PMC’s drainage work to disturb footpaths built on JM, FC Roads - Hindustan Times
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PMC’s drainage work to disturb footpaths built on JM, FC Roads

BySiddharth Gadkari
May 29, 2023 12:43 AM IST

Pune Municipal Corporation plans to augment the capacity of stormwater drains along Jangli Maharaj and Fergusson College Roads to prevent waterlogging, but citizens and activists allege that the move will damage the footpaths redesigned by the civic body in 2018. As part of the redesign, the PMC spent over Rs72 crore ($9.7m) under the Urban Street Design Policy to develop carriageways, cycling tracks, footpaths, stormwater conservation, utility belts and parking spaces. The PMC will create chambers and lay pipes for rainwater drainage along the footpaths of J M Road and F C Road.

Five years ago, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had redesigned the city’s arterial roads including Jangli Maharaj (JM) Road and Fergusson College (FC) Road on the lines of Singapore’s Orchard Road and other such models. Since these roads witnessed flooding due to heavy rain last monsoon, the PMC drainage department has decided to augment the capacity of the stormwater drains along these roads’ footpaths to prevent repeat waterlogging this year. However, citizens and activists have alleged that the move will only serve to disturb (even damage) the footpaths of these roads that were earlier, so elaborately redesigned on the lines of roads in Singapore. The citizens and activists have gone to the extent of questioning why the PMC spent over Rs72 crores under the ‘Urban Street Design Policy’ on redesigning these roads in the first place.

Considered one of the better stretches in the city, the JM Road has a width of 2.4 kilometres and while the footpaths on either side have a width of 3.5 metres each. (HT FILE PHOTO)
Considered one of the better stretches in the city, the JM Road has a width of 2.4 kilometres and while the footpaths on either side have a width of 3.5 metres each. (HT FILE PHOTO)

The PMC plans to create chambers and lay pipes for rainwater drainage along the footpaths of J M Road and F C Road. Work will be carried out from Balgandharva Chowk to Sambhaji Udyan to Deccan bus depot. According to citizens and activists however, this will disturb the pedestrian and other facilities created along these roads as part of the redesigning exercise completed by the civic body in April 2018. Back then, the PMC had spent Rs14 crores on J M Road alone to develop a carriageway, cycling track, service road, footpaths, stormwater conservation, utility belt and parking. J M Road has a width of 2.4 kilometres and 24 metres while the footpaths on either side of the carriageway have a width of 3.5 metres each. The road starts at Jangli Maharaj Mandir and ends at Deccan PMPML (Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited) bus depot, and has been streamlined to dedicate spaces for different users.

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Executive engineer of the PMC road department, Dinkar Gojare, under whose supervision J M Road was redesigned, said, “J M Road has freshly manicured flower beds, a demarcated cycle track, and better lighting all along the road as part of the civic body’s bigger plan to make the one-way stretch friendlier to pedestrians and the physically challenged.”

“We have taken a lot of efforts to redesign the road. It was completed five years ago. The work included stormwater pipelines and chambers. As per the drainage department, heavy rain for an hour causes problems while draining out the rainwater which leads to waterlogging. So, they have decided to increase the capacity of the stormwater drain lines on J M Road. We have requested the drainage department to maintain the quality of the footpath,” Gojare said.

“We have also suggested to the drainage department to replace the existing cement-concrete lids of chambers with iron lids so that more rainwater is carried through the stormwater lines. The PMC has used cement-concrete lids because iron lids tend to be stolen. However, cement-concrete lids do not have as many holes as iron lids and more dust and dirt accumulates on these lids as compared to iron lids. They restrict rainwater passing through the chamber,” Gojare added.

Shridhar Yeolekar, executive engineer of the PMC drainage department, said, “The capacity of rainwater drains at Deccan Gymkhana, F C Road and J M Road will be enhanced to prevent waterlogging in this area. An estimated Rs5 crores has been allocated for this work. The tender process has already begun. The plan includes laying new pipes and constructing road chambers. The entire project is expected to take around six months to complete.”

“We will not work on the road. The work will be on the footpath from Balgandharva Rangamandir to the main gate of Sambhaji Udyan. We will just remove the tiles and place stormwater lines. It will not disturb the existing design and facilities on the footpath,” Yeolekar said.

V G Kulkarni, chief superintendent of the PMC road department, said, “J M Road is one of the roads which has had no patchwork and potholes since it was constructed. There was work carried out on the footpath but the carriageway has not been dug up. So, the quality of the road has been maintained for more than 25 years.”

“The drainage department will not dig along the carriageway. They will work on the footpath at five places to lay down stormwater drain lines. We have given permission to the drainage department to dig across the road to lay down 900 mm diameter, long, stormwater drain line from Kohinoor Hotel to Prayag Hospital, connecting to J M Road and Bhosle Shinde Arcade,” Kulkarni said.

Whereas civic activist Vivek Velankar said, “This is an example of bad planning. The PMC is giving guarantees that after this work, there will be no waterlogging. But how does the PMC propose to work during the monsoon? The work will help with waterlogging? It’s simply a waste of public money in the name of development work…”

Causes of waterlogging

· Damage to stormwater drains due to metro construction at Balgandharva Rangamandir, Sambhaji Udyan and Deccan Gymkhana

· Stormwater drainage capacity affected by cement-concrete lids on chambers

· Inadequate stormwater drainage on J M Road

Proposed work

· Four large chambers to be built on J M Road to drain rainwater

· 600mm diameter pipes to drain more stormwater

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