Much irony, little ecstasy: Punekars react to city’s Ease of Living index ranking
PUNE On the day Pune was adjudged to be the second most liveable city in country, residents grappled with long traffic jams and increasing pollution in the peth (old city) areas. The irony wasn’t missing.
While residents and activists welcomed the ranking, they raised a question over how it was done and said the ground situation is different.
Activist Vivek Velenkar said, “We are facing many issues in the city and even raising it regularly. We must get the details about the sample size of this survey and from which locality people have given responses.”
“For Punekars, the slow progress of various infrastructure projects, air pollution, traffic jams and absence of a robust public transport system, have been top of their minds,” said Velankar.
Rajya Sabha MP from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Vandana Chavan, also an environmentalist, said, “It is our common experience that whenever Pune gets any top ranking, the administration becomes lazy. Whenever we raise a question, they either point at other cities, or claim that we got appreciation from the government. The ground situation is different and there are many issues in the city.”
In 2018, when Pune was ranked first in the Ease of Living Index, many were surprised.
Activist Vijay Kumbhar said, “The survey may have been conducted only in smart city areas. Doing some basic infrastructure does not make us a liveable city. If someone took a walk on the city’s roads, there would be no need to give any answers. They can see the situation of footpaths, traffic, garbage and many other issues.”
Retired civic officer Deennath Patil said, “I worked with big corporates and during my service, lived in almost all the metro cities. I can confidently say that Pune is much better city. I preferred to settle down in Pune after retirement. Pune’s climate, culture, and civic sense is much better. It is true that there is scope to improve, but when we compare it with other cities, even Mumbai, Pune is preferable for many.”