Poona's Estranged Beauty

I came to Poona in September, 2002. I vividly remember, while going to NDA, Kharagwasla from Chandni Chowk, I got to see many rabbits, a few deers and peacocks. Today, the landscape is so different that if a person goes there with the same idea of serenity, he'll be in for a rude shock. The greenery's gone, rabbits, deers and birds are no longer there to warm the cockles of your heart. Big, sprawling projects have come up instead. Frankly speaking, it looks like an eyesore. Rapid urbanisation has robbed Poona of nature's soft touch. According to 'Military Gazette Entry', 1926, " Poona in western India is one of the most beautiful towns with its salubrious climate and temperature never exceeding 30 degrees even during summers.

 It's the coolest place on the plains of India. Instead of humid Calcutta, Poona should be the Army Headquarters with the English officers here and the petty native officers of NCO and JCO cadres staying back in Calcutta.." (Brigadier Morris Wescot, Rajputana Rifles). Had Brigadier Wescot been alive, he committed suicide in Calcutta after having fallen in love with an English Maj. General's wife, he'd have committed suicide to see Poona climatically change so drastically since then. The insatiable greed of builders and promoters has destroyed this city. The indiscriminate proliferation of numerous housing projects has taken away Poona's pristine beauty. All erstwhile beautiful spots are now dotted with ugly buildings and the natural feeling of being in a placid jungle has been replaced with concrete jungle. Soon Poona will touch Ahmadnagar and Bombay. It's already spread to Talegaon, a tranquil place until a couple of years back.

 If Greater Noida was recently in news because of illegal land-grabbing by the influential builder-lobby of Delhi and NCR, why doesn't anyone see to it that Poona has also been vandalised, nay ravaged by these builders, who scare the poor villagers and usurp their lands. Lavasa, considered to be one of India's most natural and elite residential locations, is on a disputed land. I went there and found no semblance of natural beauty. How can you expect nature to retain its glory when a serene place is crowded by so many people with a labyrinth of swanky row-houses to sully its scenic beauty? Today, Poona's temperature shoots up to 42-43 degree celsius during summers and AC is almost essential when summer is at its peak. The politicians-promoters nexus has left no greenery,

 Poona was once upon a time proud of. Now every piece of land in Poona has a tacit involvement of politicians, who're the biggest land-sharks. It's indeed a sad sight to see a beautiful place like Poona decline and lose its natural beauty, thanks to undesirable urbanisation prompted and expedited by the unscrupulous elements.      
                                                                           ----Sumit Paul