Pune metro project now headless!

पुणे Pune: In a major hiccup, the city’s ambitious Pune Metro project is now without any Officer on Special Duty (OSD). The present incumbent Shashikant Limaye has quit after his contract with PMC ended on April 30. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has failed to float the tender in time for the fresh appointment of an OSD.

Limaye’s departure from the project comes at a time when the PMC is racing against time to form the special purpose vehicle (SPV) to garner financial resources to kick-start the project. Limaye, one of the backbones of the project, was closely associated with the creation of the SPV. His sudden departure could delay the SPV formation. The retired Indian Railways engineer, who has vast experience, had closely worked with the Metro Man E Sreedharan on different projects.

PMC insiders said that the office of the Additional City Engineer (projects) had moved the file to the Municipal Commissioner’s office seeking permission to float tenders for the OSD appointment in the first week of March, when the Model Code of Conduct for the general polls was already in place.

So the file was sent back on the grounds that no appointments could be made that would violate the Model Code of Conduct.

However, civic activists have questioned the delay in the movement of the file.

“This shows how serious the PMC is about this important mass transport project. How can such an important project go ahead without an OSD. It displays the lethargy of the civic body,” alleged activist Vivek Velankar.

According to Velankar, the new OSD will surely take time to understand the nitty gritty of the project.
“I am apprehensive that the implementation of the project could get further delayed,” he said.

However, Municipal Commissioner Vikas Deshmukh said that civic officials are capable of managing the project without an OSD.

“The PMC could not have extended Limaye’s term for the second time as it was against the rule. Additional City Engineer Srinivas Bonala has been entrusted with the work of the OSD,” he added.

He also said that after the Model Code of Conduct is over, the tender for the appointment of an OSD will be floated.