In the stretch between Lakadi Bridge till Mula-Mutha sangam, there used to be 14 ghaats during Peshwa-era. Ghaat is a set of steps leading to the river. They facilitate easy access to the river. Ghaats, the silent witness to the golden era of Mutha, indicate people visiting the river. This interaction between people and the river continued even after the end of Peshwa-era. Even, establishment of pipelines and water connection did not hamper it.
On 12th July 1961, Pune city suffered severe floods due to collapse of Panshet dam and breach of Khadakwasla dam. Floods damaged the beautiful temples and ghaats.
City water supply was such a major challenge for the municipal corporation, that restoration of river bank was not a priority. Ruins of the ghaat and temples, boulders carried by the floods, debris, silt lay on the bank as it is. River and riverbank lost its beauty. These debris became mosquito breeding places. Over time, people stopped coming to the river and gradually interaction with the river declined.
Why Events by the River
Places that people cherish, are preserved. When river lost it place in people’s heart, it fell in disuse. It became a convenient garbage-dumping place. Perception of river and river bank as garbage-dump, polluted place, became etched on people’s mind.
River revival is impossible without people participation. If we wish to make this river once again a living river, then we need to bring people closer to the river, establish the lost-connection with the river and change the perception of the river bank. It should become a place of recreation, a place of culture, once again.
“Adopt a river stretch” program by Jeevitnadi aims at this very objective. As part of this program, along with conservation initiatives, various activities like “Bird-watching and Storytelling by the river”, Diwali Pahaat, Kirtan were organised.
Kids sitting on the river bank, intently listening to the stories, strolling, playing in the riverbed after the session, is a heart-warming sight.
River used to be a place of interaction, a cultural hub. Through these events, we have started the process of re-establishing that connection once again.