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Pune’s Balewadi breathes in cement as illegal concrete plant thrives

Residents have lodged their complaints with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board but, no action has been taken yet

pune Updated: Aug 22, 2017 11:28 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
cement,illegal,plant
The cement plant at Balewadi in Pune. (HT Photo)

Residents of Balewadi and surrounding areas have been protesting against the pollution caused by a Ready Mix Concrete (RMC) plant erected in their locality by a construction firm.

The residents have also lodged their complaints against the plant at the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board alleging that the plant has been set up illegally without any permission, but no action has been taken yet.

According to the locals, without any prior notice, a large numbers of dumpers started bringing in materials for a concrete plant to be set up in Survey No 38/6, Balewadi in May. Despite follow-ups and complaints made at the local civic body and PMCB, no action was taken, alleged the residents.

“This is a residential area primarily and we are concerned with a concrete plant coming up,” said KN Peethambaran, a resident of Golden Trellis society.He said that the dumpers plying through the locality created a lot of air pollution as it spreads concrete dust in the air.

“Dumper trucks have been regularly coming to the plant since May, making it very difficult for the children and senior citizens to walk on the narrow road. The dumpers don't follow any safety norms and comes at high speeds most of the time, putting the lives of the residents in danger. Moreover, these trucks dump huge rocks in the riverbank which is hazardous for the surrounding environment,” he added.

The residents said that they have signed an online petition against the concrete plant in Balewadi, which has become a cause for concern for more than 3000 families living in that area. This petition, which aims to stop the concrete plant, has been shared widely on online forums and social media.

The residents raised many complaints with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and received few responses through social media.While the civic body has issued a notice to the land owner, no action has been implemented on the ground yet.

Residents also held protests to stop the concrete plant construction work till the concerned constructor shows them approval documents from various authorities including the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and Maharashtra town planning authority.

“We decided to file an RTI to get authentic and proper information from the PMC. The online RTI was filed with in June and there has been no response yet,” said Peethambaran.

After the first appeal, the residents also met with some PMC officials. “From their response against the RTI appeal hearing dated July 25,2017, it is very clear that PMC did not give any approval for the construction of an RMC concrete plant in plot Survey No. 38/6, Balewadi,” claimed the residents.

The residents, through MyLife foundation, have also submitted a complaint at the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and to the police inspector of Chaturshrungi division.The health inspector of PMC Aundh ward has also been notified.

Another local resident, Piyush Shukla said, “The RMC plant is surely going to be an issue with respect to the health and safety of the residents. It is too close for comfort for the residents. Dust and cement particles in the air as well as trucks commuting throughout the day has a direct impact on our lives. To make the matter worst, it is built on the land next to my society and on the side of flat that I reside along with my elderly mother and five-year-old kid. The heavy trucks commuting on the half built road is a nightmare. The plant will also be a source of noise pollution soon and life will become hell in three to four years. We had tried our best to stop the plant construction, but the authorities are turning a blind eye to our concern.”

According to Sudarshan Jagdale, a member of the Golden street residents association, "PMC is not able to provide water, roads and drainage for residential /housing societies, but are allowing illegal commercial projects in Balewadi, in spite of the high court decision to stop construction in this area. PMC authorities are completely careless about residents who regularly pay property taxes"

First Published: Aug 22, 2017 11:27 IST