A commitment ring it was for Pune's populace, a promise that the city would never have to be choked by burgeoning traffic. And, it took almost three decades and much bureaucratic meandering to make that project edge to a fruition.
The High Capacity Mass Transit Route (HCMTR) — the proposed ring road for the city, lying in cold storage since 1987 — is finally ready to take wing, with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) appointing a private consultant to make a detailed project report (DPR) and set the ball rolling. A visit by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis last week and his directives about restructuring HCMTR's route alignment has prodded the project back to life. At the standing committee meeting on Tuesday, PMC assigned Mumbai-based STUP Consultants Pvt Ltd to complete a DPR within three months.
Speaking to Mirror, Rajendra Raut, the superintending engineer of PMC's road department, said, "The DPR includes a feasibility report, geometric study, traffic study, design and estimation of the project. The civic body has roughly estimated a project cost of around Rs 7,000 crore. Till 2015, it had estimated a cost of Rs 150 crore per kilometre. However, due to encroachment and unavailability of land, we have given the option of an elevated road. A part of the proposed route cuts through defence land, so we have also considered realigning it, with an around two-kilometre extension to the existing route map." For now, PMC has given Rs 90 lakh to STUP to complete the DPR. The HCMTR will stretch to 34 kilometres and be a 24-metre wide road that would pass within the corporation's limits. It has been designed for heavy vehicles and public transport to ease the traffic congestion within the city. The ring road was first proposed in 1982 and later included in the PMC's development plan (DP) of 1987. The total land required for HCMTR is about 8.16 lakh kilometres, which passes through the old city limit. Out of that, PMC has been able to acquire about 2.5 lakh square metres of land in the last 29 years. Another 5.66 lakh square metres of land is yet to be acquired. For 16 kms of the route, the civic body will have to acquire land from private land owners. About 3.88 kms of the route passes via land owned by the irrigation department. The route also cuts through the Pune and Khadki cantonment areas as well as forest department land. Former deputy mayor Aba Bagul, who pursued the HCMTR project and inspected the entire route, said, "There is 30 per cent encroachment on the route. The Dandekar Bridge area in Kondhwa is among the places that have been encroached upon. On a few other parts of the route, the PMC has already given building permission. So now, it has to make an elevated road on those parts. The project has gathered steam after the appointment of the private consultant. It has finally kicked off now." Last year, the corporation had formed a special cell for the HCMTR, under the chairmanship of additional municipal commissioner Omprakash Bakoria, city engineer Prashant Waghmare, land acquisition department head Madhav Jagtap, three junior engineers and one assistant engineer. Rajshekar, transportation engineer of STUP Consultants, elaborated on how the company will chalk out the report, saying, "For the HCMTR, we have to give priority to heavy vehicles and public transport, excluding autorickshaws and two-wheelers. There is construction on some bits of the route, so we have to design an elevated road in some parts of the city. Public transport is not that efficient in the city, owing to which the number of private vehicles has increased. So, we have to keep in mind ways to boost public transport and decrease private vehicles by developing the route. Our company has even developed a similar route in Hyderabad, which connects the city to the airport and is fully elevated. In Pune, we cannot make the entire road elevated as it passes through the city area." The DPR includes a feasibility report, geometric study, traffic study, design and estimation of the project. The civic body has roughly estimated a project cost of around Rs 7,000 crore
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Source: Pune Mirror
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