Pune Metro to get PMRDA Push

Pune: The state government has planned a major role for the newly-formed Pune Metropolitan Development Authority (PMRDA) in executing the much-delayed Pune metro project.

Key state officials, who met informally on Monday and Tuesday to discuss steps to be taken to make PMRDA functional, concluded that the authority has to give top priority to traffic and transport issues in Pune Metropolitan Region (PMR) and must conduct a survey on these two city concerns immediately.

Pune’s guardian minister Girish Bapat, who heads the PMRDA, said he wants the new body to play a major role in building the metro project. Bapat said that the PMRDA is looking at integrating various transport modes to decongest Pune city. “There is a plan to complete the ring road as soon as possible and we are also looking for monorail and other modes that could be integrated with the proposed metro. Decentralization of population is a must to maintain quality of life in cities of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad,” said Bapat.

A senior civic official said that the PMC has already requested the state government that the PMRDA should play the role of a coordinator in the metro project and also invest in it so that Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad corporations do not have to entirely shoulder the project’s financial burden.

City MP Anil Shirole said the formation of PMRDA will facilitate integrated traffic planning for Pune metropolitan region. “The state government is positive about the integrated plan for Pune region. Metro or any other traffic and transport project must be planned for the entire region. We have to think of the big picture as Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad along with fringe villagers and municipal councils are heading to become an important urban conglomeration,” said Shirole.

Experts who participated in the meeting on the PMRDA insisted that the urban design of Pune metropolitan region should be consistent with the principles of National Habitat Standards for transportation. These standards have been made by the ministry of urban development to provide for compact, high density, mixed-land use development near new or existing public transportation infrastructure that includes housing, employment, entertainment and civic functions within walking distance of transit. Pedestrian-oriented design features have been advocated to encourage residents to use public transit. The Union urban development department has also taken on board the principles of integrated land use and transport planning.

State officials said that the central government is supporting the development of satellite towns and nodes around cities, and implement Regional Rapid Transit Systems to enable people living in the suburbs to commute to work, thereby easing the pressure on the infrastructure services within the city. The central government has a funding plan that envisages a mix of contributions from the Union and the state governments, loans from multi-lateral agencies and participation from the private sector.