PUNE: Twelve companies have expressed interest in Pune Municipal Corporation’s riverfront development project, designed along the lines of the Sabarmati riverfront development project.

Tenders worth Rs360 crore for the first phase were issued in October. The project faces opposition due to increased cost by around Rs 2,000 crore. Activists and environmentalists have red flagged the project on the grounds that it could cause floods. They also claimed cost-escalation was done without proper public consultation.

The tenders were issued on Wednesday. Work will begin five years after it was announced.

“The response to the tender was very good. Twelve firms have shown interest. The final figure will be known after a fortnight, when the deadline lapses,” said Mangesh Dighe, a senior PMC associated with the project, said.

He said PMC was hoping that even more firms show interest in the project. Though the consultant for the Sabarmati riverfront project has designed this initiative, the Pune project will have its own identity.

As per the tenders, the first phase will be carried out from Sangam Ghat to Bund Garden. The work includes beautification of the banks, cycle tracks, beautification of Naik island. Boating activity is also proposed in this phase. The proposal also states that greenery will be developed on the tracks to maintain the temperature. The total project is to be completed in 11 phases.

“Environmentalists and experts have raised alarms about this initiative. If the authorities go ahead with the project against the public will, we may explore legal options. The matter may be taken to court,” said Vivek Velankar of Sajag Nagrik Manch, a citizens’ group.

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