the filthiest in the area. The defence land had become had become a dumping ground for household waste. Coupled with the trash, the stagnant water had triggered a massive health hazard in the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) limits.
The work on the stretch, which now resembles a mini forest, began in May, when the Dakshin Maharashtra and Goa Sub Area (DMGSA) contacted the Hinduja Foundation to sponsor the clean up. The foundation awarded the task to Green Thumb, an NGO run by Lt Colonel Suresh Patil (retired).
As part of the project, thousands of fruit bearing trees, coconut trees, bamboo, neem, banyan, custard apple and drumstick trees have been planted across the embankment of the canal. Earthmovers were deployed to remove the canal silt and truckloads of black sand were brought in to fill in the ditch along the embankment. A massive plan for the garden was constructed.
Green Thumb roped in residents and students for the project. Anwar Shaikh, principal, Poona College, who tied up with Green Thumb to carry out environment conservation at the spot said, “The canal showed signs of complete desolation and was infested with shrubs and unwanted growth of creepers and emitted a foul smell. Now, things have changed completely. Our students participated in tree planting activities and also helped in environmental conservation and cleaning work.”
According to officials, the project further entails to reuse the highly contaminated and foul smelling canal water for irrigation. There are plans to use biotic plants and gamboge fishing’s to cleanse the contaminated canal water.
Santosh Ghorpade, an area resident said, “Earlier when we used to look out of our window, it resembled to be wasteland and emitted foul smell. During the last six months, the area has been slowly transformed into a green zone. We can feel the change in the quality of air and the foul smell is less intense these days.”
Amit Kumar, PCB CEO said, “We had given permission to the foundation to carry out beautification and restoration work. We appreciate the efforts undertaken by them and are awaiting official handover of the area to us at the earliest.”
6 months: Time taken for the project
5: Earthmovers were deployed for clean up
50: Number of conservation workers on ground
15,000: Number of trees planted
Rs 50 lakh: Funding received from Hinduja Foundation