Pune has a long tradition of activism on various issues, from civic services to ensuring quality of life for its citizens. Among the various citizen groups, the Model Colony Parisar Sudharna Samiti has been leading from the front to resolve the issues in their area, and setting an example for other groups.
The samiti became active in 1980, and was the first one to get registered as an NGO in 1991. Its journey started with an idea — to take up civic issues pertaining to the area with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) — and since then, it has been continuously working towards making Model Colony a better place to live in, by tackling new problems and issues as they crop up.
However, the samiti has often faced opposition from the political class. “There are deliberate efforts by elected representatives or political leaders to create hurdles against the initiatives taken by us,” said Jaywantrao Mohite, advisor of the Samiti.
He added, “We are proud that the first ghanta gaadi (mobile garbage collection van) started in Model colony and has now been introduced across the city for collection of wet garbage.”
Though the samiti has managed to get much of the work done through the PMC, it is concerned about getting the pilot project of biogas plant — processing kitchen waste and generating power — at Model colony, operating with full capacity. “The project was a success when we started, as there was sufficient kitchen waste available for it, but now the reduction of kitchen waste due to various reasons has created problems in running the plant with full capacity,” said Mohite.
The Samiti has achieved a number of objectives, including getting a garden, Chitranjan Vatika, developed in the area to meet the recreational needs of children and senior citizens. Now, the place is abuzz with children playing and senior citizens engaged in various activities, said Mohite.
Another major achievement of the Samiti is the Model Colony Lake Bioreserve, the first and only-one-of-its-kind natural water body with rich bio-diversity, he said, adding, “We had to fight against all odds to get the natural water body conserved and we had to go to the Supreme Court for justice.”
the Samiti is working hard towards developing a bird watching centre. Shabnum Poonawala, president of the samiti, said the necessary administrative procedure, including sanctioning of funds, has been done for the project but work is yet to be started.
“Another issue that has cropped up is the traffic, which has led to noise as well as air pollution in the area. We have decided to recommend suggestions to the PMC traffic department,” she said.