Road to trouble?

Apr 25, 2013, 05:48 IST | Sukirt D. Gumaste

A war of sorts has broken out between politicos and nature lovers, as both parties have resorted to intensive signature campaigns to drive home their point. The bone of contention between the two is the proposed Ganesh Khind (Bal Bharati)-Paud Road, which will pass through Hanuman tekdi.

While nature lovers, and NGOs — citing ecology and environment issues — are running a campaign to oppose the construction of the road, the BJP too is collecting signatures and distributing pamphlets demanding reservation of a garden along with road.

Touch me not: Environmentalists say that any geographical change on the hillock may lead to ecological disturbance in the area. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

Ajay Marane, president of BJP’s Kothrud assembly segment, said, “Around 32 acres of land was reserved for the park on the hillock, which is located behind Paud Phata police chowky. However, in the Development Plan (DP), a commercial zone has been proposed on the same land. We are not opposing the Bal Bharati-Paud Road, but are against the auditorium that will come up there.”

Bio war: (Inset) The BJP has distributed thousands of such pamphlets in nearby societies. The party is demanding construction of a huge garden on the hillock. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

He added that his party wants a garden on that 32-acre plot, as it will be beneficial for the environment. “We are doing to ensure that the proposal of setting up a commercial zone there gets scrapped,” said Marane, has distributed thousands of pamphlets in nearby societies.

However, nature lovers allege that the BJP is misguiding people. “Any geographical change on the hillock may lead to ecological disturbance. Besides, if a road is constructed through the many, several vehicles will pass through it everyday and the ‘garden’ will not be able to protect ecology of the area. The authorities and political parties should leave the hillock as it is,” said Varsha Sahastrabuddhe, a nature lover.

While Madhavi Rahirkar, a committee member of National Societies for Clean Cities, said, “The authorities should have done the environment assessment before proposing any project on the hillock. The state government should assign the work to a specialised agency, and reach a conclusion only after analysing the report. Besides, it’s obvious that construction of a road on hillock will disturb its ecological balance.

Meanwhile local Corporator Madhuri Sahastrabuddhe strongly demanded construction of Bal Bharati-Paud Road in the General Body (GB) meeting that was held on Tuesday. “Considering the heavy traffic jams and regular accidents on the Law College Road, construction of the proposed Balbharati-Paud Road has become necessary.

Almost 50 per cent of the traffic could be directed through the proposed road. Along with DCP (Traffic) Vishwas Pandhare, we have conducted a survey of the problems faced by the people,” she said. Sahastrabuddhe added that to maintain the ecology of the place, the authorities would plant a lot of trees along the road. 

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