Defective Pune metro passed, city’s quality life at stake

The way the skybus project was canned prior to the metro project, this time metro seems to gain ground on the basis of money involved and also the result will take about 2 decades to show off making this risk relatively easier on the calculation front for the ruling coalition.

Below is the data from an email forward, authenticity cannot be guaranteed by the author for the content.

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Dear Friends (pl forward this to as many and upload on your discussion groups)

JUNE 23: BLACK DAY FOR PUNE IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE!

1. PUNE METRO WITH ALL ITS SERIOUS FLAWS IS PASSED IN A HURRY BY THE RULING NCP-CONGRESS COALITION
2. MNS VOTES AGAINST THE PROPOSAL. SHIV SENA STAGES A WALKOUT, PROTESTING AGAINST HIGH-HANDEDNESS OF NCP-CONG IN NOT EVEN CONSIDERING VALUABLE SUGGESTIONS MADE BY EXPERTS AND ITS OWN STUDY. IT SUBMITS ITS OWN SUPPORTING DPR TO THE HOUSE
3. MAYOR LOCKS UP CITIZENS’ GALLERY, NCP’S FORMER MAYOR RAJLAKSHMI BHOSALE SUPPORTS THIS MOVE
4. OPPOSITION LEADERS ANILBHOSALE, SHAM DESHPANDE AND KISHORE SHINDE TAKE UP CUDGELS FOR CITIZENS, MAYOR FORCED TO OPEN THE GALLERY FOR CITIZENS
3. MAYOR REBUKES ME FOR HAVING BROUGHT HANDYCAM INTO CITIZENS GALLERY AND VIDEOGRAPHING DESPITE THIS BEING PERMITTED UNDER THE RTI ACT

While the Chhatrapati Shivaji Hall is an epitome of democracy where crucial decisions of the city are made, June 23 was a black day, wherein the NCP-Congress whose ego was at stake to bring in the Pune Metro project, never mind the serious flaws in it, voted for the proposal.

Tall talks by NCP leaders of FSI 4 not be passed proved to be otherwise as the proposal was passed with that intact – which would mean tremendous pressure on the civic infrastructure as by giving such FSI 500 metres on either side along the route, 20 odd lakh more people can be accommodated. Similarly, elevated metro for the Vanaz-Ramwadi corridor was voted for despite it being the lowest priority corridor for which public money of Rs,3,000 odd crore will be spent to carry 7 per cent passengers by 2031(as per the DPR made by the DMRC). We must remember that metros in other cities have not kept up to the estimated passenger capacity due to choice of wrong corridor. In Chennai, the metro was designed for 6 lakh people and 10 years down the line, barely one lakh use it. Besides badly chosen corridor, the maintenance of the metro stations is so filthy that people do not like to patronise it. Despite the glorious compliments to the Delhi Metro it continues to be a white elephant. Can our PMC afford to cope with losses? Besides, serious flaws, errors, vague and even false information in the DPR made by the DMRC for the Pune Metro for which the PMC spent two crore rupees of public money, the NCP-Congress leaders were adamant not to even consider suggestions made by city experts.

In sharp contrast, Shiv Sena and MNS showed maturity and respect for peoples’ money and sentiments and acknowledged the research done by leading railway and civil engineering experts, architects, town planners, urban designers, former senior bureaucrats and leading industrialists. Speeches made by Sham Deshpande of the Shiv Sena and Mukta Tilak of BJP (although BJP voted for the proposal) aired apprehensions if the project was implemented as it is. Deshpande rued that despite shocking inadequacies pointed out by these experts, the ruling parties arrogantly are not taking cognisance. He said he himself also studied the issue and found that indeed the present form of the Pune Metro Plan is detrimental to the city.

BJP leader Prakash Javadekar has taken strong objections in the hurried manner in which the NCP-Congress has steamrolled the Pune. He stated yesterday, “We are all for the project, but the manner in which the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leadership are going about it, leaves a lot to be desired,” he told mediapersons in Delhi.
Javadekar said the NCP leadership talks of holding broad based all-party consultations and is hurrying through various decisions at the level of the PMC. “Unless, there is a broad consensus on all the over-arching issues like the consultants for the project, the sources of financing and the repayment route of the borrowed funds, there is no point in taking decisions,” he said.
The BJP leader said that the project will a basic need of urban infrastructure. (this news item has appeared in DNA today).

At the outset, the Mayor high-handedly locked the citizens’ gallery and the security told us in no uncertain terms that the citizens are today banned from witnessing the proceedings of an issue which has been creating a storm in the city since the last two or three months. The gallery being on the third floor we ran helter skelter (up and down) to ensure entry. Finally, we came to the door from where PMC officials have the privilege to enter. I had a minor argument with the police officer there who insisted we sit on the sofas outside and he will do the needful. Realising that he was just trying to pass time, I demanded that he call the Mr Shirole and Mr Deshpande out. He sent one of him men inside. At that time, shocked by this attitude of the Mayor, Anil Shirole, Sham Deshpande and Kishore Shinde had a major argument with the Mayor of this mockery of democracy. Finally the Mayor relented and the security opened the gallery. Since many citizens had come to witness it, the staircase was choc-a-bloc with people (I was getting scared of minor stampede) but all was well at the end.

I had got my handycam as the professional videographer ditched me at the last moment. When I pulled out the handycam for shooting, the Mayor shouted from below: “You lady in the red kameez, pl switch off your handycam.” Under the RTI Act, videographing of such meetings are allowed, in any case the tv channels were all there. Aba Bagul said “if you want to shoot, then go to the press gallery.” The Mayor asked the police officer to confiscate my handycam. Again it was Sham Deshpande who reprimanded the Mayor saying “whether emergency has been declared in Pune’ and finally the Mayor relented. They also asked the police officer not to take my handycam and asked the Mayor to ask the police to leave the citizens gallery as citizens have come to peacefully watch the proceedings. The police then left.

Friends, for the first time such a colossal project of Rs.10,000 crore is coming to Pune. PMC’s credibility is at a mighty low going by its implementation of the BRTS, sewage treatment in the rivers, cycle tracks, PMPML buses and so on. Now the mammoth Metro project has chugged through the first phase with BAD and HAPHAZARD planning all intact. We must not take this lying down. We must spread the word about the contents of the DPR, the elevated and the least priority corridor chosen which will run through congested arterial roads and which will be of minimum benefit to the city and the haphazard manner in which metro is coming here without transparency and without a sound financial model. Citizen pressure and voice is supreme so we continue to disseminate information so that citizens can make an informed decision.

Please forward this to as many people to let them know that all is not right with democracy in Pune city.

Vinita Deshmukh
convener,
Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan

Thank you so much for your support
warm regards
Vinita Deshmukh
Convener, PMJA
Girish Deshpande, Prashant Inamdar, Anand Agashe – co-conveners, PMJA

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