Katraj to become a tourist hub

PMC to invest Rs 35 crore to convert lake into hotspot for visitors

The civic body's plan to convert the Katraj Lake into a tourist area will require some major spadework.
The green patch of Katraj surrounding the lake is reportedly disappearing with the recent concretisation of the area and the developing work.

View from the top: An aerial view of the Katraj Upper Lake, the Rajiv
Gandhi Zoo and the Katraj Lower Lake. Pic/Mangesh Dighe

Mangesh Dighe, environment officer, PMC, who took aerial survey pictures of the Katraj Lake and adjoining Bibwewadi stretch, said the area was gradually losing its green patch. "This is primarily because there was no enforcement of the Development Plan made in 1986," he said. "The aerial pictures which I have taken while paragliding last week will certainly help the PMC in making further planning easier," said Dighe.

The PMC is also spending Rs 35 crore on the development of the Upper Katraj Lake from JNNURM funds and the beautification work has already started. The civic body intends to make the Katraj area a tourist hub. "Except the main road linking Swargate and Katraj hills, there was no control over the development of Pune," said Ganesh Shewale, a resident of Maharshi Nagar.

Vasant More, local MNA corporator, said that he had planted over 2,500 trees in the area since 2007 and has not allowed any development on the hilly area in Katraj. "We have made the Katraj Lake so beautiful that over 2,500 trees were planted in the last four years.

History of Katraj
Size: 29.30 acres
Island in the lake: 1 acre

This place was specially developed by the Peshwa rulers of the city. A unique natural water supply system was developed by Nanasaheb Peshwe by using a gravitational principle. This lake is naturally made by two nullas with a variety of flora and fauna "The water supply system is still used in some parts of the city," said Shubhada Kamlapurkar, a well-known conservation architect. Katraj area also abounds with wild life, including hyenas, civet, rabbits and a variety of snakes, said Dr Ankur Patwardhan, a wild life expert from Ranwa, who had conducted a survey in 2001.

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