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Khadakwasla dam catchment: Back-to-back notices to ZP by MPCB fail to curb pollution

Sewage is released into water body by Gorhe Khurd, Gorhe Budruk, Donje, Khanapur villages

pune Updated: Sep 15, 2018 15:23 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune,maharashtra,khadakwasla dam
Untreated sewage is released daily into Khadakwasla dam backwaters near Gorhe village. Maharashtra pollution control board letter states that it is the duty of zilla parishad to take immediate action otherwise it might face prosecution.(Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

The catchment areas of Khadakwasla dam, a major drinking water source for the city, is getting polluted as untreated sewage is released from nearby villages into the waters. Maharashtra pollution control board (MPCB) has issued two notices to Pune zilla parishad, yet the authorities are yet to prepare an action plan.

Green Thumb, a city-based NGO, which has been working in the Khadakwasla area for many years, brought the issue to the notice of gram panchayat members of villages located near the dam’s catchment areas in December 2017. However, no action was taken and waste was released unchecked into the water body by villages like Gorhe Khurd, Gorhe Budruk, Donje and Khanapur.

Lieutenant Colonel (retd) Suresh Patil, founder president of Green Thumb, later moved the MPCB and, taking the issue seriously, the board sent letter to zilla parishad asking them to take action. With no effective action plan in place after receiving the letter, MPCB in August sent a reminder and another one on September 10.

The MPCB letter says, “The population of villages around the dam has increased in the last 3-4 years and it has been found that gram panchayats are not capable of handling the increased volume of solid waste management. So, it’s the duty of zilla parishad to take immediate action otherwise they might face prosecution.”

SD Gandhe, regional officer, MPCB said, “We haven’t given any deadline to finish the work, but we are expecting that the civic body should understand the gravity of the issue and take necessary steps. So far, we haven’t received anything from them.”

The HT team visited one of the spots, where the drainage pipelines were releasing waste into Khadakwasla backwaters near Gorhe village. Though, the released water was looking clear, Green Thumb workers claimed that it was highly contaminated.

“Sometimes, we observe foam on the backwaters. Not only villages but also hotels and other small scale industries discharge their waste into the waters,” said one local on condition of anonymity.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule on Monday also demanded immediate action on dam water pollution. Meanwhile, ZP chairman Vishwas Devkate could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

Shaileja Deshpande, founder director, Jeevit Nadi NGO, said, “It’s very hazardous when the untreated sewage gets mixed with the stagnant water storage. It leads to methane creation, which is harmful. Secondly, not just human waste, but the excessive use of fertilisers, waste released by small fabricators, powder coating workshops in these villages is more harmful. Unfortunately, PMC’s water purification and filtration plant is not effective enough to separate these harmful chemicals from our drinking water. I don’t understand why the civic administration cannot afford an advanced plasma membrane technology, which is used all over the world. As per my knowledge, the PMC still use chlorine-based technology, which is ineffective against the harmful chemicals.”

First Published: Sep 15, 2018 15:21 IST