Pune: ‘Nullah parks’ can both stop a deluge and delight people

By: Vikrant Shinde
The information stories of the disastrous flooding from final yr are nonetheless recent in our minds.

The floods washed away houses, automobiles and lives. The 2019 tragedy woke us up – we weren’t prepared for rain.

The metropolis is criss-crossed with floodlines. We have very important waterways within the type of canals, nullahs, rivulets, and so forth. But encroachments alongside these ‘metropolis savers’ have began to behave like sluggish poison, which is making our metropolis shallow from inside and lowering its immunity to struggle nature‘s worst.

Arguments that claimed solely neighbourhoods alongside nullahs had been hit final yr are troubling at finest. Heavy rains will not be restricted to areas close to nullahs or rivers. Nature has confirmed that. The whole metropolis must be geared up to take care of flooding, as an alternative of sure components. Breaches in simply two nullahs – Ambil Odha and Bhairoba nullah – had been liable for many of the injury Pune suffered final yr.

But catastrophe is probably the perfect trainer for urban planners. The sight of water getting into houses and impacting low-lying areas exhibits us that canals and waterways should be revered. If they’re meant to hold water from supply to vacation spot, we shouldn’t be dumping our bricks and baggage into them.

Thankfully, efforts are on to make sure the worst of 2019 does not repeat. Nullahs alongside the Katraj-Parvati stretch and close by areas are getting retaining partitions. Encroachments too are being eliminated.

But mere partitions won’t stop the dumping of waste or building rubble. These partitions quantity to unique therapy of nullahs. Instead, we must be making them extra inclusive. The waterways then must be intergrated into the leisure and leisure infrastructure of Pune. With measures that guarantee unimpeded water circulate, our nullahs can be developed into strip gardens and accessible public spaces with prudent entry factors. Such a step will assist create extra locations for residents. The nullah park in Sahakarnagar is one such instance. Now I would like you to think about the infrastructure potential within the photograph above – it is a shot of a waterway in Warje. Why can’t we’ve a lovely public area there as an alternative of simply rubble and unfastened mud?

Through some intervention and consideration, nullahs can be developed to hold water and function sustainable public areas that reply to flood-like conditions. The supplies used must be a part of the town’s sponge infrastructure – designed to soak up most downpour.

Pune has the potential to develop into an Indian metropolis with a few of the prettiest waterfront areas. We can have working tracks, meditation centres, open-air gyms and even small live performance venues. Children will sooner or later run and play the place rubbish is being dumped right now.

It’s simply a matter of consideration and the proper intentions.

The author is a city-based architect and city designer

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