The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has decided to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to raise Rs 2,500 crore by floating municipal bonds for projects to rejuvenate Pavana and Indrayani rivers.
“The SPV for the river improvement project will be like the ones set up for Pune Metro or Smart City,” PCMC executive engineer Sanjay Kulkarni told The Indian Express on Tuesday.
The SPV will have 13 members, including Mayor, Standing Committee chairman, House leader, opposition leader, district collector, PCMC commissioner, PMRDA CEO, chief engineer of irrigation department, PCMC environment dept joint city engineer, deputy director of Town Planning and civic chief auditor.
The proposal for setting up the SPV will be placed before the civic standing committee on Wednesday. “After the standing committee’s approval, it will go before the civic general body meeting. After that, it will be sent to the state government for approval,” said Kulkarni.
Pavana river, which is the lifeline of Pimpri-Chinchwad, flows for 24 km while Indrayani river’s length in the industrial city is 20 km. There are three rivers that flow through Pimpri-Chinchwad, namely Pavana, Indrayani and Mula. “Mula flows for 13 km. The Pune Municipal Corporation, which has set up an SPV for river rejuvenation project in its jurisdiction, will include Mula in its project. We will pay them the requisite amount,” Kulkarni said.
Among the aims of the rejuvenation project is completely stopping the flow of industrial and domestic sewage into the two rivers. “We will put interceptor servers, which will ensure that domestic and industrial waste does not flow into the rivers. Instead, they will be diverted towards sewage treatment plants,” said Kulkarni.
According to civic officials, Pavana and Indrayani rivers receive large amounts of industrial effluent. “Indrayani is getting effluent from many industries in Chakan and surrounding areas. One side of Indrayani river is in PCMC limits while the other is in PMRDA limits. However, PMRDA has given PCMC an NoC to carry out the river improvement project,” Kulkarni said.
The rejuvenation project also includes plans to beautify the river banks, desilting and stopping dumping of debris. Civic officials said PCMC has already appointed HCP Design, Planning and Management Private Ltd as a project consultant. “As of now, they are preparing the detailed project report. The consultant was appointed after the civic general body had given an administrative approval in 2018,” said a civic official.
According to the proposal to be tabled before the standing committee meeting, the SPV will have to take over the river bed land from the state government for maintenance and improvement purposes. “The SPV will have to get funds from the central and state government for the project. It will have to raise the funds through municipal bonds or loans. It can look for funds through Corporator Social Responsibility of industrial units. SPV will have the right to set up a fund and land bank. It will have to take decisions regarding Town Planning Scheme,” said a civic official.
Environmental activist Lahoo Landge said, “For years, PCMC has allowed the rivers to become cesspools. Over 40 years ago, Pavana river used to have clean water and as industrial units began to rise, the river water started getting pollluted with effluents. The same is the case with Indrayani and Mula rivers. The PCMC has been talking about implementing river improvement projects, but nothing has been done. Hope the PCMC will be serious about the deteriorating health of the rivers in its jurisdiction this time.”
Another activist, Deepak Pardeshi, said, “The two rivers hardly have any fish. How will they have fish when industrial effluents are discharged into the rivers? The PCMC has been guilty on this count. It should be taken to task for causing harm to the environment.”