Pune Lok Sabha Candidates Pledge to Preserve Vetal Tekdi Amid Activists’ Concerns

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Pune, 29th April 2024: Candidates vying for the Lok Sabha seat in Pune have pledged to safeguard Vetal Tekdi from detrimental development projects, as assured during meetings with members of the Vetal Tekdi Bachav Kriti Samiti.

Representatives of the organization engaged with BJP candidate Murlidhar Mohol on Sunday, Congress nominee Ravindra Dhangekar on Saturday, and VBA’s Vasant More several weeks earlier. They articulated their demands to preserve the city’s hills as vital natural water infrastructure while advocating for enhancements in the public transport system.

Dhangekar affirmed the significance of water-related issues during discussions, particularly addressing concerns regarding the implementation of the riverfront development project, shared the activists. They noted that the Congress candidate attentively listened to their grievances for over an hour.

The Vetal Tekdi Bachav Kriti Samiti has long been dedicated to conserving hills and safeguarding urban forests in Pune. Prajakta Divekar, a member of the samiti, emphasized the importance of protecting hills, rivers, and water channels as critical water infrastructure. She highlighted the interconnectedness of water issues with public transportation, underscoring the necessity to preserve the existing environment to manage urban challenges such as heat, pollution, and water sustainability.

Divekar revealed that efforts to secure a meeting with Mohol had been ongoing for a year, culminating in an impromptu interaction on the hill. Addressing concerns about ongoing projects, Divekar stated that Mohol reassured the group, emphasizing that no administrative action would proceed without consensus from citizens. Mohol also emphasized that development and environmental preservation were not conflicting objectives.

During a previous interaction with the Vetal Hill group, VBA nominee More expressed reservations about the damaging impacts of the riverfront development project and advocated for a reevaluation, as reported by the group. Residents appreciated More’s occasional support for their cause in various public forums.

“In a time when the biggest existential threat is not war or terrorism, but climate change, our leaders must give us their vision for the country – including how they plan to deal with water crisis, rising temperatures and extreme weather events”, said Sushma Date.

As the election campaign unfolds, the commitment of candidates to environmental conservation remains a focal point for activists striving to protect Pune’s natural heritage.