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Battle of Pune's Riverfront: Environment vs Development

The Pune River Front Development Project, aimed at rejuvenating the Mula-Mutha riverfront in Pune, Maharashtra

By Apoorva
New Update
Mula Mutha riverfront project

The Pune River Front Development Project, aimed at rejuvenating the Mula-Mutha riverfront in Pune, Maharashtra, has faced significant opposition from locals and environmental activists. The project has been criticized for its potential impact on the environment and the displacement of local communities. The project involves the construction of parks, cycle tracks, and other amenities along the riverfront.

Yerwada Bridge over the Mula-Mutha River
Yerwada Bridge over the Mula-Mutha River | Photo: Rsrikanth05/Wikimedia Commons

Environmental Activists Stage "Chipko" Agitation

Environmental activists have been at the forefront of the opposition to the project. They are staging protests and demonstrations against the felling of trees and the destruction of natural habitats. In particular, the "Chalo Chipko" agitation has gained widespread support and garnered media attention. It is inspired by the namesake movement in Uttarakhand. The movement involves hugging trees to prevent them from being cut down.

The movement has been used as a symbolic protest against the environmental damage caused by the riverfront development project. The activists argue that the felling of trees will harm the ecosystem. In addition, increase the risk of flooding and water pollution in the area.

Apart from environmental concerns, locals in the affected areas have also expressed their opposition to the project, citing the potential loss of their homes and livelihoods. The riverfront development project involves the acquisition of land along the riverbank. This could displace thousands of families and small businesses.

Moreover, there are concerns that the project could lead to gentrification and the exclusion of marginalized communities from the newly developed areas. Activists have called for the project to be reviewed to ensure that it is inclusive and equitable and that the rights of the affected communities are protected.

Government Defends Project as Essential for Development

Despite the opposition, the government has defended the riverfront development project as essential for the city's development and growth. The project is part of the government's Smart Cities Mission, aimed at creating sustainable and livable urban areas across India.

The officials have emphasized that the project has undergone a thorough environmental impact assessment. Additionally, measures are being taken to minimize the impact on the ecosystem and local communities. They have also stressed that the project will create jobs and improve the quality of life for residents in the area.


The Pune River Front Development Project has sparked a contentious debate about the balance between development and environmental protection. While the government sees it as a necessary step towards creating a modern and vibrant city. Whereas, activists and locals are concerned about the potential consequences for the environment and the community. It is crucial that all stakeholders engage in dialogue and work towards a solution that prioritizes sustainable development and the protection of the environment and the rights of the affected communities.

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