The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has begun public consultation to prepare a master plan to create sustainable development and change the face of the polluted river and riverfronts of the 44-km stretch of Mula and Mutha rivers that pass through the city.
“The consultants appointed to prepare the detailed project report for riverfront development work of Mula and Mutha rivers passing through the city have completed most of the technical survey. Various government agencies are already involved in the preparation of the comprehensive master plan. Public consultation would now be started so that suggestions and feedback could be included in the plan that would be finalised in four months,” said municipal commissioner Kunal Kumar.
Kumar said heavy urbanisation in PMC and PCMC areas over the past few decades has created pressure on the rivers making them vulnerable to pollution, encroachment and flooding, and inaccessible to the people. Ahmedabad-based HCP Design, Planning and Management Pvt Ltd having experience of river development in Sabarmati has been appointed as the consultant in association with city-based Centre for Development Studies and Activities (CDSA).
Kumar said that the condition of the rivers is deteriorating and needs immediate attention as there has never been efforts for holistic development of the rivers, but schemes that were only implemented in parts. “The comprehensive master plan would resolve most controversial issues related to the river. There would be sustainable development of the river through environmental improvement and social infrastructure,” he said.
The public consultation would help PMC avoid legal and technical problems during implementation of the project, the municipal commissioner added. “The strategy would be to re-establish the habitat integrity by reviving the riparian section that would restore water quality to acceptable standards prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board,” said Aneeta Beninger Gokhale of CDSA.
The plan would further stabilise and in some places, increase the height of the river banks for flood protection, while maintaining the integrity of the right of way of the river between the banks, Beninger said, adding that it would also include removing constructions in the riverbed, especially roads, parkings and accommodations on the river banks.
“It would also ensure restoring the integrity of the traditional use of the river bank especially temples, ghats, samadhis and dargahs. The plan would propose pedestrian access and bicycle access to the river while restoring tradition livelihood activities such as fishing and dhobi ghats,” said Vimal Patel of the consultant agency. He added that it would also ensure a minimum water flow width of 100 metres in Mutha river and 150 metres in Mula-Mutha river.