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Will Pune’s metro rail project see the light of day?

Tuesday, 8 January 2013 - 6:59pm IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

Union minister for agriculture Sharad Pawar has called for a meeting of Pune leaders with the Ministry of Urban Development in New Delhi to discuss the city’s metro project. However, there is doubt on whether the meet will help as the two municipal corporations, PMC & PCMC, have varied differences on the project.

Union minister for agriculture Sharad Pawar has called for a meeting of Pune leaders with the Ministry of Urban Development in New Delhi to discuss the city’s metro project. However, there is doubt on whether the meet will help as the two municipal corporations, PMC & PCMC, have varied differences on the project. Also, lack of land and funds for the given purpose are yet to be addressed. Will the government give priority to commuters and make sincere efforts to speed up the ambitious project? DNA explores...

The metro project is nothing but cheating Pune citizens
Only if the College of Agriculture (COA) in Shivajinagar is ready to hand over 60 acres for the city’s metro rail project to create a station hub, can this project go ahead. The reality is that the agriculture college is not ready to handover its land. President of the Nationalist Congress Party Sharad Pawar in his previous statement had said that if we depend on COA for the land then the city will never get its metro rail. When the same is not resolved, I don’t understand why Pawar is calling for a meeting of city leaders from various political parties in Delhi. The metro rail project for Pune is just a dream that is being sold to the citizens, there is no concrete reality in it. The project is nothing but cheating the Pune citizens. It is just a show-off that other city political leaders are not doing anything and only Pawar is powerful enough to make the metro rail project happen. It is just a political message from Pawar that I am supreme.   
Ujjwal Keskar, Independent Corporator

How and who will fund the metro rail project?
The basic issue with the proposed city metro rail project is where will the Rs15,000 crore required for the project come from. The project is being debated for the last four years on issues like the metro route, underground or elevated, who will share the cost etc., but till date nobody has spoken about how will it be funded. It is still not clear whether the Centre will provide part of the funds. Even if it does, will it be a loan or non-repayment fund? Even if it is projected that the metro will be funded by public private participation, it is not going to be free for the civic body. Just increasing 5 or 6 FSI (floor space index) is not the solution because it can lead to an increase in demand for civic amenities and infrastructure.

The proposed minimum ticket for the metro rail is Rs7, which is bound to increase. If such is the case, the metro rail will be only affordable for the high-income group. The common man won’t benefit from the project. There is a need to resolve the commuting problem by making it cheap and fast for everyone. It is very important that the financial matters are resolved initially before taking the metro project forward.     
Vivek Velankar, Civic Activist

Metro is not absolute solution to the commuting problem
The city’s political leaders and the parties they belong to hardly seem to be concerned and interested in what the Pune public really wants. They have no clue what are the needs of the commuters in the city. All the decisions that are being taken are based on vested interest of the political parties and their members.

Right now, there is controversy and concern regarding whether the metro project should be underground or elevated. One thing must be understood that various issues surrounding the metro project must be resolved by consulting experts before the work starts.

The planning and implementation of the city’s metro project should be objective. Metro is not the absolute solution to the commuting problem of the city. It should be an integrated approach, complimenting with other modes of transportation.

There should be an optimum utilisation of funds for the project and should be time-bound.
Jugal Rathi, President, PMP Pravasi Manch

More people can travel by rail than buses
Being a regular commuter, I feel the metro rail will definitely benefit the commuters. The people in the PMC and PCMC do not have the expertise, capacity or financial resources to implement this metro project.

They must simply provide the land and limit their involvement. The state government should instead actively take this project forward. The routes keep getting changed because the PMC corporators do not have the expertise in this area. They keep modifying the proposed routes in a whimsical manner.

Also, I feel starting the metro service in Pune wouldn’t mean bus services will be ignored. Even if the initial investment is huge, more people can travel by metro than by buses. We need both the metro as well as better bus services.

Metro and bus services will compliment each other. Besides, there are many people who oppose the metro only for the sake of  it without any rationale. These very same people will welcome the metro once it is built as it will benefit everyone. Pune should learn from Mumbai and realise how beneficial a commuter rail or metro rail system can be.
Anil Gokhale, manager

Corporation lacks the will to improve public transportation
Metro is not necessary. It will prove to be very expensive and cause a lot of inconvenience while it is under construction. A better and more cost-effective solution will be to strengthen the existing local trains from Pune to Lonavla, which go via Nigdi. The frequency of the trains on the route must be increased. The number of buses on this route must also be increased and new, modern buses should be introduced to tackle overcrowding. The corporation lacks the will to improve the public transport system in the city though it has always promised to do so on many occasions. To attract more people, air-conditioned buses must be provided in the city. It will take a long time to build the metro and by the time it comes into existence, the traffic situation will worsen. Even bus rapid transit is not a solution as the roads in Pune are not wide enough. Instead, increase the frequency of buses to resolve commuting woes.
Ankur Kamble, student

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