Ganesh mandals to participate in beatification of city

Every year, the civic body’s garden department floats a tender for the beautification of road dividers, traffic islands and the general roadside area. This year Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to include Ganesh mandals and NGOs to contribute to beautifying the city’s traffic islands and road dividers. The purpose is that they can participate in social activities through this work.
This year, to create greater awareness of social responsibility, the civic body has mentioned that mandals and NGOs can submit proposals as well. Sunil Kesari, Superintendent of PMC’s garden department, said Local Ganesh mandals can maintain the area better than an outsider. A mandal committing itself to beautification improves the quality of work and the preservation of the trees planted. They can take care of their area through personal involvement.
Sunil Rasane, vice-president of Dagaduseth Halwai Ganpati Mandal Trust said, “We are ready to help PMC to boost the city’s green cover. We are doing different social activities in the city anyway and we are happy to participate in PMC’s plans.” Bhai Katre, executive president, Sakhalipeer Maruti Trust, said, “This is a good initiative. It will help to protect our environment and increase greenery in the city. We have already planted trees in the B J Medical Ground area and are maintaining them. However, not all mandals are supportive of the PMC’s decision.  Some of them like Balashab Marane, president, Babugenu Mandal, said, For the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games; the civic body spent crores to beautify the city, but failed to maintain any of it.

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Pune roads to get a new look

The PMC has decided to beautify 38 roads and traffic junctions in the city with greenery and ornamental plants. Ornamental plants and saplings of trees will be planted in the space between road dividers or along both sides of the roads.
The PMC will implement the works on build-operate-transfer basis – the private agency will carry out the works and in return it will be allowed to display advertisements. The agency will have to maintain the beautification works for two years. The civic garden department has invited offers from private agencies for the beautification works.
Citizens’ group Pedestrians First, however, cautioned that beautification plans in the past have failed to deliver the expected results and have caused inconvenience to citizens. The plants on road dividers should not hinder vehicle movement or obstruct view at junctions. Also, it should not block pedestrians’ view of the oncoming traffic at crossings. Citizens’ groups said that the work should not cause inconvenience to traffic and that it should be properly maintained. Prashant Inamdar said that functionality rather than aesthetics should be the prime governing factor in any beautification plan. People should be invited to check the materials for giving a feedback. Preferably, the beautification plan should be publicized and citizens should be asked to give their views.
On the list for beautification:
* The junction opposite Lalit Mahal chowk on FC road
* Satara Road to Bibvewadi chowk
* Bibvewadi chowk to Upper Indiranagar
* Hotel Blue Diamond chowk (Mangaldas Road)
* Pune-Solapur Road
* Jhansi Rani chowk to PMC union office chowk (Congress Bhavan Road)
* Alandi Road (Bombay Sappers to Vishrantwadi chowk)
* Area near Bopodi bridge
* Road opposite Shivajinagar ST bus stand
* Karve statue to Warje Kakade city road divider
* Shivaji Maharaj statue to DP Road, Ashish Garden, Karvenagar
* Pashan Road
* Pune University chowk
* Sadhu Vaswani chowk to police commissionerate
* Alankar theatre to Pune railway station
* Surya hospital chowk to Juna Bazaar chowk
* BT Kawade Road
* Seven Loves chowk to Gangadham chowk
* Kedari chowk-Wanowrie chowk
* Shankarsheth Road

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Impact of Unesco tag on Western Ghats hard to find

Activists say uncontrolled tourism,frequent forest fires,illegal mining,encroachments and poaching continue to threaten the region and that little has been done to even generate awareness about the world heritage tag.
For starters,the state forest department has failed to put up signboards declaring that these areas are now world heritage sites,as it is still awaiting official orders for the same.Of the 39 sites in the Western Ghats given the world heritage status,four fall in Maharashtra.These are Kas plateau,Koyna wildlife sanctuary,Chandoli national park and Radhanagari Wildlife sanctuary in the Sahyadri range.But the world heritage site signboard is there only at Kas plateau.People living in the villages near the other sites dont know about the recognition that has been given, said Nana Khamkar,an environmental activist.
Forest department officials said they are yet to receive any official communication from Unesco,or the ministry on the matter.It (inclusion of Western Ghats) is there on the Unesco website,but we have not received any official communication, said Mohan Karnat,field director of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR) which includes the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary and the Chandoli National Park.Moe Chiba,programme specialist for culture at Unesco,said the communication had been sent through the proper channel to both the ministry of culture and the ministry of environment and forests.
But the reticence about the heritage tag is the least of environmentalists worries.
They list graver concerns,critical among them being the denotification of nearly onefourth of the land of the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary,which was ironically announced soon after Unesco listed it on the world heritage list.The proposal to denotify 93 square kilometres of land in 14 villages was cleared by the National Wildlife Board,following which the forest authorities filed an interlocutory application before the Supreme Court,which is yet to give the final decision on the matter.
These 14 villages are part of the New Mahabaleshwar project.There have been encroachments on the forest area land deals have been struck and wind farms have come up illegally.Denotification of this land will legitimise these,said Khamkar,who has filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court on the issue.
What has also got the goat of activists is the unregulated tourism at these heritage sites.Take for instance,Kas plateau where officials have failed to check the surge in tourist numbers.After a failed attempt last year to restrict the number of tourists to 2,000 every day,restrictions have been waived this season.
Forest fires too pose a major threat.Forest officials say between 2005 and 2013,an average of 42,000 hectares of forest caught fire each year and in the last one year alone they received reports of 20 forest fires.
Add to that the concern of mining (see box).As many as seven bauxite mines are registered with Kolhapur administration with stations in Shahuwadi and Radhanagari taluka,both eco-sensitive zones.
We have made a presentation on this issue to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), said Karnat.
Officials blame the practice of Raab,wherein farmers burn the land before cultivation particularly in the months of March,April and May,for the frequent forest fires.We try to make people aware about the disastrous impact of forest fires,but they are not ready to change their traditional cultivation practices, said Satyajeet Gujar,divisional forest officer (wildlife).
Grasslands and meadows in the forests of Koyna and Chandoli have suffered much loss of green cover,Gujar said.
Vinod B Mathur,dean,Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun,central government coordinator for the efforts being made to manage the world natural heritage site status,said that Unesco will review the status in 2015-16 and that efforts should be made to protect them.
Source : The Times Of India. 03 July 2013

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जेजुरीचा खंडोबा गडाचा लवकरच कायापालट

खंडेरायाच्या जेजुरी नगरीची आजपर्यंत तीर्थक्षेत्र म्हणून ओळख होती, परंतु आता लवकरच पर्यटन स्थळ म्हणूनही नवी ओळख प्राप्त होणार आहे. गडाच्या परिसरातील २३ हेक्टर क्षेत्रामध्ये वनखात्याने मोठय़ा प्रमाणात वृक्ष लागवड व सुशोभीकरणाचे काम हाती घेतल्याने हा सारा परिसर गर्द हिरवाईने नटणार आहे.

जेजुरीला वर्षांकाठी सात मोठय़ा यात्रा भरतात. यात्रेसाठी लाखो भाविक येतात, एरवीही मोठी गर्दी असते. जय मल्हार मालिकेमुळे गर्दीत चौपट वाढ झाली आहे. गेल्या वर्षी तत्कालीन वनमंत्री पतंगराव कदम यांच्या हस्ते पाच कोटींच्या कामाला सुरुवात करण्यात आली13jajuri1 होती. या प्रकल्पांतर्गत २० हजार वृक्षांची लागवड करणे, बालोद्यानाची निर्मिती, भाविकांना बसण्यासाठी झाडाभोवती ओटे,पॅगोडा, निसर्ग अभ्यास केंद्र उभारणे, भाविकांना निसर्ग परिक्रमा करण्यासाठी पथ, वन्य प्राण्यांसाठी पाणवठे आदी कामे होणार आहेत. हे काम युद्ध पातळीवर सुरू असून सध्या खंडोबा गडाच्या परिसरात एक मीटर उंचीची सहा हजार झाडे लावण्यात आलेली आहेत. या झाडांना पाणी देण्यासाठी सुरुवातीला टँकरचा वापर केला जात होता, परंतु सर्व ठिकाणी पाणी पोहोचावे यासाठी पेशवे तलावातून थेट पाईपलाईन डोंगरात नेऊन तेथील पाण्याच्या टाकीत पाणी साठवण्यात आले आहे. येथूनच सर्व झाडांना पाणी देण्याची व्यवस्था केली जात आहे.

उद्यानतज्ज्ञ सुहास जोशी यांच्या मार्गदर्शनाखाली येथे वड, पिंपळ, उंबर, चिंच, कवट, लिंब, गुलामोहर, आपटा, कांचन, बांबू आदी वृक्षांची लागवड करण्यात आलेली आहे. वन खात्याने दोन ठिकाणी आकर्षक पॅगोडे उभे केल्याने या ठिकाणी विश्रांतीसाठी भाविक व निसर्गप्रेमी आवर्जुन येत आहेत. रमणा ते खंडोबा गड, कडेपठार पायथा ते खंडोबा गड असे दोन कच्चे रस्ते वन खात्याने तयार केले असून यामुळे प्रत्येक झाडापर्यंत पाणी देणे सोपे होत आहे. डोंगरातील परिसरात असलेल्या अनेक जुन्या झाडांना पार बांधण्यात आले असून या ठिकाणी भाविकांना हक्काची सावली मिळाली आहे. डोंगरातील उतारावर पाणी अडवण्यासाठी शंभरावर दगडी बंधारे बांधल्याने येणाऱ्या पावसाळ्यात तेथे पाणी साठणार आहे. या परिसरात हरीण, कोल्हा, लांडगा, चिंकारा, तरस, ससे, रान डुक्कर, सायाळ, खोकड, रानमांजर, खार आदी प्राणी मोठय़ा प्रमाणात आहेत. याशिवाय मोर, लांडोर, घुबड, घार, पोपट, बहिरी ससाणा आदी पक्ष्यांचाही वावर असतो. यांना पाणी पिण्यासाठी बशीच्या आकाराचे पाच सिमेंटचे पाणवठे बांधण्यात येणार आहेत.

खंडोबा गडाच्या जवळ बालोद्यान उभारण्याचे काम सुरू असून तेथे लहान मुलांना खेळण्यासाठी विविध प्रकारची खेळणी बसविणार आहेत, तर पक्षी व प्राण्यांची माहिती, निसर्गसंवर्धन या विषयी मार्गदर्शनपर फलक व प्रतिकृती उभारणार असल्याची माहिती सासवड विभागाचे वनपरीक्षेत्र अधिकारी बाळासाहेब दोरगे यांनी दिली.

नुकतेच राज्याचे अर्थमंत्री सुधीर मुनगंटीवार यांनीही जेजुरीच्या विकासासाठी पाच कोटी निधी देण्याची घोषणा केलेली आहे. यातून विकासाला हातभार लागणार आहे. खंडोबा गडावरून दीड किलोमीटर अंतरावर खंडोबा देवाचे मूळ स्थान कडेपठार मंदिर आहे. येथेही भाविकांची मोठी गर्दी असते. कडेपठार व खंडोबा गड परिसर पर्यटनस्थळ म्हणून घोषित करावा, अशी अनेक वर्षांची ग्रामस्थांची मागणी आहे. पूर्वी हा सारा परिसर निसर्गाने समृद्ध होता, परंतु बेसुमार वृक्षतोड व डोंगराला वारंवार लागणारे वणवे यामुळे येथील वनराईला ग्रहण लागले, परंतु आता वन खात्याने या परिसराचा कायापालट करायचाच असा निर्धार करून काम हाती घेतल्याने निश्चितपणे लवकरच दाट वनराईत रूपांतर होणार असल्याने भाविकांना देवदर्शनाबरोबरच वनपर्यटनाचा आनंद लुटता येणार आहे.

स्त्रोत : लोकसत्ता

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100 college students get ‘Smart’ for Pune

Over the rest of this year, as many as 100 city students from diverse disciplines — split into eight groups — will be burning the midnight oil to prove their mettle, turning innovative ideas into reality to solve burning issues like garbage, traffic and more — with a ‘smart’ touch.

Providing them with this platform is Common Purpose, an initiative that provides leadership development programmes to university students to solve common issues in society, under the banner of ‘Frontrunner’ at the College of Engineering, Pune (CoEP). The youths were entrusted with observing various sections of society and issues in the current system, to address these in the form of creative solutions and make Pune a ‘smart city’.

Farhad Merchant, chief executive at Common Purpose India, explained, “The students first met various stakeholders and officials from the government, civic authorities, private sectors, NGOs and more, to understand a variety of problems.” They visited 14 entities (including civic bodies, transport authorities and more) to zero in on issues. Merchant added, “We then split them up into groups and asked them to brainstorm on ideas to resolve these issues. The groups came up with some interesting ideas to address garbage management, traffic management, education for the underprivileged and lots more.”

Each group was also given a mentor, to help crystallise the idea into coherent form and fine-tune it. On Tuesday, the groups presented their ideas to panelists from the corporate world and town planning sector (in pic) who provided inputs on the projects’ execution and discussed their feasibility and sustainability.

Now, said Merchant, each group will create a revenue model and look for agencies to sponsor it.

CASH OUT OF WASTE

To resolve excess dry, wet and e-waste, this group has a ‘Cash out of Waste’ project. Siddhesh Dhauskar, a group member, said, “We will collaborate with firms that treat all three kinds of waste. Garbage will be collected from housing societies and given to them — money from it will be given back to residents.”

ROUTE OF THE MATTER

This group found it difficult for commuters, especially those new to the city, to comprehend complicated bus routes, so it suggested colour-coded maps be put up for each route; in the next phase, buses and bus stops will also be linked through GPS, for waiting passengers to track bus locations. Member Animesh Das said, “We will ask some firms to adopt buses for their maintenance. In return, companies can put up advertisements on them.”

CYCOLOGY-CAL SOLUTIONS

Taking the rent-a-cycle concept to another level, this group proposed a creative intra-college transport system — ‘Cycology’ — in which cycles would be kept at colleges like Fergusson, Modern and CoEP, for students to rent and use around campus, to be returned before going home. “We are in talks with bicycle manufacturing firms to avail of their corporate social responsibility initiatives,” a member said.

NO MORE SLUMMING IT

This group chose to focus on education for children from economically weaker sections, speaking to engineering institutes where kids could be given formal as well as skill-based education. The group has also done GIS mapping of slums to identify core areas for its project.

TEACH THEM LESS RUBBISH

Education and waste management come together in this project, with group members planning to go to schools to give students training on waste management and segregation. Apoorva Algudkar, a group member, said, “Schools are the target now, but it could be extended to colleges later.”

THE WORM TURNS HERE

The attention of this group’s members is focused on a niche issue — vermiculture projects in housing societies, often set up by builders to get completion certificates and totally neglected later. The group aims to form an NGO to go door-to-door and help societies manage these projects efficiently. Resultant manure will be sold to farmers, earning the societies some extra money.

AWARENESS MATTERS

The promotion of the smart city concept and helping people understand it was the main focus of this group. Members plan to create a platform for people from various areas to come together and spruce up local spaces like walls with creative artwork. Various social networks media would be used for this.

BIN THERE, DONE THAT

Here, the idea was to motivate people to put the garbage into bins, not everywhere else. The group proposed a system under which smart cards would be given out. After putting garbage into a smart bin and swiping the card, each person would be privy to points. Member Swapnil Labade said that they have decided to start the project at a BRTS route in Pimpri-Chinchwad, with publicity given to whoever garners the most points on the card. Discounts on bus tickets will also be given to people with points to redeem, to heighten interest in the venture.

Source: Punemirror, 18’March

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