Experts’ Speak

The need for a mass transit system for the ever growing city of Pune has been discussed for over a decade starting with a ring rail in eighties. But the first concrete step in this direction was to award the work of preparing a Detailed Project Report to DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation).DMRC submitted the DPR to PMC in 2009. This report basically suggested six routes with a hub at Agriculture college.

These were route1 to Nigadi ; route 2 to Hinjewadi; route 3 to Katraj; route 4 to Hadapsar; route 5 to Ramwadi and route 6 to Warje in descending order of density of traffic. However before PMC and PCMC were to act Ministry of Agriculture declared her in ability to allow any work in premises of Agriculture College. Hence DMRc for best reasons known to them prepared estimates for two route out of these. The first route is from Nigadi to Swargate(16.6kms) which is partially elevated and partially under ground while the second route is from Vanaz to Ramwadi(14.92) a totally elevated route.

When this DPR was studied by a team of retired senior Railway officers settled in Pune , a plethora of technical errors and lacunas were noticed in this report. They made numerous representations but the PMC just did not want to look at them. By this time number of serious flaws were also noticed by the Citizen's Committee consisting of architects , town planners etc. in the alignment of Vanaz- Ramwadi Route. They also held number of meetings with commissioner as well as prominent corporators and local MPs without much results. The general body of PMC approved the DPR as it is in 2010 and sent it to Mumbai for approval of the State Govt.

Some of the objections raised by these committees and some of which later on are being pursued by Janwani of Maratha Chamber Of Commerce, Industriesand Agriculture Pune are as under:

i. Least traffic density corridors, shown in the DPR, are recommended for implementation as top

priorities corridors. This need a review of priorities.

ii. Traffic assessment done for 17 years as against a minimum of 30 years required.

iii. The two corridors do not have track connectivity resulting in duplication of depots &

inconvenience to passengers apart from additional cost.

iv. Based on the traffic directions, Pune city needs a common centralized railway station, providing

track connectivity, to all corridors in difference directions. This will eliminate physical change of

commuters from one corridor to another.

v. This report has not given any consideration to the D.P. recently published by PMC with the

result there are BRT routes running parallel to metro in some places. And the city has now expanded

much beyond the so called end points thus reducing the effectiveness of these routes.

vi. During the construction of elevated metro, the traffic on busy roads like Karve road, J.M.road

would be severely affected at least for a period of 3-5 years. As at least 9 mt of road width on these

roads will be blocked during construction the traffic during peak hours would come to a standstill in this already congested part of the city inflicting great misery on the public. No such social cost would be incurred if The Vanaz to Yeravda section of the second route is taken under ground similar to that between Shivajinagar and Swargate.

vii. Elevated metro columns would reduce road width resulting in reduction of vehicle speed or necessitating road widening by demolishing building adjoining the busy roads.

viii. The taxes proposed in DPR are as under:

a) Professional Tax at 1% of the salary of the employees.

b) A Cess on petrol and diesel sale in the city

c) Increase in FSI to 4 and its trading

d) A surcharge on the property tax in the city

e) A surcharge on the Motor Vehicle Tax in the city.

f) An entry tax on the commercial articles entering the city

Out of these c) has been looked at closely but it's impact on the life of citizen's in Pune City will be terrible

The proposal of DMRC Has been approved by State Govt last year for Vanaz Ramwadi route and PMC

has appointed an Officer on special Duty who is looking into many of these aspects and after number of

meetings with Janwani team has sent a revised proposal to State Govt.

A per DPR by 2014 this metro should have become operational when it is still on paper in 2013

                                                                                                                                   Dr. K K Gokhale
Dr. KK Gokhale is Senior Retd. Railway Engineer and has been the Managing Director of the Konkan Railways. He has been involved in several Railway projects in India and abroad. He has been critically appraising the Pune Metro proposal for its betterment on various social forums.