Balbharti-Paud phata link road: Amid opposition, PMC to begin survey from Monday - Hindustan Times
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Balbharti-Paud phata link road: Amid opposition, PMC to begin survey from Monday

ByPrachi Bari
Jun 27, 2022 01:02 AM IST

PMC has proposed to begin ‘origin destination’ survey from Monday to establish why the proposed Balbharti-Paud phata link road is feasible

PUNE The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has proposed to begin an ‘origin destination’ survey from (today) Monday to establish why the proposed Balbharti-Paud phata link road is feasible amid opposition from residents and activists.

PMC building in Pune.PMC has proposed to begin ‘origin destination’ survey from Monday to establish why the proposed Balbharti-Paud phata link road is feasible. (HT FILE)
PMC building in Pune.PMC has proposed to begin ‘origin destination’ survey from Monday to establish why the proposed Balbharti-Paud phata link road is feasible. (HT FILE)

By starting the survey, the PMC proposes to take the first step to respond to the queries raised by the residents opposing the proposed road.

In an advertisement released by the PMC, an origin-destination survey will be carried out from June 27 to July 3 2022 between Dadhichi Chowk on Senapati Bapat Road and Athavale chowk on Chiplunkar road (Law College road).

The citizens will be able to participate in the survey and give their feedback online by responding to a questionnaire about whether residents are willing to use the proposed road, the frequency of using the existing Law College and Senapati Bapat road.

VG Kulkarni, department of roads, PMC, said, “The proposed road from Balbharti to Paud has been included in the development plan and we have a consultant EnviroSafe who proposed this survey. The consultant will also deploy a camera to carry out a physical survey from Symbiosis college on Senapati Bapat road till SNDT, on Karve road. As per the consultant’s idea, the survey will be done in two ways, one with the use of cameras and another online survey.”

According to Kulkarni, this survey is to determine the traffic on this road and how many people use it daily. “It will help us get an idea on the usage and the traffic on the road and whether this proposed road will be efficient. The week is enough to give us an idea,” he said.

The Balbharati-Paud link road was proposed 35 years ago by the civic body to help reduce chaos and traffic congestion on Law college road. The PMC has also made provision for it in its 2022-2023 budget.

The 2.1-kilometre road will be built between Kelewadi junctions on Paud road and till Balbharati office on Senapati Bapat road.

But the residents feel that this survey is not at all in favour of the residents nor of traffic. Activists alleged that there are several drawbacks to this survey and the online form.

The form has a few questions like what kind of vehicle commuters use, their willingness to use the newly proposed Balbharati to Paud phata road, and how many times a day commuters use Law College road and Senapati Bapat road.

According to Harshad Abhyankar, a member of the Save Pune Traffic Movement, there are problems with this form and the approach, in terms of this survey should be done using a statistically sound stratified random sample and not online forms or on-street surveys. “This form does not ask for the origins and destinations of your trips. So, it will not serve the purpose. It does not provide options to state your gender and age, so it won’t be possible to do a demographic analysis of the trips.”

According to Abhaynkar, the survey does not provide options to state whether you travel by bus or a bicycle. “Is this road intended to benefit only those who travel by cars and two-wheelers? In case you consider this online form as a valid way of conducting a survey, the form states that the distance between Balbharati and Kelewadi is 3.5 km, whereas it is 2.6 km as seen on Google Maps. Thus, the form presents a wrong picture of how much distance this road would save, which will distort the findings,” said Abhyankar.

The road project, first proposed in 1987, met with opposition from environmental activists who expressed a threat to the hills. Maj Gen Jatar (redt), of Nagrik Chetna Manch, had previously filed the public interest litigation (PIL), which the high court, later dismissed. While disposing of our public interest litigation, the high court asked PMC to conduct an environmental impact and a traffic-related study. The PMC formed a committee for the same in 2019. However, in October 2021, the members of the expert committee constituted by the PMC alleged that the civic body had violated the directives of the high court by deciding to go ahead with the project.

Residents feel that it is a waste of efforts in terms of time and money. “PMC continues to waste our taxpayer money on absolutely ridiculous surveys in their quest to justify one specific road in the city! The latest survey to hit the streets for the infamous Balbharati-Paud phata road is so pathetic,” (sic) tweeted Sumita Kale, a member of the Deccan Gymkhana Parisar Samiti, who is one of the people to oppose this proposal.

Participate in the survey

Origin destination survey will be done from June 27 to July 3 2022.

Conducted from Dadhichi Chowk on Senapati Bapat Road and Athavale Chowk on Chiplunkar Road (Law College Road)

Residents can participate in this survey online at http://bit.ly/balbharti2poudfata

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