Even at a time when many parts of the state are dealing withwidespread water scarcity, Pune Municipal Corporation’s decision to allocate Rs 2 crore for a new Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) in its 2013-14 budget has not gone down well with citizens. The reason is the ten such facilities that already exist have been less than satisfactory in their performance.
“We have taken this as a challenge and will use only treated water to spray the gardens in the PMC building. The civic body is getting 1 lakh litres of treated water every day, which is used for drinking, toilet cleaning and other purposes in the main building,” said VG Kulkarni, superintendent engineer, (water supply) PMC.
“If this project proves successful than we will also institute similar STP systems in 15 offices and other big properties of PMC,” he added. Kulkarni also claimed that the 10 existing STPs treat 70 per cent of the total 11.50 MLD water in the city, though Shrishti Eco-Research Institue (SERI) has recently documented a massive deterioration in the quality of water in Mutha, Ramnadi and Pavna rivers.
At many spots in these rivers, the dissolved oxygen level has gone below four parts per million (PPM), which indicates that these water bodies are dying.
“It seems PMC deciding to supply STP water to its main building is only a gimmick. This is a waste of taxpayers’ money. The reality remains that all the rivers in the city are going from bad to worse, though the civic body has spent crores of rupees on such projects. PMC, therefore, needs to use public money judiciously and instead of trying to grab eyeballs should come out with a clear plan to clean the water,” said Chandrakant Dixit, a senior citizen from Mangalwar Peth.
“Though, PMC has installed heavy and expensive machinery, this is not yet having any impact on the quality of water,” said Vinod Bodhankar, SERI. According to him, “Instead of just criticising the civic body for erecting STP in its main building, we would like to suggest and help decentralise the sewage treatment work on all the 125 nullahs spread over the city. This would help improve the quality of water in our rivers.”
Sandeep Khandve, executive engineer, building and maintenance works, PMC, said, “For padding up the STP in the PMC building, we are also digging two bore wells to complement the work. This will also provide adequate water for our Disaster Management Plan and newly installed fire-fighting system in the building.”