Officials from the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) road department and garden department initiated a drive to rid the bridges of unwanted grass and peepal saplings.
Work in progress
“We took cognizance of the Mid DAY report which was published last week and a special drive for manually removing grass and unwanted tree saplings on the bridges over Mutha was initiated,” PMC Executive Engineer (Bridges) Pravin Gedam said.
He said the PMC had deputed labourers for the work and the drive commenced from Balgandhharva Bridge.
“Our plan is to remove unwanted saplings, including peepal, growing on the important bridges in the city,” he said. “The drive will continue for the next 15 days to a month. The drive is a joint venture between the garden department and us.”
Gedam said appointment of consultants for determining the gravity of damage caused by the saplings to the bridges would be done soon.
“The proposal is in tendering stage. We need to do the work systematically and scientifically on 21 bridges constructed on Mula and Mutha Rivers,” Gedam said.
PMC Assistant Superintendent (Gardens) Santosh Kamble said cleaning work of the bridges and some of the roads in the city will be completed before Ganapati festival.
“There is a need to remove the peepal saplings growing on the bridges as they are growing fast due to monsoon,” Kamble said.
MiD DAY survey
MID DAY had surveyed 11 bridges on Mutha, starting from Rajaram Bridge to Sangam Bridge, in the last week of August, which revealed that saplings were growing on the divider ducts and railings of the eight bridges.
The growth of unwanted saplings was threatening to weaken the foundation of these structures.
As per the survey report, Nava Pul (Shivaji Bridge) near the PMC Main Building had maximum peepal tress on its railing. The bridge was constructed in the 19th century.
Several botanists, including veteran tree research scholar Dr S G Mahajan, had pointed out the rampant growth of peepal trees and warned the officials that it would lead to the destruction of the bridge.
“Destroying peepal saplings growing on the city bridges should be the top priority of the civic body,” environmentalist Medha Joshi of the non-governmental organisation Nisargasevak said.