Pune: Monorail Controversy Sparks Community Debate in Kothrud

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Kothrud, 7th February 2024: The newly inaugurated fitness center, yoga hub, meditation center, walking track, and dinosaur park within Thorat Udyan have already become popular attractions among locals. Now, plans to introduce a monorail project within the park are gaining traction, promising a significant enhancement to the area. However, the proposal has encountered opposition from park enthusiasts due to concerns over the potential disruption caused by the construction activities.

The monorail, set to elevate to a height of ten feet, will require the installation of approximately seventy pillars within the park. This development has sparked debate among park enthusiasts regarding the impact on the park’s ambiance and accessibility. Some locals have even called for the cancellation of the project, highlighting growing tensions over its implementation.

Thorat Udyan stands as a significant and well-maintained park in the Kothrud area, spanning an impressive 16,000 square meters. The proposed monorail, powered by a 72-volt DC battery, will run along two tracks, requiring the construction of platforms, ticket booths, and safety railings. The project has been entrusted to the Kolkata-based Breathweight company, with construction expected to commence in the coming months.

Despite the completion of previous developments such as the dinosaur park, Karanje, fitness center, yoga, and meditation centers, the addition of the monorail has stirred controversy. While enhancing the park’s accessibility, concerns about air pollution and reduced green space have emerged, reflecting the delicate balance between development and environmental preservation.

Locals have voiced apprehensions regarding potential health risks due to dust pollution and the encroachment on green spaces. Moreover, the project’s alignment with ongoing road widening and metro construction efforts has compounded these concerns. The proximity of the monorail to various other parks in the area has raised questions about the necessity of its installation.

Notably, a petition against the monorail project has garnered support from prominent local figures, including District Commissioner Vikram Kumar, Parks Department Director Ashok Ghorpade, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Minister Ajit Pawar, Kothrud MLA Chandrakant Patil, former Mayor Murli Mohol, and former MLA Pramod Kulkarni.

While the monorail project promises improved connectivity, its potential impact on the park’s aesthetics and environmental balance remains a subject of intense debate among stakeholders. As discussions continue, the future of Thorat Udyan and its surrounding areas hangs in the balance, reflecting the broader challenge of urban development in harmony with nature.