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PUNE:Campaign by residents managed to get more than 30,000 signatures for a petition for saving the Vetal tekdi

PUNE In a meeting held with the Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT), on Monday, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) issued strict instructions to MIT officials to excavate the ‘internal road,’ as well as clear the debris collected nearby housing societies.

This was followed after a week-long tussle between MIT, resident groups and PMC when residents brought to notice that the institute is developing a road along the hill slope of Vetal Tekdi.

Following the campaign by residents which within 48 hours managed to get more than 30,000 signatures for a petition for saving the Vetal Tekdi, which is also marked by PMC as a draft heritage site, MIT officials had called for a meeting with PMC’s city engineer on Monday.

“We have asked MIT to stop using the road and also move the debris near housing societies. They have given an application, but PMC will not be giving any permission for any kind of work on a hill slope or hill top following environment norms,” said Prashant Waghmare, city engineer, PMC.
A stop-work notice was issued to MIT citing unauthorised work on the hill slope at survey number 123 in Kothrud, and on Friday the PMC had dug up the road being constructed and ordered the institute to clear the debris within two days.

The residents, meanwhile, have also written to the municipal commissioner stating that “MIT has illegally started construction for a road without any permission from the Building Department. This section of Vetal tekdi, though under MIT ownership is an hill-top-hill-slopes (HTHS) zone and as per PMC’s DC rules, very limited construction activity is allowed, and Vetal tekdi is on the list of heritage sites identified in the Maharashtra Govt notice dated 27th September 2000, which has 46 sites listed under Natural Heritage.”
“Any construction activity on this hill will cause tremendous ecological damage to one of the few remaining natural green spaces in the heart of the city. It will bring unwanted traffic to the top of the hill which is an ecologically sensitive Reserved Forest and will eventually lead to encroachments in the form of hawkers, food stalls, hutments and others. Most importantly, it will disrupt one of the largest aquifer systems in Pune and affect groundwater recharge capacity,” stated the letter further.

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