Pune metro route to no longer pass through Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Updated on Jan 24, 2019 02:55 PM IST

The move by the Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited will save sanctuary’s 200 trees from being felled

PMC has cut down trees for road construction from HSBC towers in Kalyaninagar to Gunjan chowk. The proposed realignment of the Vanaz-Ramwadi metro corridor is planned next to this road.(HT PHOTO)
PMC has cut down trees for road construction from HSBC towers in Kalyaninagar to Gunjan chowk. The proposed realignment of the Vanaz-Ramwadi metro corridor is planned next to this road.(HT PHOTO)
Hindustan Times, Pune | By

Strong opposition from citizens has left the Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (Maha-Metro) to take a decision to change the proposed realignment of the Vanaz-Ramwadi corridor metro rail that was passing through Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. The move has saved sanctuary’s 200 trees from being felled.

A Maha-Metro spokesperson said, “Having faced a stiff opposition from citizen activists on our proposed alignment of the metro route which involved cutting of trees in bird sanctuary, we have changed the alignment. The new route will pass through the available space at garbage depot near Gunjan chowk and very few trees will be cut.”

We are equally environment conscious as the residents and will also transplant the trees that will be uprooted during construction, added the spokesperson.

Initially, the metro route was planned on Ahmednagar road from Gunjan chowk to Ramwadi, but the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) stated that no construction can be carried out within 100 metres of the heritage site Aga Khan Palace. Hence, the metro route was changed and the new stretch was planned through the bird sanctuary.

This route was opposed by citizen activists, residents of Kalyaninagar and NGO Friends of Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary claiming that the construction would severely affect the sanctuary’s biodiversity.

However, the latest change in metro alignment has also faced public opposition.

Sameer Nikam, member of Friends of Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary said, “Maha-Metro might have changed their construction spot by 100 metres from the previous location, but the fact remains that biodiversity of the sanctuary will suffer as the work would take place in close proximity.”

The activist said that the new metro alignment also goes through the garbage depot that is located at boundary of the sanctuary and will adversely impact the bird habitat.

“We had requested the construction of the metro route from the main road (Ahmednagar road), however, the authorities have turned a deaf ear,” Nikam said.

Metro route to bypass sanctuary

Maha-Metro’s Initial route was Gunjan chowk to Ramwadi on Ahmednagar road passing near heritage site Aga Khan Palace.

After the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) direction that no construction can be carried out within 100 metres of the heritage site Aga Khan Palace, the metro route was changed and planned through the bird sanctuary.

Opposition from citizen activists, residents of Kalyaninagar and NGO Friends of Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary made Maha-Metro to again changed the metro alignment route. Now the stretch will pass through the available space at garbage depot near Gunjan chowk and go to East Avenue and Ramwadi.

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