After repeated objections by ASI, civic body stops work on grade separators

On January 17, MiD DAY had highlighted (‘PMC’s love for Pune’s heritage a sham?’) that while on one hand the city’s civic body had organised an international seminar for conservation of heritage sites the previous month, on the other it continued grade separator work close to Pataleshwar caves, despite demurs from Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Temporary halt: Grade separator work at SG Burve Chowk . File Pic

Finally, Pune Municipal Corporation has relented, but civic officials claim the stoppage of work is only till the end of the month, as by then PMC would have secured consent. ASI had issued stop-work notice to the corporation twice — in October and December last year — for carrying out operations within 100 metres of the centrally-protected heritage site, dating back to 8th century AD. For the construction of grade separators at SG Burve Chowk, PMC has received Rs 24 crore under Jawaharlal Nehru Nationally Urban Renewal Mission.

“We have replied to the notice and demanded permission from ASI. State government officials have also talked with the archaeological survey authorities in Delhi. We have convinced them about the need and urgency of the project. There will be a meeting on April 25 regarding this issue. So we have stopped work till then,” said Vivek Kharwadkar, additional city engineer, PMC.

When contacted by MiD DAY, Madan Singh Chauhan, superintending archaeologist (ASI), Mumbai circle, said, “We are not against the project. Actually according to rules, the local body should inform ASI and take permission before any such construction. It should also provide detailed project report and design to us. If PMC communicates appropriately, we are ready to cooperate. We have forwarded the letter of the corporation to the Delhi authorities, and they will take a final decision.”¬†

Rs 24 cr The amount PMC has received for the grade separator work 

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