Pune: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Reservoir In Bhugaon Faces Environmental Threat, MPCB Issues Notice

Pune: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Reservoir In Bhugaon Faces Environmental Threat, MPCB Issues Notice
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Bhugaon, 10th September 2023: The serene Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Reservoir in Bhugaon, a cherished destination for tourists seeking solace in the lap of nature, has found itself under the shadow of environmental concerns. The intrusion of sewage from nearby hotels, restaurants, and residential complexes has raised alarm bells, catching the attention of regulatory bodies, including the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). In a positive development, the MPCB has issued a notice to the Bhugaon gram panchayat, urging immediate action to curb pollution in the lake.


“We received reports regarding water pollution from the offices of the Khadakwasla irrigation division and Kothrud irrigation branch. Accordingly, we sent a notice to Bhugaon gram panchayat. The responsibility for action lies with the gram panchayat,” stated V.V. Killedar, Sub-Divisional Officer at MPCB.


Notably, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) was recently fined Rs 250 crore for contaminating the Khadakwasla reservoir. Bhugaon Lake falls under the jurisdiction of the Khadakwasla irrigation division, and both the executive engineer’s office of this department and the Kothrud irrigation branch alerted the MPCB to the concerning pollution of the water body.


“Our inspections have revealed that contaminated water is being discharged into the lake by hotels, restaurants, various establishments, and some construction activities in the vicinity. We have sent water samples from the lake to the MPCB for testing,” explained Shweta Kurhade, Executive Engineer at the Khadakwasla irrigation division.


Simultaneously, the Kothrud irrigation branch has issued notices regarding encroachments and illegal water extraction. The illegal dumping of vehicles into the lake has also been addressed, alongside notices concerning the release of contaminated water into the lake. Officials have emphasized that the uncontrolled discharge of effluents from businesses and residential areas in the Bhukum region is a severe issue, significantly affecting water quality. Consequently, the health of Bhukum and Bhugaon residents is increasingly at risk, leading to a rise in diseases and epidemics.


“The immediate cessation of wastewater discharge into the lake is imperative, with stern warnings of impending action under Acts 93, 94, 95, and 96, as outlined in the Maharashtra Irrigation Act of 1976. A copy of the notice has also been forwarded to PMRDA,” added the officials.


The Bhugaon area has experienced rapid urbanization, transforming from its once-scenic landscape, famous for monsoon picnics and paddy cultivation, into an urbanized zone dotted with buildings. Alongside this urbanization, hotels, restaurants, and resorts have emerged, contributing to encroachments around the lake. Regrettably, the PMC and PMRDA have reportedly faced political pressures, hindering decisive action and casting a shadow on administrative efforts.


The ongoing water pollution crisis in Bhugaon Lake poses significant consequences, including threats to the village’s water supply. The irrigation department has called upon the PMC and PMRDA to address this pressing issue promptly.