Pune: Six-Point Solution For Pune Rivers Rejuvenation, Announces PMC Commissioner

Vikram Kumar PMC Pune
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Pune, 14th February 2023, Pune: On Day 2 of the inaugural DHARA 2023 at Pune, a two-day international meeting on strategies for managing urban rivers for the River Cities Alliance (RCA), the Pune Municipal Commissioner (PMC) Vikram Kumar laid out a six-point solution for the revival of Pune’s rivers.

During the first session on Tuesday, the Stories from RCA Cities, the PMC Commissioner highlighted that six major issue area that had impacted the condition of the Mula, Mutha, and Mula-Mutha (confluence of both rivers) rivers, and identified the following solutions: 1) Cleaning the river to make it pollution free, 2) Reducing the risk of flooding, 3) Making the riverbank accessible to the public, 4) Retain and reuse water, 5) Improve the city’s connectivity and amenities to the Riverfront, and 6) Integrating existing heritage structures, recreational, religious, socio-cultural activities and improve ecology.

Vikram Kumar, IAS, Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation said: “In Pune, we have begun a dual project, the first of which is river cleaning using funds provided by the National River Conservation Directorate (NRCD) as a grant, and the second of which is river beautification. The Mula-Mutha river runs through the city and is 44 kilometres long. We will cover 9 kilometres in the first phase. We will clean and ensure that no sewage enters the river by establishing sewage treatment plants, as well as beautify the river by making ghats and embankments and rendering it perennial. We are exceedingly grateful to the Government of India for funding this project, and we will ensure that it is completed within the next three years. We are very hopeful that this project will make Pune city the most livable city in India.”

The PMC Commissioner highlighted his vision of these rivers as a future mode of transportation via boats. On Day 2 of DHARA 2023, details regarding this project from Pune were discussed, as well as related best practices and case studies from Ayodhya, Aurangabad, Gwalior, and Moradabad. Later in the day, an hour long session on Financing river related projects and interventions saw the participation from specialists from Asian Development Bank, World Bank and KfW Development Bank who shared crucial details on multiple financing options for river cities, integrated solutions on creating sector specific funds, institutional reforms and project developments from the financial lens.

Hoe Yun Jeong, Deputy Country Director, ADB said: “ADB’s Financing Plan for India is a $20-25 billion pipeline for the next 5 years (2023-2027). At least 40% ($8-10 billion) has been allocated for climate financing including climate adaptation and disaster resilience. The plan entails a strategy for distribution through sovereign financing which includes loans and guarantees while non-sovereign financing includes equity investments and bonds.”

Presiding over the culminating session of DHARA 2023, Kaushal Kishore, Minister of State, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India said: “The RCA currently consists of 107 cities, including 16 SMART cities, which have connected 72 rivers across the nation. In these 107 cities, there are sewage treatment facilities in about 70 cities. Security of the water resources is a shared responsibility. The RCA and those in attendance today emphasized the significant progress made in water resource protection and sustainable urban development as a result of the collaboration of the two ministries. We anticipate being able to include 150 cities in our family by the time of the following DHARA meeting next year. We also need to spread the message of Swachh Dhara, Sampann Kinara to the citizens.”

Providing a platform for the Commissioners, Executive Officers, and senior officials of RCA member cities to discuss and co-learn good practices for managing urban rivers, DHARA 2023 (Driving Holistic Action for Urban Rivers), the annual meeting of the RCA members, has been organized by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) under the MoHUA.

Hitesh Vaidya, Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA): “With the strengths of two ministries coming together to align on the collective goal of water conservation and enhancing water security for our 107 river cities, part of this alliance. Climate adaptation and resilience are crucial to the future discourse of managing these rivers. It is now time to look to the future strategies that will ensure climate financing, data distribution, action research, capacity building, and holistic partnerships could be the cornerstones of a possible Mission DHARA.”

The two-day international meeting, which concluded on Tuesday evening, drew 300 people from river cities in India, including commissioners, additional commissioners, chief engineers, senior planners, academicians, water security experts, financial specialists, and others, to co-learn and discuss solutions for managing river stretches in their cities.

Gwalior has been chosen as the location for the following RCA international meeting, DHARA 2024, announced NMCG Director General G Asok.


Efforts by the RCA and partners coming together for DHARA 2023 was lauded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a message which was unveiled during the meeting. Being a major highlight and a proud moment for DHARA 2023, the Prime Minister’s message read: “It is heartening to learn about the organization of Driving Holistic Action for Urban Rivers (DHARA 2023) Forum in Pune by National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA). The fact that the NIUA is serving as the Urban 20 (U20) Technical Secretariat under India’s G20 Presidency enhances the pride and honour associated with the occasion.”

The U20 theme for ‘ensuring water security’ underlines one of the major concerns facing nations and societies the world over. Water availability is extremely crucial, especially given the challenges of the 21st century, the PM’s message further read, adding, “Rivers have always occupied a central place in India’s heritage and ethos and have traditionally been sources of spiritual inspiration, cleansing and penance… We are striving to introduce a new thinking on river cities. The establishment of ‘River Cities Alliance’ (RCA) connecting 107 river cities across the country is one such step in this direction.”

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