Pune: 200 Acre NIBM Reserve Forest Faces Grim Future

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Kondhwa, February 24, 2021: The 200-acre vast NIBM forest reserve beginning from Gaibi Peer Dargah opposite Anandvan Main Gate till Dorabjee Mall connecting road forest exit gate is a neglected place for the past two months.

The security cabin erected by the forest department to ward off urchins, vandals and slumlords has been broken by thieves while the main entrance gate has been ripped open by vandals.

Morning joggers mostly top retired officials of the army have complained that the forest department is deliberately neglecting the precious green heritage to benefit the land sharks surrounding the forest area and demanded that the forest be fenced from the Eastern side starting from Voyage to Stars Project till VTP residential project.

Sameer Talreja, a businessman who is a regular at the forest said, “Currently the forest is under severe threat from vandals, greedy real estate developers, criminal elements and other vested interests who don’t want the forest to flourish. The citizens are being cheated by the concerned authorities who are not protecting the forest despite being appointed for protection and getting salary from the state exchequer.”

A few months over eighty trees were axed in the forest. Large scale dumping of liquor bottles, plastic and garbage is a regular norm inside the forest. Also, pet animals like dogs are being brought for a stroll by pet owners in violation of the ban affected by the forest department. Citizens alleged that the callous approach of the forest department showed how least it was concerned in protecting the national forest heritage in the area. The Central Environment Committee (CEC) appointed by the Supreme Court has given a revealing report of bureaucracy-political-real estate developer nexus which had tried to gobble the forest area around NIBM. The citizens have demanded the area to be converted into an urban forest with the help of citizens and claimed that NGO’s were not doing their tasks properly and their roles must be audited and evaluated by the government.

The citizens’ group of the area claimed that any destruction to the hilly topography of NIBM hills will result in environmental disasters like flooding and other natural calamities in the future and demanded the declaration of the entire reserve forest area as a national ecological sensitive area.