General :

Pune Metropolitan Area which principally comprises Pune city, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Kahdki Cantt and Pune Cantt, is one of the most rapidly growing urban centers in India. The population of this conglomerate has increased from 50 lakhs in 2008 to 55 lakhs in 2011 and is projected to grow to 68 lakhs and 77 lakhs in 2021 and 2031 respectively. The service sector in terms of Software Parks along with automobile manufacturing sector on the outskirts of this conglomerate is continuing to give a rapid impetus to this growth. Public transport has not kept pace with this rapid increase in population as is the case with most of the urban centers in India. Keeping this situation in view a number of Traffic studies were undertaken by Pune Municipal Corporation during the past 1 ½ decade. A Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) was evolved by IIT Bombay for Pune region in 2006. CMP conceived various projects to satisfy the transportation demand of commuters in Pune area by focusing on public transport systems. It comprised widening of roads, new arterial roads (ring roads etc), BRTS and an efficient Metro Rail System. The objective was to increase the share of Public Transport from a meager 18 % to 80 %. Non availability of efficient public transport has lead to unmanageable increase in personalized transport in terms of four wheelers and two wheelers. The results are obvious and are felt by every puneite in terms of traffic congestions, unacceptable levels of air and noise pollution, increase in number of road accidents and adverse effects on the health of two wheeler riders.

Pune Metro Project- Phase I

As a follow up on CMP along with several other schemes under JNNURM, Pune Municipal Corporation appointed Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to prepare DPR for Pune Metro in 2008. DMRC submitted the DPR in 2009 prioritizing two corridors under Phase I viz. (i) PCMC to Swargate (16.589 km) and (ii) Vanaz to Ramwadi (14.925 km). The salient features of the two Std Gauge (1435 mm) Metro Corridors are tabulated below :

Chart :

The two proposed corridors run along following routes :

Corridor 1 : PCMC – Kasarwadi – Dapodi – Bopodi - Khadki – Range Hill- Shivajinagar – Mandai - Swargate  (underground between Range Hill/Shivajinagar to Swargate)
Corridor 2 :   Vanaz (Kothrud)- Nal Stop - Deccan Gymkhana - Civil Court - Pune Railway Station - Bund Garden – Yerwada - Ramwadi. (fully elevated)

Two maintenance depots are planned, one for each corridor i.e. (Corridor 1) at Agricultural College and (Corridor 2) Vanaz Katchara Depot.
The proposed elevated portions of the corridors generally run along arterial roads and in highly built up congested city areas i.e. from Agricultural College to Swargate (Corridor 1) the Metro is proposed as underground.
Presently, Pune Metro Project Phase 1 comprising of the above two corridors is in the process of receiving final approval from Govt. of Maharashtra and Govt. of India.  

Estimated Cost and Time Frame

The estimated cost of the two corridors is as below :

Corridor 2, which is fully Elevated is expected to be completed in four years from the date of commencement of the work whereas Corridor 2 which comprises about 5 km underground section in the congested city areas is likely to get completed in five years.
The Project is conceived to be implemented by a separate SPV with funding pattern broadly as follows :
Govt of India -                              20 %
Govt. of Maharashtra -                  20%
Municipal Corporations -               10 %
Loan from funding Agencies-          50%

Metro System - Choice of Gauge, Elevated v/s Underground and Spread
Provision of an effective and reliable public transport system for the City of Pune and its surroundings in terms of a modern Metro Rail System is one of the imperatives if the city desires to maintain its premier place as a destination for investment in India. Pune has already lagged behind other competing destinations such as Bengalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Jaipur and Ahmedabad. In these cities the works on Metro projects are rapidly progressing and proposals for Phase 2 of Metro in some of these cities are already under the consideration of Govt. of India.
Pune obviously cannot afford any more delay. The delay has taken place due to various views and counterviews on some issues, important amongst them being Gauge and Underground v/s Elevated. Standard Gauge is the gauge adopted for Metros all over the world and also in most of the Metro Projects currently in progress in India and the latter is based on vary sound reasons. Between Broad Gauge and Std Gauge there is only a marginal difference in carrying capacity of commuters. The latter is however not the criteria for Metro Trains, it is the frequency of trains which is the important factor which is achieved by modern signaling systems. The oft repeated suggestion of making the entire Pune Metro as Underground has to be viewed in the light of substantial increase in Capital Expenditure, increase in construction time, greater disturbance to roads and adjacent properties during construction and higher Operation and Maintenance costs. The CAPEX alone goes up by as much as Rs 300 cr per km for change from elevated to underground. This will mean increased burden for debt servicing and increased fares for the citizens of Pune. A technically feasible Elevated Metro is ideal for the Indian conditions particularly when the country needs to get maximum advantage from every Rupee invested to implement long overdue infrastructure projects. It is pertinent to note that only 25 %, 21 %, 0 %, 20 %, 9.2 % of route lengths of Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Kolkata (Rlys) Metro systems are conceived as underground. Pune Metro Phase I envisages about 16 % as underground which is comparable with the above figures.
There is also a demand for extending the present Metro alignment to farther areas. Projects of such magnitude and complexity are always executed in Phases. It needs to be emphasized that the present proposal is called Phase I meaning that further extensions are bound to occur under Pune Metro Phase 2 to Phase 4 for which preliminary studies have already been carried out by DMRC. 65 km of Delhi Metro Phase I has grown to 196 km today and rapidly progressing towards a length of 300 km route length.

 Metro Rail – Advantages
The oft repeated advantages of Metro Systems in any City need to be reemphasized as these are now based on actual experience in Delhi (DMRC).
                Comfortable, quick, safe and economic travel (increased efficiency of work force in offices and industries)
                Energy efficient mode of transport.
                Reduction in Noise and Air pollution.
                Saving in fossil fuel
           Improvement in employability - individuals get more choices in terms of jobs and locations of residence.
                Brings in social inclusion
                Equalization of property prices
                Opening new areas for commercial and residential development.

No doubt that construction of Pune Metro is an ambitious Project and its implementation will pose numerous challenges. However, with several achievements of much higher order in implementation of a number of complex projects behind us there is no need for any kind of diffidence. For a metropolitan area leaping towards a population of 80 lakhs it is imperative to take up the implementation of Pune 

Shashikant Limaye     
BE (Civil), M.Tech (Struct. E), IRSE (Retd.)     
Officer on Special Duty Pune Metro Project,     
Pune Municipal Corporation