Citizens Rally for Nandanvan: Urgent Plea for Protection of Pune’s 200-Acre Forest Reserve

Pune: The Nandanvan Forest, a sprawling 200-acre reserve near Heavens Park in Mohammadwadi, has become the focal point of citizen demands for immediate protective measures. Concerns include the urgent need for fencing, access gates, and a complete ban on large-scale plastic and garbage dumping that is currently plaguing the forest. Additionally, walkers frequenting the area are advocating for a strict prohibition on pets, the construction of a fencing wall, and the installation of a main gate to control access and prevent anti-social elements from entering.

A recent visit to the forest revealed unrestricted access for two-wheelers, four-wheelers, and heavy vehicles, causing distress among citizens who value the lush green canopy of the reserve. The presence of broken beer and liquor bottles scattered across rock plains highlighted the need for urgent action.

Founder member of Nandanvan, Sandeep Kamble, expressed concern over the rampant garbage dumping, stating, “Despite our continuous efforts in cleaning the forest area, the habit of dumping plastic and vegetable waste persists, causing damage to the forest ecosystem. We have repeatedly requested the forest department to construct a gate and fencing wall to protect the area from Heaven’s Park society to the other end.”

Morning walker Shailaja Shinde, a regular visitor to the forest for the past five years, criticized the forest department’s negligence and urged for immediate action. “The Nandanvan forest, with its rich flora, fauna, and diverse bird species, deserves protection. It’s unfortunate that the forest department, entrusted with the primary goal of protecting forests, is neglecting its duty towards the conservation of this vital green space. We demand barricading of the entire area, deployment of forest guards, a ban on pets, and strict action against garbage dumping and anti-social elements,” she emphasized.

The forest, stretching from Heavens Park Society in Mohammadwadi to Ramtekdi in Hadapsar, adorned with lakhs of trees, faces threats not only from unchecked access but also from the vandalism and binge drinking by anti-social elements. Some citizens have gone a step further, demanding the forest be declared a national park with adequate funding from both the state and central governments.

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