RIVERS flowing through Pune city are all set for a makeover, with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) ready with a Rs 2,618-crore plan that promises to beautify the 44-km of river stretch passing through the civic limits. The plan includes continuous access with pathways for walking and cycling, 16 new boating facilities, doubling the ghats to 40 and increased number of eateries.
Ahmedabad-based HPC Design, Planning and Management Pvt Ltd and city-based Center for Development Studies and Activities presented a tentative draft plan of the ambitious river development and beautification project to the civic standing committee on Tuesday.
The project covers both side of 44-km of river stretch passing through the city — including 22.2-km stretch of Mula, 10.4-km stretch of Mutha and 11.8-km stretch of Mula-Mutha river. The agency carried out the study of the entire catchment upstream of Pune and impacted downstream areas for the plan.
The plan envisages keeping the river clean and making it pollution-free, reducing risk of flooding, creating a continuous public realm along the river, retaining water, improving city’s access to the riverfront and integrate heritage structures, current activities, parks and gardens.
For keeping the river clean and pollution free, it recommended development of complete sewerage network, improving interceptor sewer and augment treatment capacity. There are 11 sewage treatment plants in the city while nine more are proposed to be constructed under JICA or NRCD while the consultant has recommended constructing two more STP under riverfront development project.
For reducing floods, it has recommended rural and urban riparian embankment, and urban section alongside the river as per the local conditions. To create continuous public realm, it recommended pathways for walking and cycling.
It proposes 36 immersion tanks for Ganesh immersions as against the existing 16. It has proposed doubling the strength of ghats from 20 to 40 alongside the river. It proposed 240 more access points against the existing 53.
A barrage near Garware bridge on Mutha river has also been proposed. The boating facilities are available at two locations at COEP boating club and near Mula-Pacana Sangam while the plan includes 16 new locations for boating facilities.
It proposes continuous access to riverfront. The plan proposes two more bridges in addition to the existing four. It proposes redevelopment of 82.45 hectare of garden alongside the river, 18 temples,18 crematorium and burial grounds, increasing the eateries from 5 to 11.
The agency had started the work to prepare the plan in January last year. It carried out geotechnical investigation, area assessment report, topographic survey, prepared hydrology and hydraulics report for the plan.
As per the study, it was revealed that the Pune rivers were presently a place for dumping garbage, sewage and garbage from nallas. About 252 LMD of untreated sewage has been released into them. There has been haphazard and unthoughtful infrastructure alongside the rivers and they have become a place for dumping construction debris. Also, there is uncoordinated bridge construction and the rivers are in a state that trigger flood hazard. The river banks are privately-owned and inaccessible.
The report said that the rivers are neglected and remain dry most of the year. The poor condition of the rivers is attributed to incomplete sewerage network and inadequate sewage treatment and inadequate flood control measures. The plan recommends the completion of sewage treatment and flood protection works on an urgent basis.
The consultant recommended that it was essential to create a public realm along the rivers for its proper management. The lack of clear boundaries makes it difficult to monitor the rivers, it said.
On illegal constructions alongside the rivers, the study stated that the boundaries of privately-owned land and land within inundation should be removed without acquisition and without lowering the flood-carrying capacity of city rivers. It said that there has been unthoughtful use of river banks for parking,etc.
The uncoordinated construction of bridges, weir, check dam and embankment building has reduced the flood-carrying capacity of the rivers while the development of ghats and gardens has done little to improve the condition of rivers, it said. The sewage lines and manholes in the rivers obstruct the floods, appear unhygienic and are easily damaged, it stated.