With the Rs 700 crore Pavana River Improvement Plan failing to take off,the Pavana river,the lifeline of the industrial town of Pimpri-Chinchwad,has now completely turned into what environmentalists call a nullah carrying noxious sewage.
In fact,PCMCs Environment Report has also categorised the river as one falling into Class C of pollution norms,which automatically earned it the tag of a dead river.
We have submitted the river improvement plan to the government and are awaiting its approval. As soon as the plan is approved,we will begin the work, said Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi on Saturday.
In the last four-five years,PCMC has thrice submitted a plan to the state government for improvement of the status of the river.
The Pavana River Improvement Plan has been rejected by the government at least twice. One of the reasons cited is that since the river was under irrigation,the PCMC could not carry out its intended objective. The state government asked the PCMC to get a resolution passed from the civic body if it wanted the 20 km stretch in its possession for carrying out improvement. The PCMC has passed the resolution to the effect and the plan was submitted to the government two months back, said PCMC executive engineer Sanjay Kulkarni (Environment Department).
While PCMC awaits a government nod to carry out its avowed objective,the state of the river from Ravet to Dapodi continues to deteriorate. The PCMC lifts water for purification from the Ravet pumping station where people commonly wash clothes and cattle and defecate.
This scene is common right up to Dapodi. From Thergaon bridge near Aditya Birla Hospital,the view of the river is replaced by that of a nullah carrying only sewage. From the bridge leading from Pimpri to Kalewadi,the stretch of the river is in its worst state,with all kind of filth – plastic bags,sacks,garlands,carcasses,idols – seen floating. In Sangvi,though the white foam has disappeared,floating sewage stands out. In Chinchwad,where the famous Morya Gosavi temple is located,the sludge-laden river is a jarring presence.
The stink that emanates from the river water deters residents from approaching it. Even those who come to cremate the dead refuse to enter the river to wash their hands and legs. There is not one stretch of Pavana river,where you can stand for a couple of minutes. The stink is unbearable, said S Uttekar,a resident of Kalewadi.
The pathetic state of the river has drawn flak from citizens and environmentalists over the years.
Vikas Patil of Environment Conservation Assocation,Pimpri-Chinchwad said,There are as many as 32 nullahs that carry untreated domestic waste and industrial effluents into Pavana river. This has caused irreparable damage to the quality of river water and the flora and fauna present there. Till Ravet,the water seems to be of better quality. After Ravet,the river is called a dead river as per the pollution norms,which reveals the state of the river.
The PCMC lifts 430 MLD water from Pavana river and supplies it across the town. The MIDC lifts 110 MLD of water. Over 200 MLD sewage is generated in the town. Since all the nullahs are not linked with Sewage Treatment Plants,they carry water directly to the river. There are 17 pumping stations set up by the PCMC in different parts of the town. The role of these pumping stations is to push the sewage up to the STPs. But many times,the pumping stations fail due to reasons like power failure or technical faults. In such situations,the sewage,instead of going to STPs,is forced into the river without being treated, said Patil,adding that nearly 125 MLD untreated waste flows into Pavana river.
Patil said the STPs have been constructed by the PCMC at wrong spots. The STPs have been set up based on availability of land. Given Pimpri-Chinchwads topography – it is on a slope – the sewage flows downstream quickly instead of reaching the STPs located on top of the slope, he said. Besides,instead of treated waste at STPs flowing into the river,it again flows into another STP,which shows the the PCMCs lack of imagination in setting up STPs. This happens between Chikhli STP and Chinchwad STP, Patil said.
In the last three or four years,thousands of fish have been found dead in Pavana river. All this is due to untreated domestic waste flowing into the river. Fish are very sensitive and hence do not venture near industrial waste, Patil said.