Civic activists Sarang Yadwadkar and Vivek Velankar on Thursday accused the state Irrigation department and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) of illegally changing the floodlines of the Mula river, creating serious issues for those living alongside it.
“The GIS-based floodlines, which are marked in the Development Plan maps of Pune City in 2017, are not approved by the competent authority and are therefore invalid, illegal and erroneous,” Yadwadkar told reporters.
The activists said they have submitted a letter Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad, requesting him to immediately stop issuing building permissions, plinth completions and building completions along the banks of the river. “Revoke all building permissions that were issued on the basis of the GIS-based floodlines. Issue permissions following the stricter of two principles with respect to both the floodline maps till further directions are issued by the competent authority,” the activists demanded.
They also urged the municipal commissioner to issue a direction and ensure that no waste is dumped along the riverbanks. “The PMC should treat the letter as a legal notice. If there is no action, then the civic body would be dragged to court,” they said.
They said the state government had in a 1989 government resolution empowered only the Chief Engineer concerned to approve the flood zone and floodline maps. “The state government had categorically stated that the power to approve such flood zones and floodline maps should not be delegated to any officer below the rank of Chief Engineer,” Yadwadkar said, adding it was noticed that an Executive Engineer of the state Irrigation department had prepared the GIS-based floodline maps and submitted them to PMC in 2016 during the preparation of the development plan.
“As per our information, these maps were not supported by any approval letter of the Chief Engineer of the Irrigation department. Despite this, these GIS-based floodlines are incorporated in Pune City’s Development Plan maps. The floodlines were narrowed and the land was made open for development purposes,” the activist said.
Yadwadkar said the GIS-based floodlines were different than the original map prepared and handed over to PMC in 2011. “Despite repeated reminders, it is very unfortunate that no heed was paid by PMC to letters in the past. The flood situations experienced in 2019 showed that the Red floodline identified for 100,000 cusecs and mentioned in the Development Plan map was breached at mere 45,474 cusecs,” he said.
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