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Residents of Pune oppose concretisation of green cover at Taljai hills by civic body

Residents say that the move has posed great danger to the ecology of the hill, which is visited by masses

pune Updated: Jun 28, 2019 16:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Regular walker Satyajit Pandit prefers to sit on wooden sit-out at Taljai hill.
Regular walker Satyajit Pandit prefers to sit on wooden sit-out at Taljai hill. (Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)
         

The proposed development plan (DP) at Taljai tekdi (hill) has put the residents at loggerheads with the Pune Municipal Corporation.

The proposed development plan that involves beautification programme has attracted opposition from residents crying that the move has posed great danger to the ecology of the hill, located in Sahakarnagar, and visited by morning and evening goers in large number.

The proposed work has also brought to fore controversy about 108 land owners on the hill who were ousted by the PMC in 2007 – 2008 after promising them that their land will be given for preservation of forest.

Some residents feel that though the hill has lost its charm as a dense forest, efforts are being made to retain its green cover. “All we want is that there should not be concretisation within the forest,” said Manisha Chadha, who is a regular walker at the hills. Taljai tekdi has got new sit-outs made of cement as compared to the earlier ones which were made of wood and wrought iron bench. Another regular Satyajit Vasant Pandit chose to rest on the wooden bench which he finds it more comfortable and relaxing.

“These benches need to be repaired, the wood is chipping and these are much better than the concrete ones. It will be better if they keep it natural and maintain it. Increase in human interference has reduced the sightings of rabbits and foxes on the hill. There are a few peacocks and other birds and deer are almost extinct on the hill. I remember the place used to be a dense forest during my childhood days.”

Another resident Rajendra Deshpande said, “As a senior citizen, there is no harm in having concrete sit-outs or yoga platforms. It is good for us to stop a while and rest. But they should avoid planting foreign variety of trees and concentrate on regaining the dense forest again.”

On June 18, 2017, Pune Municipal Corporation discussed on the point of conservation of Taljai hill and the ongoing work. Corporator Ashwini Kadam opposed the new concepts. Taljai has plenty of new things proposed like a big park in 40 acres, with one of the largest nurseries in Pune, children playground in the first phase.

“The name of the hill Taljai was derived from a lake which is in the forest area and is currently facing extinction. A large pond will be constructed by rainwater harvesting in the planned project in Taljai, which will end the need for water from the park,” said Kadam, who is unhappy with these plans.

The plan further states that 6,00,000 new trees will be planted on the hill and the rare plants on the hill will be conserved, and parking facility will be provided at the top of the hill.

Amod Rahalkar, a nature lover, pointed out trees dying due to the massive use of concrete to set up Sadu Shinde stadium. “The trees we planted are dead and more trees we planted are going to die, but no one cares about the loss of water which these trees helped retain. We have worked on the hills to water at least one thousand trees during summer. Why is there a need to concrete this place?”

First phase covering five acres

1)Cricket ground named after Indian cricketer Sadhu Shinde which holds a sitting capacity of 2,000-3,000 people

2)Laughter club with sitting capacity for 200-300 people

3)Open air gymnasium separate for male and female consisting of 28 different gym equipment

4) Two kabaddi grounds

Elected members fight over Taljai development plan

Elected members at Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Tuesday opposed the development plan at Taljai hills and left the meeting called by the civic administration.

The meeting was called by PMC commissioner Saurabh Rao after several residents and some corporators opposed the proposed development plan at Taljai hills that attract many residents from Sahakarnagar and surrounding areas for morning and evening walks.

Among those invited for the meeting included corporators and elected representatives from the area.

Congress member Aba Bagul, Nationalist Congress Party members Subhash Jagtap and Ashwini Kadam, Bharatiya Janata Party members Disha Mane and Mahesh Wable were present at the meeting though the commissioner himself remained absent citing “personal work”.

Bagul proposed the development plan for Taljai hills. During the meeting, he showed a presentation for the plan, but faced objection from corporators. Jagtap and Bagul exchanged heated words over the proposal.

While party representatives said that there is no need of development works on the hill, Bagul favoured development. Finally, all the members walked away and demanded a meeting in the presence of commissioner.

Under the development plan, PMC plans gardens, solar parking and bicycle and two kabbadi grounds. The corporation has already developed a cricket ground with jogging track.

First Published: Jun 28, 2019 16:50 IST

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