Activists insist on Underground Metro Rail in Pune

Pune: The state’s decision to implement the first phase of Pune metro as per the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) report has not gone down well with activists who are in favour of an underground metro.

The DMRC had suggested an elevated metro for Pune city. The activists were a part of the meeting with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday when it was decided that phase I of the metro connecting Pimpri with Swargate should be taken up as the DMRC plan.

A senior government official who attended the meeting said the state has handled the situation very tactfully. Instead of locking horns with the activists, the state made them agree to implementation of the first phase. “The CM has appointed a committee to study phase II of the project about which the activists have their reservations. However, the committee will not decide on whether it should be an underground or elevated one. It will only discuss alternative alignment. The state can always say that the DMRC report is final and there is no need to realign the route,” said the official. “There was no specific discussion on elevated or underground metro during the meeting. This essentially means that the government is determined to go ahead with the DMRC plan,” said a senior PMC official.

Ironically, many of the activists supporting underground metro did not present their point of view and were content with the chief minister appointing a committee to study phase II. Urban planner Aneeta Benninger Gokhale, who strongly objected to implementation of phase I as per the DMRC plan, said, “Puneites should insist on a fresh detailed project report (DPR) with current data. Surveys incorporated in the DMRC report are based on RITES surveys conducted in 1996-97. It is 18 years old and not relevant today. Also the IITB report on which the DPR is based on is not representative and will not stand scientific scrutiny because it has glaring mistakes. We must give the time required to prepare a proper DPR.”

City MP Anil Shirole, who has sided with the activists, has been deliberately kept out of the committee headed by guardian minister Girish Bapat who has strongly supported an elevated metro. “The state government will take appropriate decisions without any haste,” said Shirole, who added that all points of views will be taken into consideration before a final call is taken.