Incomplete underpass in Ramwadi leave Pune’s Ahmednagar road residents on ‘mishap’ trackpune Updated: Oct 11, 2017 16:53 IST
Slum encroachment left JNNURM to build only one lane of Pune Airport to Kalyaninagar underpass from Airport side on Pune - Ahmednagar road. (HT PHOTO)
Nine years after funds were received for the Ramwadi underpass on Ahmednagar Road connecting Vimannagar to Kalyaninagar, the project has not only remained a distant dream for area residents but has also turned into an accident-prone spot.
Financed under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the original cost of the project was ₹4.50 crores which has now gone up three times. What has also complicated the situation is the prolonged court litigation between the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Bharpaidevi Agarwal family who are occupying one side of the underpass.
On Monday, traffic congestion in the area further worsened due to road diversion caused by the subway construction work on the underpass on the Vimannagar side. Speaking to Hindustan Times, PMC’s Ramwadi underpass project head, Narendra Salunkhe said, “We have diverted the traffic on that subway for construction work on Airport side. Due to the land acquisition problem we have been unable to complete the project.”
Over the past many years, the incomplete underpass has become extremely dangerous for many due to the absence of another lane. Consequently, motorists have been forced to use just one lane to cut across Ahmednagar road and risk accidents.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, prominent citizen activist and convenor of Vimannagar Citizens Forum, Qaneez Sukhrani, said nearly 20 people have lost their lives and more than 60 accidents have been reported at the stretch over the years.
Conceptualised in 2008, the Ramwadi underpass was supposed to have been completed in 2013. However, the project has suffered inordinate delays because of land acquisition problems and court cases.
“People are losing their lives while commuting on the wrong side. The traffic police also hasn’t responded to the demand for closing down this one way which has become the reason for many fatalities and accidents,” said Ashish Jain, a commuter. He said that people have no choice but to enter the wrong side towards Kalyaninagar because of the ongoing construction work of the Ramwadi underpass.
Priyanka Magar, a resident of Kalyaninagar, said she has lost hope that the project will be completed soon. “ I have been hearing since 2015 that the project will be completed. I know nothing will happen,” said Magar.
According to Sukhrani, the traffic police did not shut the one way but continued to be a silent spectator to all the fatalities and accidents.