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Pune’s Metro ride a distant dream

Monday, 9 June 2014 - 7:14am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

With delay in submitting reports by the authorities, Pune’s wait for Metro just seems to get longer
  • Metro services were thrown open in Mumbai on Sunday. File Photo dna

With Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan flagging off Metro operations in Mumbai yesterday, inching the state capital’s public transport closer to convenience, Punekars are eagerly waiting for their share of pie. 

A detailed project report (DPR) of the Pune Metro was undertaken by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, the report of which was submitted between 2008 and 2010. However, with Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) delay in submitting the proposal to the Union government to make provisions for the project in the annual budget, the Metro seems to be a distant dream for the city. 

According to the draft, the work on Metro was supposed to start from April this year. The DPR was approved by the state government in June 2012. In October last year, the government decided to approve the project while partly funding it—10 per cent of the funds will come from the PMC and the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), 20 per cent each from the state and Central governments and the rest will be raised from the private market. Following which in February, the Central government gave a green signal to the Pune Metro project. 

According to the plans in place, the first 16.59 km of the Pimpri-Chinchwad and Swargate Metro rail route will be part of the elevated and the underground section. Another 14.92 km of the Vanaz to Ramwadi corridor will be elevated. The project’s estimated cost is Rs10,183 crore and is expected to be completed by 2021. 

However, the Metro project just seem to be on papers as the report is doing rounds form one department to another. As per the directives given by the Central government to the Pune Metro cell to form an independent company in the name of Pune Mahanagr Metro Railway Corporation, commissioner of both the municipal corporation, PMC and PCMC along with the finance secretary of state government were supposed to be part of the company. However, the formation of the company is still not been done.

Even the officer on special duty (OSD), Shashikant Limaye had quit after his contract with the PMC ended on April 30 and the PMC failed to float a tender in time for fresh appointment of an OSD. Limaye’s departure from the project comes at a time when the PMC is racing against time to form the special purpose vehicle (SPV) to garner financial resources to kickstart the project. Limaye, one of the backbones of the project, was closely associated with the creation of the SPV. The retired Indian Railways engineer, who has vast experience, had closely worked with E. Sreedharan on different projects.

Speaking to dna, (retd) PMC officer on special duty, Pune Metro, Shashikant Limaye said, “After the changes were made by the state government, the file of Metro project was sent to the Union Urban Development Minister. However, as per the last report that I had received as osd the file was with the railway department for technical clearance.”

Liamye added, “During the process, we were supposed to form a company of a 13-member board, which will include one managing director, three directors who would be commissioners of both municipal corporation and chief secretary of state government along with stake holders. PMC was supposed to appoint engineers who will help with the technical planning of the metro project on both routes. If things were in order then the work could have started by the end of monsoon this year.” 

Activists slam politicians for the delay:
Over the last 10 years, Pune has turned into an IT hub, leading to population expansion. According to civic activists, the city will continue to attract more population because of career opportunities that it offers. This makes Metro a necessity.

“The city is growing rapidly. Therefore, there should be finalisation of the total cost of the Metro project in a stipulated time,” said President of Sajag Nagrik Manch, Vivek Velankar.

According to President of PMP Pravasi Manch Jugal Rathi, the Metro should be citizen friendly. “It should turn out to be a boon for the citizens and help in curbing the issue of traffic congestion. However, politician are not at all serious about the Metro project.”

President of Nagarik Chetna Manch Maj Gen (Retd) SCN Jatar, said, “The Pune Metro project started on a bad note as it was opposed by various groups. Moreover, lack of planning by the PMC is one of the major reasons behind the delay. Even though the floor space index was allocated, the project hasn’t yet started because of politicians’ indifferent attitude towards the project.” 

Pedestrians FIRST convener Prashant Inamdar, said, “Metro is just a vision and the project will be like a dream come true as we have been waiting for it since a long time. Only promises have been made and no concrete work has been done so far. Only states capitals such as Delhi, Kolkata and now Mumbai have Metro. If the project comes into reality, it will be a boon for the citizens as the traveling time will come down drastically.”

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