Green activists see red as PMC links riverside road to DP road

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is facing strong opposition from environmentalists over the Mutha riverside road issue. The road along the river basin stretches from the Jayantrao Tilak Bridge at Shivajinagar to Ravindra Mhatre Bridge near Nal Stop on Karve Road.

Road of contention: The Mutha riverside road that ends near Mhatre Bridge

To ease traffic on Karve Road, JM Road and Sinhagad Road, the PMC is linking the riverside road to the adjoining 100-feet-wide DP Road at Mhatre Bridge. It was Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak who had declared the riverside road would be linked to the nearby DP Road, which finally meets Sinhagad Road.

While doing a survey at Karve Nagar and Kothrud, Pathak had ordered PMC road engineers to link the 500-metre-long gap between the riverside road and DP Road. Four years ago, noted environmentalist Vijay Paranjpe, president, Gomukh, had approached the Bombay High Court to stop the laying of a road along the basin of the Mutha river.

Land near the riverbed that the PMC may use to link the riverside road to DP Road

“Any river requires its space and we should not occupy it by constructing a road,” he said. “The PMC should not allow any kind of construction by obstructing the flow.”  Referring to an order of the high court on April 26, Anupam Saraf, convener, Jal Biradari, said the PMC can not make undertake any concrete work near the river. Saraf said even the Ministry of Environment and Forests had issued the same order.

The DP road, which meets Mhatre Bridge. Pics/Vivek Sabnis

Sensitive issue
Pathak agreed that the issue was sensitive as many environmentalists had already gone to court over it, but said he was only trying to ease the traffic situation. “To ease the traffic flow on Karve Road, JM Road and Sinhagad Road, obstacles near Mhatre Bridge need to be removed,” Pathak said. “Subsequently, encroachments at DP Road shall also be cleared to make the link easier. This whole exercise is for easing traffic conditions on city roads.”

Pathak also said some land near the riverside road linking DP Road belonged to a private landowner. “We need to talk to the landowners and also follow the court order to sort out the legalities involved in it,” he said. Additional City Engineer, Roads, Vivek Kharwadkar, said it would not be proper to comment on the issue at this stage.

“At this moment, we can’t make any comment on the issue as the study is ongoing,” Kharwadkar said. “We expect the problem to get sorted out soon, and the work of linking the riverside road to DP Road should start after the monsoon.” 

Road from ’87 DP
The PMC has not followed its Development Plan of 1987, in which a 17-km road along the Mutha was suggested from Sinhgad Road to Ahmadnagar Road. “Now we are working on the project. In the Rs 308 crore project, a road will link Shivne, Mhatre Bridge, Sangamwadi and Kharadi,” Additional City Engineer, Projects, Shrinivas Bonala said.

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