The Pimpri Chinchwad Cooperative Societies Federation and the Punawale Residents Association have united to oppose the proposed solid waste management project in Punawale. They have organised a bike rally on Sunday from 10am to 12 noon to voice their concerns. The rally will start at 18 Latitude Mall and will be followed by a Chipko Andolan (tree-hugging protest) in the Kate Wasti Forest. Residents from Punawale, Tathawade, Marunji, Jambe, Hinjewadi, and Wakad will be participating in both the protest.
The forest department currently owns 22 hectares of land in Punawale, under the jurisdiction of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC). In 2008, this land was designated for a solid waste management project following a request from the civic body.
When the project received approval in 2008, the area was less urbanised. Since then, numerous housing projects, educational institutions, and hospitals have sprung up. The area now hosts more than one lakh residents and is considered an attractive location due to its natural environment and proximity to the Hinjewadi IT Park. However, the proposed project, situated in close proximity to various buildings and housing societies, poses a significant health risk to citizens. Additionally, the project's location next to the forest may lead to extensive environmental damage.
Furthermore, the project's location in the western direction, where prevailing winds blow from west to east throughout the year, could negatively impact already developed areas such as Wakad, Tathwade, Hinjewadi IT Park, and Marunji.
In return for the land reserved in Punawale, the PCMC has offered private land in Chandrapur district to the forest department. Given Pune city's ongoing industrialisation and deteriorating air quality, the proposal to establish a solid waste management project in Punawale by cutting down trees is deemed impractical and incomprehensible by the residents.
They are urging the administration to seek an alternative location for the project, one that considers the environment and their well-being. They insist the project not be implemented, as it would cause significant hardship to the local population. The residents have also approached Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar with their concerns.
The proposed project's location is concerning because the winds predominantly blow from west to east in this region. It could adversely affect nearby areas, and we don't want our clean air compromised - Rajesh Patel
Our lives and property values are at stake with this project. We urge the authorities to consider a more suitable location - Meena Sharma
Our children's health and future are paramount. The project's potential impact on the nearby schools is worrisome - Anurag Singh
Punawale is a peaceful haven that we've chosen for its tranquillity. The proposed project could disrupt our peace and lead to environmental damage - Priya Deshmukh