Mixed Metro Rail system for Pune: says Maharashtra CM

Pune: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday announced a “mixed metro rail system” for Pune, effectively seeking to put an end to the debate over whether the project should be underground or elevated. He also said that a third metro corridor would be developed between Shivajinagar and Hinjewadi.

“I recently had a discussion with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) chief. One should not be adamant about an elevated or underground metro. The project should be economically sustainable and feasible. We should have a mixed metro. The state government has forwarded the Bapat committee’s report to the Centre. I am sure that the central government will soon take a call on this matter,” Fadnavis said.

He was speaking at a function organised by the Marathi Bandhkam Vyavasaik Association, an apex body of Marathi developers and builders in the city.

Fadnavis’ statement essentially means that the state government will stick to the Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by the DMRC. The DMRC proposal for the first corridor (Swargate to PCMC) recommends that the metro be kept underground in congested stretches. It also recommends that the metro in the second corridor (Vanaz-Ramwadi) be kept elevated for the entire 14.925-km stretch.

City NGOs and activists have, however, been demanding an entire underground metro route for both corridors. By announcing a “mixed metro”, the state government has echoed the DMRC’s recommendations.

Pitching for a third corridor, Fadnavis said Hinjewadi has developed as an international IT hub with companies from across the world having branches in the area. “When I go abroad, people talk of the Hinjewadi IT park, saying they have an office there. But they are also quick to add that the area is congested and there are delays in commuting. It is feasible to have a corridor between Shivajinagar and Hinjewadi. I have asked (officials) to develop this route on the fast track,” he said.

Fadnavis also took a jibe at the delay over the implementation of the metro project in Pune when he said that Nagpur has already started construction on its metro and that the work would soon be completed there. “Pune is a city of intellectuals and hence there are debates and discussions. In our city (Nagpur), there are no debates and hence we have been able to move ahead,” he said.

The chief minister also took a potshot at NGOs, saying that those who are arguing for an underground metro have never used “metro (public) transport”. He said there is no paucity of funds in Pune, but the city lacks planning.

“The infrastructure situation in Pune is grave as there is a huge infrastructure deficit. The major issue is that of public transport. The metro issue was delayed but now the state is finding a solution,” Fadnavis said. “The state government is committed to developing Pune as an international city and the PMRDA will be the engine of growth.”