Punawale Residents Dance, Distribute Sweets As State Govt Axes Garbage Depot Plan

Punawale Residents Dance, Distribute Sweets As State Govt Axes Garbage Depot Plan

The cancellation decision stemmed from Chinchwad MLA Ashwini Jagtap's concerns raised during the ongoing state legislature's winter session in Nagpur

Gaurav KadamUpdated: Tuesday, December 19, 2023, 03:25 PM IST
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Punawale Residents Dance, Distribute Sweets As State Govt Axes Garbage Depot Plan | X/@sachinlondhe

The Maharashtra Government's decision to cancel the proposed garbage depot in Punawale sparked celebrations among local residents. Sachin Londhe, Vice Chairman, Pimpri-Chinchwad Cooperative Housing Societies Federation (PCCHSF), expressed elation over the victory after nearly 15 years of struggle. "Over 100 residents gathered at Spot 18 Mall for a celebratory dance and sweets distribution. We resolved to unite for future civic issues," he shared with The Free Press Journal.

Londhe also highlighted the diverse demonstrations carried out by PCCHSF and Punawale residents, including bike rallies, 'ghanta naad' protests, banner displays, and hunger strikes over the last three months, all against the proposed solid waste management project. "This victory comes after a significant effort," he emphasised.

Moreover, PCCHSF pursued legal action, filing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court and sending a legal notice to PCMC Commissioner Shekhar Singh through Advocate Satya Muley.

Speaking to The Free Press Journal, Muley said, "The decision of cancelling the development of a garbage depot in Punawale and shifting it to another appropriate place is a victory for the residents and the PCCHSF. The residents of the region were very worried about the consequences of the garbage depot considering the entire region is being fast developed as a residential region. Moreover, the intended site was a forest land rich with flora and fauna."

The cancellation decision stemmed from Chinchwad MLA Ashwini Jagtap's concerns raised during the ongoing state legislature's winter session in Nagpur. Jagtap cited Punawale's remarkable transformation into a bustling residential hub, expressing worries about health risks and environmental impact from the proposed project's location near residential complexes and forests.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said, "The project was initially conceived in 2008 when the area had limited development. However, Punawale has significantly transformed since then, witnessing a surge in housing complexes, educational institutions, and healthcare facilities. With a population exceeding one lakh and its proximity to the Hinjewadi IT Park, Punawale has emerged as a sought-after residential hub."

"Moreover, the proposed project's location near multiple residential buildings and societies poses substantial health risks to the residents. Additionally, environmental concerns arise due to its proximity to the forest. Residents in nearby areas like Wakad, Tathawade, Marunji, and Hinjewadi will also have to endure the foul odour emanating from the site," she added.

Industry Minister Uday Samant echoed these sentiments in the Assembly, deeming it "impossible" to proceed with the project. "Punawale was merged with PCMC in 1998. Subsequently, a development plan was also prepared. As the city grows, it faces the problem of solid waste management. PCMC had zeroed in on a plot spread over 26 hectares to set up the garbage depot. However, as Punawale has expanded rapidly in the last few years, it will be impossible to go ahead with the project in the area. We will look for an alternative land," said Samant.

Jagtap welcomed the state government's decision on X (formerly Twitter), lauding the collective efforts that prevented the waste depot's construction in Punawale's forest department premises.

Bhosari MLA Mahesh Landge also commended the government for scrapping the depot, emphasising its significance in averting environmental threats in the area and providing relief to residents.

"Keeping in mind the opposition of the local residents, the state government has decided to scrap the proposed waste depot at Punawale. Due to this decision, the threat to the environment in the Punawale area will be avoided. Also, the residents of this area have got a big relief," he said.

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