A toxic mix of a civic mess is the reality of life in Pune’s Hadapsar
PUNE In early 2000, when real estate was relatively cheap, property in municipal areas under Hadapsar was a must-buy, a quality life was believed to be on the horizon.
Today, Hadapsar is a toxic mix of traffic jams, garbage plants and water scarcity.
When the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came into power in the PMC in 2017, it promised to address all these issues. As its term now comes to end with civic elections lined up in February next year, most civic issues have remained unresolved.
Take for example, the Katraj-Kondhwa road widening. The PMC has missed its September 2021 deadline for completion of the Katraj-Kondhwa road widening project as work could not move ahead due to land acquisition issues.
Residents of Tilekar nagar, near the Iskcon temple along the Katraj-Kondhwa road, face traffic snarls every day.
The PMC planned to construct a 3.5-km Katraj-Kondhwa road between Rajas society chowk and Khadi machine chowk. The corporation planned three grade separators and two vehicle underpasses along the stretch. The foundation stone for the project was laid on November 2, 2018, in the presence of the then Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
However, the project hasn’t moved, and with heavy vehicles opting to use the same stretch and amid rapid real estate development, the traffic situation has worsened.
Vishal Dhumal , a 37-year-old and a resident of the Life Republic housing society said, “I need to travel through the Katraj-Kondwa road on daily basis. While purchasing my flat, I hoped that this road would be completed as the work had started. However, it hasn’t progressed.”
Smita Iyyer, who lives near the Iskcon temple and works as private tutor said, “It is very difficult to travel on this road. There is a lot of traffic and heavy vehicles. The PMC need to do it on an urgent basis.”
Umesh Gaikwad, a BJP corporator said, “In the last five years, the BJP carried out various development works. The Katraj-Kondhwa road was pending for many years. BJP members followed it and got work started. There are some issues of land acquisition and the civic administration is working on it.”
The NIBM annexe which currently represents one of the classic and premium neighbourhoods in the city faces several infrastructural bottlenecks which remain to be solved till date. The area is home to several prominent business establishments and residential societies lacks road infrastructure, drainage systems and a drinking water supply system.
Daljeet Goraya, director, NIBM Annexe Residents Forum, which is highlighting civic issues on a regular basis, said “The problems related to drinking water supply, good roads, street lights, rash and negligent driving, resurfacing of NIBM annexe slope, road dividers, public parks and footpaths are yet to be developed and constructed in the area. The area suffers the most and PMC is not bothered to look into infrastructure despite taking taxes. We are in talks with lawyers and contemplating of filing a PIL against the PMC administration for its callous attitude and neglecting the area for past 10 years,” he said.
While traffic is mess at NIBM and the adjoining areas, Hadapsar faces another problem with garbage depots. The entire city’s garbage is brought to this area for processing, resulting in a stink and other hygiene related issues.
“Instead of building plants at other locations, the PMC is erecting more processing plants at Ramtekdi,” said NCP city unit chief and local corporator Prashant Jagtap.
Previously, the PMC used to dump the unprocessed garbage at Urali where people staged a protest for years, forcing the civic body to look for alternate sites.
Hadapsar also has some major townships such as Magarpatta city where IT and banking firms have set up offices. Many IT professions purchased flats here to avoid congestion. While they may find it easier to reach office within the premises of the township, going outside however is a challenge due to heavy traffic and narrow roads.
Amol Tonpe, a 41-year-old resident of Magarpatta city and working with an IT firm said, “Our main issue is traffic. For the last two years due to lockdown, there was no traffic, but now life it is tough to cross this traffic. Even the road conditions are not good with BRTS becoming a joke.”
The PMC had created Swargate-Hadapsar as the Bus Rapid Transit System for public transport. However, since its inception in 2007, it has been in shambles. Despite spending crores of rupees on the BRTS stretch, the Pune civic body has not been able to make it functional. This isn’t the only problem as locals also face a water scarcity.
Rashmi Surana, a 36-year-old and living in Wanowrie and running her own business said, “We are facing a water problem regularly as there is inadequate supply.”
Criticising the PMC for the shortage of water, NCP’s Prashant Jagtap said, “Earlier, water from Hadapsar area was provided to Ahmednagar road residents. Now as Ahmednagar road gets water from the Bhama Askhed dam, it was expected that Hadapsar residents would get enough water. However, the PMC has not been able to manage it properly.”
Sachin Bankar, a youth from Hadapsar staying near the paragliding centre said, “There are more than 50,000 Guntewari homes that got constructed on small plots. The government order to regularise it came one –and-a-half year ago, but the PMC is not following the due process.”