Pune, 15th January 2024: The State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) has decided to defer the issuance of environmental clearance for the ambitious Pune River Front Development Project. The project, spearheaded by the Pune Municipal Corporation, aims to rejuvenate three vital rivers in the region—Mula, Mutha, and Mula-Mutha.
Activist Sarang Yadwadkar said that in a crucial meeting held on November 7, 2023, SEIAA scrutinized various aspects of the proposed project and highlighted several key points and observations that need careful consideration before granting environmental clearance:
1. Technical Compliance Requirements: SEIAA emphasized that numerous compliance requirements, as identified by the State Level Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC), are of a highly technical nature. The project proponent (PP) has been formally requested to submit compliance for the 18 listed requirements, addressing technical intricacies in the proposal.
2. Hydraulic and Hydrology Study: The Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS) have been tasked with conducting a thorough assessment of the hydraulic and hydrology study/report submitted by the project proponent. Specific focus areas include the potential impact on river flooding, consideration of 100-year floods data, adherence to Indian Standards Codes, and incorporation of Gol Climate change scenarios.
3. TERI Report: SEIAA highlighted the importance of considering a report from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), indicating a 37.5% rise in annual rainfall around Pune, accompanied by more frequent cloudbursts. The potential impact of this climatic change on the project needs careful evaluation.
4. Mula Mutha River Cleaning: SEIAA stressed the necessity of including a detailed component for the cleaning of the Mula Mutha River in the overall project plan. This reflects a broader concern for environmental preservation and sustainable development.
SEIAA Decision: After thorough deliberation, SEIAA made the decision to defer the proposal until the project proponent addresses and submits comprehensive solutions for the above-mentioned points.