Updated: September 8, 2021 11:43:30 pm
Ganesh mandals in the city have objected to the ongoing construction of the elevated Pune Metro route over Sambhaji Bridge, popularly known as Lakdi Pul, near Deccan. The mandals say that the height of a planned Metro viaduct is so low that it will block the way of Ganesh mandal decorations and cause problems during immersion.
The Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (Maha-Metro), which is executing the Pune Metro rail project, is presently working on the two corridors — elevated route of Vanaz to Ramwadi and Pimpri-Chinchwad to Swargate, which is mostly elevated and partly underground.
On the Vanaz to Ramwadi corridor, it has completed most of the work on a stretch from Vanaz to Garware college and is holding trial runs of the Metro rail.
The work from Garware College to Ramwadi is underway and the elevated route passing through the Mutha river has to cross over the Lakdi Pul. The Maha-Metro is currently doing preparatory work to install a 50-metre-long girder over Lakdi Pul on the elevated Metro rail route.
However, the representatives of Ganesh mandals have objected to the girder and gathered at Khandoji Baba Chowk on Tuesday midnight to stall Metro work. The Ganesh mandals had approached the Pune Metro as well as the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), saying that the elevated stretch crossing the Lakdi Pul is not high enough and will cause problems for the traditional procession of Ganesh immersion in the city.
On Wednesday, representatives of Ganesh mandals led the protest in civic headquarters and the office of Mayor Murlidhar Mohol.
Congress leader Ulhas Bagul, on behalf of Ganesh mandals, submitted a memorandum to the mayor stating that the height of the Metro viaduct over Lakdi Pul is merely 20 feet while the decoration of Ganesh mandals can go up to 30 feet. “The Ganesh mandals are not against the Pune Metro but the more than 130 years old tradition is going to be affected by the low height of the structure. We suggest that the Pune Metro to use the latest technology and install movable structures that can make way for the procession during the festival,” he said.
Most of the public Ganesh mandals pass through the Lakdi Pul during the procession. The Ganesh mandals line up on Laxmi Road, Kumthekar Road, Tilak Road and Lal Bahadur Shastri road for the procession and pass through Lakdi Pul for immersion.
Mohol promised to take up the issue with senior officials of Maha-Metro and said the work will not be done till the concerns are addressed. “I will speak to the Managing Director of Maha-Metro and ask him to stop the work till the concerns of Ganesh mandals are accommodated. The Ganesh immersion procession of Pune is historical and over 130 years old. It is the identity of Pune and cannot be allowed to suffer,” he said.
The issue was also raised in the general body meeting with NCP corporator Deepak Mankar urging the PMC to immediately look into the matter.
Hemant Sonawane, general manager and spokesperson of Pune Metro, said the Maha-Metro is continuing with its preparatory work for installing the steel girder on the Metro rail route across Lakdi Pul. “We are presently doing preparatory work for it. There are no instructions on stopping the work,” he said.
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