Panchavati residents have opposed to the tunnels from Gokhalenagar and Kothrud to Pashan’s Panchavati Society. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has proposed the two tunnels to ease the traffic on Senapati Bapat Road and Paud Road.
The residents say that the proposed plan will not only fail in addressing traffic problem, but it will also destroy the rich biodiversity in the area.
PMC has proposed the two tunnels under the development plan for the old city limits. The common end point of both these tunnels opens at Panchavati society where there is a hilly area behind the residential complexes. According to the plan, the vehicles coming from both Gokhalenagar and Kothrud will come out of the tunnel at Panchavati and through the society, these vehicles will head towards Pashan, Balewadi and Aundh area.
The residents of Panchavati claim that the proposed tunnels are 100 ft wide, but the roads in Panchavati are only 40 ft wide, so they will not be able to take the volume of traffic.
In order to register their opposition to the PMC’s plan, the Panchavati area residents have formed Panchavati Utkarsh Seva Sanstha, consisting of members from 21 housing complexes. In this area, eminent personalities like scientist Jayant Naralikar, Vijay Bhatkar, ecologist Madhav Gadgil stay.
DN Mandalekar, president of the organisation says that the residents here have have preserved a rich biodiversity on the Panchavati hills for the past eight years.
“The hill has nearly 14,000 trees, nine quarries, and various types of birds including peacock. Therefore we do not want the hill to be destroyed,” he says.
“The plan shows that the tunnel will have exit on the narrow road of Panchavati. Now if PMC wants to make the existing road wider, it will have to raze the hill area, which will disturb the whole ecology,” Mandalekar adds.
The organisation has made it clear that they are opposing the present plan and not the tunnel.
Secretary of the Sanstha NT Jadhav says that the residents have prepared an alternate plan, in which they have suggested that the end point of the tunnel should be in front of Abhimanshree society. “From this point, the vehicles will have direct access to Balewadi, Baner and Aundh area,” he says.