DGPS mail dated 26th February 2016 notes that as several government departments have already denied permission to acquire land, the entire proposal has to be realigned and sent to the State Government for independent approval. There is to date no Detailed Project Report or Environment Impact Assessment to justify the proposal.
To Shri. Jeet Singh, Chief Conservator of Forests (Territorial), Pune.
C/C Shri A.K. Nigam, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF) M. S. Nagpur
Shri Kunal Kumar, Municipal Commissioner, Pune
Shri Sourabh Rao, District Collector, Pune
SUBJECT: Objection to alignment of proposed HCMTR through Reserved Forest on Bhamburda forests on Vetal and Law College Hill
As per proposal number FP/MH/ROAD/9500/2015, the PMC has requested permission from the Forest Dept to acquire 7.1805 hectares of which 55,000 sq m of Reserved Forest Land lie in Bhamburda to build the HCMTR through Survey nos. 53, 93 and 94. Further to our letter to you dated 11th January 2016, where we had submitted the reasons for our objection to the alignment of proposed HCMTR through Reserved Forest Land, we would like to update you with certain information that we have received.
- PMC Commissioner’s Office Note Outward reference Road/8228 dated 25/1/2016 giving Minutes of the meeting held in PMC Municipal Commissioner’s office on 30thDecember 2015 and the Internal Note for the meeting are attached for your attention.
- As per Point No. 2 in the PMC Commissioner’s Office Note Outward reference Road/8228 dated 25/1/2016, please note that already certain government departments like Defence, Prisons have refused permission to acquire their land for proposed HCMTR, while queries have been raised by Irrigation Department asking for Detailed Project Report.
- The Internal Note for the Meeting has full details of response of government departments. Please note that where Savitribai Phule Pune University, Yerawada Prisons and SRPF have refused permission, options given for realignment at those stretches have been rejected by the GovernmentAppointed Committee.
- Permission to acquire Defence Land in Bopodi has been categorically denied by Defence authorities. A copy of the letter from Station Headquarters, Khadki/Aundh No. 2011/PCMC/Rd/Q2 dated 20thFebruary 2015 is attached, where the Station Commander has also come down heavily on the PMC’s planning process.
- Since permission has not been granted at some government owned stretches, the current alignment as passed in the 1987 DP and ratified in the Draft DP awaiting State Government approval is not valid anymore. This is clearly stated in Point No. 3 in PMC Commissioner’s Office Note Outward reference Road/8228 dated 25/1/2016 show that the entire alignment has to be reworked and submitted afresh independently to the State Government for approval.
We would also like to bring to your attention the recent judgement dated 15 January 2016 of the Bombay High Court in PIL 156/2006 Nagrik Chetna Manch Vs State of Maharashtra. The Honourable High Court has ruled against the PMC’s proposed Bal Bharati-Paud Phata Road on the hill (copy attached). The Honourable Judges have reminded the PMC of its mandate of the Articles 48A and 51A and its mandatory duty to protect environment. They have also noted
“There is no conscious application of mind by the Pune Municipal Corporation to the drastic adverse effect of the construction of the proposed road on the environment and in particular on the existing man made forest.“
It appears to us that the PMC has similar disregard for the environment under the proposed HCMTR. As noted in Point No. 1 in PMC Commissioner’s Office Note Outward reference Road/8228 dated 25/1/2016, there is no DPR yet of the proposed HCMTR. Our RTIs also show there is no Environment Impact Assessment.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the current HCMTR project is going through in a piecemeal manner with no DPR to justify its alignment. Building parts of an HCMTR in sections across the city will make only additional large roads – and not a public transport system as visualized by the 1987 DP. The bio-diversity of the hill will have been destroyed with little benefit to the citizens of Pune.
As many other government departments have already refused permission to acquire their land for this purpose, we therefore appeal to you once again to kindly deny permission for the use of Reserved Forest Land for this ill conceived project.
Attachments can be viewed here