BJP under pressure to deliver the promise of Metro Rail for Pune

पुणे Pune: Work on the much-awaited Metro rail project is likely to start in 2015 as the BJP, which won all the eight Assembly seats and the lone Lok Sabha seat in Pune, is under pressure to deliver on the promise of getting the proposed mass transport system on track. The party is in power at the state as well as the centre where the final approval is pending.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had submitted the Metro rail proposal for city in 2009. However, the project failed to take off owing to lack of consensus among political parties and environmentalists.

In February 2014, the centre gave its in-principle approval for taking up phase 1 of Metro rail project after NCP chief and then Union minister Sharad Pawar personally pitched for it. Phase I covers 31.5 km along two corridors that include 16.58 km from Pimpri to Swargate and 14.92 km from Vanaz to Ramwadi.

After the BJP came to power at the centre and the state, the demand for an underground Metro rail for the city has again gained momentum. “The government would soon hold a meeting of all stakeholders to finalise the decision on metro project,” Union Minister of Environment Prakash Javadekar said recently when he was in the city. The BJP has drawn flak after a Metro project for Nagpur got the green signal before the Pune project.

MP Anil Shirole said the work on Metro would start in 2015. “The Centre has promised to approve the proposal in the cabinet meeting. I have urged the government to approve the best Metro plan,” he said.

Janwani, a social initiative of MCCIA, has pushed for changes on the Vanaz-Ramwadi route seeking an underground stretch from Paud Phata to Yerawada.

It has also called for starting work on the Pimpri-Swargate route.

Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat said the state government would also seek faster approval for the Metro project from the centre so that the work could start in 2015. In Pimpri-Chinchwad, which is a major part of the Pimpri-Swargate route, officials and office-bearers are looking at the PMC to push the Metro plan. “The PMC is monitoring the project and as per our information the project is with the centre for final approval,” said PCMC chief Rajiv Jadhav.

Elected representatives of the civic bodies are supporting the project.

“We are in support of the Metro plan…the government and the experts have to implement the appropriate plan,” said MLA Laxman Jagtap.

Buses will speed on BRTS routes
In another development that promises to make travelling of Puneites smoother, both civic bodies seem to have activated all channels to push the BRTS or Bus Rapid Transit System. PMPML, the operating agency for BRTS, too has shown its readiness to implement the project in 2015 at least on a few routes in the beginning.

“If the civic bodies put in place the mandatory infrastructure, we will get the routes started in less than two weeks. It won’t take much time for us to put in place ITMS on BRTS routes,” said PMPML chief Shrikar Pardeshi. Both the civic bodies have collectively decided to start BRTS on at least four routes.