Pune: PMC Faces Rs 507 Crore Fine Over River Pollution, Fresh Notice Served

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Pune, 28th August 2023: Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has been issued a fresh notice by the Khadakwasla division of the state water resources department, urging the civic body to address its failure in treating sewage water before releasing it into the Mula-Mutha river. The notice stipulates a ₹507 crore fine for the six-year period of non-compliance.

While PMC has committed to treating approximately 477 million litres per day (MLD) out of the total 750 MLD sewage water produced within the city’s former boundaries (excluding recently merged 34 villages), a significant volume remains untreated. This untreated portion comprises 139 MLD of sewage water from villages merged in 2017 and an additional 250 MLD from villages merged in 2021. Consequently, the unprocessed discharge continues to adversely affect the Mula-Mutha river’s water quality. PMC reported that nine sewage treatment plants (STPs) currently handle 477 MLD of sewage water generated within the previous city limits.

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Shweta Kurhade, executive engineer of the Khadakwasla division, emphasized that the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) directives necessitate PMC to pay the ₹507 crore fine. However, PMC has only been remitting annual water charges of ₹72 crore to the state water resources department, completely disregarding the accumulating fine. Kurhade expressed concern over PMC’s lack of payment and highlighted that the law mandates the fine to be double the water charges bill.

Kurhade further stated, “In light of recent village amalgamations, PMC must extend sewage treatment to both the pre-existing city and the newly merged villages to evade these fines.”

Ramdas Taru, superintendent engineer of PMC’s drainage department, explained that they have communicated details of existing and forthcoming sewage treatment plants to the Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran (state water supply department). They have also appealed to the Khadakwasla division to consider waiving the fine, citing their ongoing efforts in enhancing water treatment facilities within the city.

In a positive development, PMC has embarked on a collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to construct 11 new sewage treatment plants in various areas of the city. Expected to be operational by 2026, these plants aim to bridge the gap between treated and untreated sewage water. Jagdish Khanore, superintendent engineer of PMC’s sewage department, who is overseeing the JICA project, disclosed that work is already underway. The project aims to increase sewage treatment capacity significantly, from the current 567 MLD to an estimated 863 MLD upon its completion in 2026.


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