A group of prominent personalities from Pune, have filed an environmental interest litigation (EIL) in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against the proposed Pune Metro Rail project, strongly objecting to the alignment of some portion of its route through river beds.
Member of Parliament Anu Aga, senior journalist Dr Dileep Padgaonkar, architect Sarang Yadwadkar and Aarti Kirloskar, have filed the litigation through advocate Aseem Sarode, in the NGT court, on May 22, saying that construction below the blue line (river bed) would be in complete violation of the NGT’s directives.
Addressing a press conference on May 26, 2016, the applicants said, “We are not against the metro project and development, per se. However, we are challenging the alignment of the metro route, which is planned through the Mula-Mutha river beds. Any such construction below the blue line (in the prohibitive zone) is completely in violation of the NGT directives, as well as the government circular.”
Proposed alignment may invite natural calamities
In addition to some portion of the actual metro rail route that runs through the river beds for around five kms, three metro stations have also been proposed to be constructed in the river bed, from Vanaz to Ramwadi, they informed.
A number of RCC pillars are planned to be constructed along the rivers, for the route as well as the stations, the members said, adding that constructions in the riverbed is like an open invitation to natural calamities.
Nowhere in the world, are metro projects constructed on the river bed, pointed out Dr Padgaonkar. “In one of the past cases in Pune, the principal bench of the NGT had issued directives and stated that no encroachment would be allowed and no construction would be permitted inside the blue line of the river Mutha and there shall be no restriction to the free flow of the river water,” he said.
Stakeholders to file replies on June 7
The members alleged that the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and other authorities, were turning a blind eye towards the directives that are already in force.
Advocate Sarode said the NGT’s West Zone Bench, had issued notices to the PMC, the Divisional Commissioner, Town Planning, State Urban Development Department, Central Ministry of Urban Development, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and various other stakeholders, directing them to remain present and file their replies before the NGT on July 7, 2016.
The Pune Metro project is awaiting the final set of approvals from the centre. Recently, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had informed that the project would soon get a nod from the union government.