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Pune Infra Watch: After environmentalists oppose, PMC undertakes citizen survey for proposed Balbharati-Paud Phata Road

The PMC has completed other necessary surveys and studies but continues to witness opposition from environmentalists. Thus, it has undertaken online and offline surveys of citizens to ascertain the need for the road. The environmentalists have termed the survey as a farce exercise.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: June 30, 2022 12:52:02 pm
The PMC has completed other necessary surveys and studies but continues to witness opposition from environmentalists

Amidst opposition by environmentalists, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has undertaken a survey of citizens for the development of the proposed 1.8-km link road from Balbharati to Paud Phata to reduce the traffic on Law College Road and check the air pollution.

The link road was proposed in 1987 and a development plan in 2007 to ease the traffic on Law College Road. Though it was opposed by local residents citing environmental concerns, the project was later approved under Section 205 of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations (MMC) Act. However, the proposal was struck down by the Bombay High Court on January 1, 2016, on the grounds that it did not take into account the environmental impact. The PMC after getting the go-ahead from the state government again took up the plan to develop the road, a part of which passes through Vetal hill.

The PMC has completed other necessary surveys and studies but continues to witness opposition from environmentalists. Thus, it has undertaken online and offline surveys of citizens to ascertain the need for the road. The environmentalists have termed the survey as a farce exercise.

Earlier, the Environment and Social Impact (ESIS) study for the project had said, “There is a need for the proposed road to cater to the increasing traffic that connects the suburbs of Baner-Pashan to Kothrud-Warje as the existing Law college road will be grossly inadequate to cater to any future growth.”

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It further said, “There will be marginal improvements in the air quality at locations on Law College road immediately. Further, due to faster commute times, there will be less exposure of commuters to air and noise pollution.”

As per the cost-benefit analysis, the report states that there will be significant saving in commuting time and vehicle operation costs due to the proposed road. The mitigation measures for the prominent environmental impacts of the proposed project mainly to the hydrological recharge capacity and biological resources, mainly flora in the project site were recommended in the report. This is necessary because the proposed road passes through areas that are rich in biodiversity, ecologically sensitive, comprised of a man-made forest and used regularly by thousands of people for morning and evening strolls.

According to environmentalists, there are very few benefits but more drawbacks. “There will be a substantial improvement in the Air Quality Index (AQI) for a few years from now because 78 per cent of the traffic will be weaned away from Law College Road onto the proposed road. It will also ease the traffic congestion for a few years. However, the situation will further deteriorate with each passing day because of the normal growth of vehicles,” said environmentalist Vaishali Patkar.

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First published on: 30-06-2022 at 12:51:04 pm

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