Abhay Chhajed(HT FILE PHOTO)
Abhay Chhajed(HT FILE PHOTO)

#WhitherHCMTR, part 3: Reduce road width, and we close future options for development, says Abhay Chhajed

Abhay Chhajed, a former city Congress president, argues how changing the width of the road now will impact the High Capacity Mass Transit Route (HCMTR) project in the future
Hindustan Times, Pune | By Abhay Khairnar
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2020 04:55 PM IST

Deputy chief minister and city’s guardian minister Ajit Pawar has advised decreasing the width of the road from 24 metres to eight. What are your views on the same?

If we reduce the width of the road from 24 metres to eight, it means we are closing the future options for infrastructure development. While undertaking such a vast project the authorities should keep in mind the future traffic needs of the city. The project was given a go-ahead in 1982 and the road width has been shown as 24 metres in the plan. Now, if we change the width of the road in the future there will be no scope for widening it.

The cost of the project will increase if the width of the road is 24 metres.

Cost of any infrastructure development project is always high, but if we compare it with the future costs it will be nominal. It is same as compared to buying a house. PMC is executing other projects like 24x7 water project which requires huge funds, so just on financial terms, we should not change the width of the road. We should also keep in mind the future traffic needs of the city.

How did the concept of HCMTR emerge in 1982 for the city?

The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had proposed a ring railway in Delhi in 1982. The town planners thought the same concept can be executed in Pune as they were in the process of preparing the development plan during the same time. As they were doubtful about the ring railway, they proposed HCMTR as a public transport model. At that time it was proposed as the outer ring road, but now by considering the city’s development, it has been modified to the inner ring road.

If the road width is reduced, as suggested by Pawar, what complications will the project face?

The project has already been delayed and now if any changes are considered, it will further delay the project. At least 70 per cent of land acquisition process has been completed by considering 24 metres as the width of the road. Now, if it is reduced to eight metres, then what will be done about the land which has already been acquired by the civic body?

What are your views on Neo-Metro?

In my view, any mode of transport on HCMTR is fine, as PMC is keeping eight-metre stretch reserved for the same. Whatever decision is taken should be done keeping in mind the future traffic needs of the city.

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