In the last blog we saw a pair of 'now' and 'future' pictures from the draft riverfront development plan. The whole idea behind sharing the pictures was to make citizens aware that such development is happening on our river and we have the right to know ... and question. Development is indeed important, but one must look behind the glamour in order to ensure that it is sustainable.
Considering the comments from both online and offline sources I can say that definitely citizens don't want our riverfront to be concertized to such an extent in the name of places for public interaction, clear a grassy bank and have a couple of lonely trees in the name of aesthetics, and lots of pigeons (!) in the name of biodiversity (as depicted in the proposed view). Click on THIS LINK to access the information on riverfront development.
As Shailaja Deshpande of Jeevitnadi rightly mentioned that even a common citizen who has nothing to do with ecology and river dynamics would still like to have a good mix of green cover and rock structures along the riverbank instead of all pavements.
Also she pointed out that we should have inclusive access to the river, or in other words easy access to differently-abled people which is still not reflected in our planning though we know about its importance.
While undertaking a stream mapping study along the river stretch near Mhatre bridge last year, my colleagues and I came across a beautiful wetland patch that needs to be preserved. Aditi Deodhar of Brown leaf foundation and an active member of Jeevitnadi said that similar wetland patches exist near Vitthalwadi river stretch as well which are currently being preserved by a community of enthusiastic people in the neighborhood through the program of adoption of a river stretch initiated by Jeevitnadi.
Holistic approach and considerations of local ecosystem in the area are must while planning development.