Activists demand new DPR on Pune metro

Pune: A day after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said the central government will soon green signal the Pune Metro Project, activists and citizens have insisted on a new detailed project report (DPR) for Vanaz-Ramwadi route.

The chief minister, who was in the city on Thursday, held several rounds of discussions with various stakeholders and announced that the state will execute mixed metro for Pune.

Pune guardian minister Girish Bapat echoed CM’s statement and added that the city will get metro approval in the next few days. “The project has already been delayed and the state government is committed to execute the metro project as soon as possible,” he said.

“The state is very keen to implement the metro project based on the DMRC report. Preparing a new DPR will take another few years and the project will be delayed further. The demand for complete underground route is impractical and the government has no resources to fund underground metro,” said a state official.

In March, Fadnavis had said that the state will immediately approve and start building the Pune metro corridor-I, which would connect Pimpri Chinchwad and Swargate. He appointed a committee under the district guardian minister to study alternative alignment for corridor-II, between Vanaz and Ramwadi.

The DMRC proposal for the corridor I (Swargate- PCMC) proposes underground metro in congested stretch. The proposed corridor II (Vanaz-Ramwadi) of the metro is completely elevated for the entire 14.925km according to the DPR.

City MP Anil Shirole, who has been demanding a new DPR for Pune metro, preferred to keep mum on the chief minister’s statement. When contacted him, Shirole said that he cannot comment on the matter as “things are not still clear.” But supporters of underground metro are firm on their stand.

“State’s decision to develop a corridor between Shivajinagar-Hinjewadi is a welcome step. But they must not go ahead with the DMRC report which is based on wrong surveys. The DMRC does not understand Pune’s problems, it is the people of Pune who know the city. There should be a new DPR which should plan a metro route to Laxmi Road. All over the world, metro goes through business district and Pune’s business district is Laxmi Road,” said Arun Firodia, trustee of Janwani organisation. He added that lakhs of people go to Laxmi Road for schooling and shopping. “We are going to spend Rs 10,000 crore on metro, that is about Rs 1 lakh per family and this money must be spent wisely,” he said. Janwani’s committee on metro has suggested the stretch of Vanaz to Ramwadi should be made underground.

“The state can start metro work on Swargate-PCMC route as it is mixed metro. But there must be a new DPR for Vanaz to Ramwadi corridor. We hope that the chief minister will not go ahead with the wrong DPR and mistakes made by the previous government,” said Urban Planner, Activist and Professor Aneeta Gokhale-Benninger, who is also working as Executive Director, Centre for Development Studies and Activities (CDSA), Pune, Maharashtra. She added that the surveys incorporated by the DMRC in the DPR were completely flawed. Sujit Patwardhan of Parisar organization said, “The chief minister has made a confusing statement. He should clarify which part of the metro will be underground and which elevated.”

Fadnavis’ comment on Puneites debating metro for years also evoked sharp response. “Pune is a city of intellectuals and there are debates and discussions. In our city (Nagpur), there are no differences and hence we could move further,” CM had said.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Anil Shidore said that Fadnavis’ statement was unbecoming of a chief minister. “Discussions are must in democracy. The CM is suggesting that the state will decide and people should just follow. He is also saying that if you ask more questions it will hit development process,” he said.

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