Activists seek probe into Pune Light Rail project

पुणे Pune:  A group of activists have demanded an inquiry into the light rail project, which was approved by the civic standing committee on Tuesday. The activists have alleged that the committee members approved the project, initiated by a Japanese firm, after a “personal tour to Japan”.

“The corporators have not revealed the details about their meeting with the Japanese company, which they conducted during their visit to Japan. Hence, there is scope to doubt the intention of the elected members. The proposal should be cancelled,” Vijay Kumbhar, founder of citizens’ group Surajya Sangharsha Samiti, said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The standing committee of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) approved the light rail project on Tuesday, despite the civic administration’s reservations regarding the feasibility of the plan.

The proposed train route from Shivajinagar to Hinjewadi will have 21 stations in between and will cover 21.6km. Of these, 6.35km will be in Pune city. The train route will be elevated as well as along the road.

The Japanese company has provided financial support to design the project and will also prepare a detailed feasibility report. The train is aimed at connecting core city areas to locations with high concentration of information technology companies.

The civic administration, in its review reply on the feasibility of the project, has raised several questions on the proposal, keeping in mind the metro rail project planned for the city in the same areas. The queries were about financial viability and the use of different technologies for the metro and light rail projects.

The corporators had visited Japan in May this year to study development projects. They had also attended a conference on infrastructure development and conducted meetings with companies interested in the light rail project.