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PMRDA had offered to develop HCMTR free of cost: Zagade

By Abhay Khairnar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 31, 2020 07:26 PM IST

PUNE: The Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) had offered to construct the High Capacity Mass Transit Route (HCMTR) free of cost for the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). However, the PMC did not respond to this proposal, retired IAS bureaucrat Mahesh Zagade said on Friday.

In May, 2015, Zagade was appointed as the first CEO (chief executive officer) of the PMRDA.

In an interview on Friday he said: “When I was appointed as a Metropolitan Commissioner of Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA), I had proposed in writing to the municipal corporation and had offered to execute the HCMTR through the PMRDA. The PMRDA had offered to develop the HCMTR free of cost but the municipal corporation did not respond,” he said.

A former Transport commissioner, Zagade had also served as Pune municipal commissioner. He stressed that the High Capacity Mass Transit Route (HCMTR) should be executed urgently without wasting much time. He blamed the civic administration for failing to execute this project since 1987 when it was planned for the city.

The HCMTR was originally planned in 1987 as an elevated inner ring road of 35.96 km with six lanes including two dedicated lanes for the BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit System). Recently, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar advised the civic body to reduce the width of the HCMTR from 24 metres to eiht metres and reserve it exclusive for public transport. Last year, it was estimated to cost Rs, 6,000 crore.

Zagade pointed out that as per norms, the city needs 15 per cent of its land under roads but Pune has just six per cent land under roads. Even the Development Plan (DP) for the city has earmarked just nine per cent of the total land for roads and due to poor execution of the DP, only six per cent of the city’s land is under roads, he noted.

He blamed this poor planning and execution for the acute traffic congestion in the city. He said the 24 metres width of the HCMTR had been envisioned by civic planners in 1987 while keeping the future needs of the city in mind. The administrators failed to convice elected members on the need to execute the HCMTR with priority, he said.

The former bureaucrat said that ideally the civic body should suggest a financial model for the project. “Nowadays, land monetisation is going on every where in the country in government projects and it is possible to initiate land monetisation in the HCMTR project. The PMC should think about it,” he said.

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