Water Hyacinth menace: Civic bodies gear up to weed out hyacinth choking rivers in Pune

PMC claims it had cleaned up the rivers’ stretch in its jurisdiction but was unable to check the flow of water hyacinth from upstream areas lying in PCMC’s jurisdiction.

Written by Ajay Khape | Pune | Updated: April 17, 2016 12:02 am
Katraj Lake covered with Water hyacinth since many months Express Photo By Pavan Khengre,16.04.16,Pune. Katraj Lake covered with Water hyacinth since many months. (Express Photo by Pavan Khengre)

In an effort to curb mosquito menace during summers, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is gearing up to remove the hyacinth in all the water bodies in its jurisdiction to ensure their is no mosquito breeding.

After a tussle between PMC’s health and garden departments, the former has been given the responsibility of clearing hyacinth and checking its growth in all water bodies in the city.

“We have provided labourers on a contract basis to each ward office for the specific job of removing water hyacinth from all the water bodies. A plan has been chalked out for a week to share the machines and additional manpower in each area,” said Kalpana Baliwant, PMC’s health officer.

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“The water hyacinth problem at Mundhwa jack well has been given priority as it was leading to mosquito menace in the area. It has been decided that the civic body would remove water hyacinth in the area every Thursday when the plant is closed,” Baliwant said.

The civic administration, however, is facing problem in Ram Nadi, where machines are unable to enter the water body. The work of removal of hyacinth here has to be done manually by labourers.

Recently, the PMC carried out a similar drive at Katraj lake and is planning the same for Pashan lake, according to Baliwant.

However, the major problem lies with the main rivers passing through the city. The PMC claims it had cleaned up the rivers’ stretch in its jurisdiction but was unable to check the flow of water hyacinth from upstream areas.

“The water hyacinth grows fast and even if it is removed in the PMC area, it continues to come with the flow from the upper side,” Baliwant said, adding that similar efforts should be taken by the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) as the river flows from its jurisdiction before entering the PMC area.

K Anil Roy, PCMC’s health chief, agreed that the mosquito menace in the city could only be controlled with joint efforts.

The problem came under spotlight when senior NCP leader and former corporator Shrickant Patil staged an agitation in the PMC after the civic body failed to remove water hyacinth in the river at Bopodi. “It was after the College of Military Engineering (CME) removed the wire across the river that the hyacinth went downstream. The PMC administration failed to remove it as they were floating tenders for the purpose. Now, the hyacinth has again started growing. Hopefully, the civic administration does delay action this time,” Patil said.

Recently, the PCMC had launched efforts to clear the hyacinth from three rivers of Pavana, Mula and Indrayani that run through its jurisdiction. It has deployed special harvester machines to remove hyacinth, officials said.

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