PMC diverts ₹30cr from 7th Pay Commission for Katraj-Kondhwa road project
With the state government yet to release ₹200 crore for the Katraj-Kondhwa road widening project, PMC has diverted ₹30 crore of the civic body employees’ 7th Pay Commission funds to continue the works
PUNE As the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has not received ₹200 crore from the state government, it has diverted ₹30 crore of the civic body employees’ 7th Pay Commission funds to continue with the Katraj-Kondhwa road widening project work.
VG Kulkarni, chief superintendent engineer of road department, said, “We have spent ₹50 crore on road work excluding land acquisition. Now, we have ₹30 crore which we will spend on management consultant fees, compensation of land, and underground cable relocation. After that, we will need another ₹ 100 crore for road work.”
The Katraj-Kondhwa road is an arterial road linking Satara road to Solapur road. While the road sees heavy outbound traffic from the westerly bypass to Solapur road, it is only 15 to 20 metres wide and faces severe traffic congestion along the 3.5 km stretch from Kondhwa through Khadi Machine Chowk to Katraj junction.
In December 2018, a PMC-appointed contractor had started widening the road from the existing 15 to 20 metres to 84 metres. The project cost including goods and services tax (GST) was estimated to be ₹ 215 crores and the deadline for completion of the project was set as December 2021. However, the work ground to a halt last year as the PMC did not have funds to acquire land for the project. Thereafter, the PMC decided to reduce the width of the road to only 50 metres, down from the 84 metres proposed earlier as it was burdening the PMC coffers.
The PMC also approached the state government to provide funds for land acquisition. Now, that the state government has agreed to provide funds, the civic body has decided to resume the project after the rainy season.
In January 2023, PMC sent a letter and demanded ₹200 crore for land acquisition. There are a total of 150 landowners who have demanded cash compensation. However, the state has not released funds. So PMC diverted ₹30 crores from ₹130 crore fund allocation for the 7th Pay Commission of PMC employees in the annual budget 2023-24.
Sudhir Chavan, executive engineer of the PMC road department who is handling the project, said, “We are carrying out road work in patches where we got a piece of land from owners. Also, we are pursuing funds from the state government for land acquisition. We need a total ₹280 crore to acquire land. Out of which, the state will give us ₹200 crore and PMC will contribute the remaining amount.”
He said, “The stretch of 3.5 kilometres from Khadi Machine Chowk to Katraj Junction on Katraj -Kondhwa road is crucial one. If it is not completed, there is no use of the flyover on Katraj-Kondhwa road at Katraj junction as commuters will have to face bottleneck on Khadi Machine Chowk.”