Vision paper: Mohol, Dhangekar, More bat for better city traffic - Hindustan Times

Vision paper: Mohol, Dhangekar, More bat for better city traffic

Apr 17, 2024 06:10 AM IST

From traffic, garbage, employment to a separate airport, each candidate put forth his views and how to push these issues if elected in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls

The three main contenders for Pune Lok Sabha seat — Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Murlidhar Mohol, Ravindra Dhangekar of Congress and Vasant More from Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) — presented their vision for the city on Tuesday, touching upon various issues.

Sharing the dais, the three confident candidates criticised each other on issues they differed. (MAHENDRA KOLHE/ HT PHOTO)
Sharing the dais, the three confident candidates criticised each other on issues they differed. (MAHENDRA KOLHE/ HT PHOTO)

From traffic, garbage, employment to a separate airport, each candidate put forth his views and how to push these issues if elected in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Pune, with slightly above 20 lakh electorate, goes to polls on May 13 and the results will be declared on June 4.

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Sharing the dais, the three confident candidates criticised each other on issues they differed.

For the trio, Pune’s traffic situation remained their top priority as the city roads see over 43 lakh vehicles every day. Public transport, inadequate water supply, projects like metro, and airport also were also their prime concerns. Dhangekar stressed on unemployment, inflation, and rising fuel and gas prices as key issues that he will speak up as an MP.

Incidentally, Mohol, Dhangekar and More are aware of pressing civic issues having served as corporators in Pune Municipal Corporation for multiple terms.

Dhangekar and More cornered Mohol over the ongoing riverfront project and proposed Balbharati Paud Phata Road (BBPP) plan in the city. The two projects are being opposed by some citizens and environmentalists. The two contenders said that the two projects are waste of money and could pose a risk to environment.

Mohol in his response stressed on carrying out developmental works without harming the environment.

Murlidhar Mohol (Mahayuti candidate)

Mohol said that Pune is one of the biggest cities in the country and yet has very poor traffic which he will take up on priority to resolve.

“I have decided to give priority to improving public transport in order to reduce private vehicles and improve traffic. The issue of outer ring road is also among the priorities I have set as it will reduce traffic burden on city roads,” he said.

There are currently two ring roads proposed by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSDRC) and Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) respectively.

Speaking on rising air pollution, Mohol said that during his tenure as mayor, he focused on introducing electric buses in the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) fleet.

“Earlier, the central government helped us to purchase electric buses. We will bring more such buses,” he said.

On strengthening air connectivity, Mohol said that the city needs a dedicated airport, which has been proposed at Purandar.

“As an MP, I will try my best to give priority to building the Purandar airport and strengthen the existing Lohegaon airport. I will also take steps to give railway connectivity from Pune to New Mumbai Airport,” said Mohol.

The BJP leader also plans to expand the Metro rail network in the city currently operational on two routes – Pimpri-Chinchwad to Swargate, and Kothrud to Ramwadi, with the third route from Hinjewadi to Shivajinagar under construction.

On the riverfront project, Mohol said, “The proposal was brought up by administration and cleared all technical approvals. The opposition need to speak about specific technical issues instead of making random allegations. I am of the view that there is no hurry to execute any project if the citizens have doubts. On the proposed Balbharati Paud Phata (BBPP) Road plan, we have instructed the administration not to execute it till citizens’ issues are addressed.”

“After all, development and environment can go together,” said Mohol.

Ravindra Dhangekar (MVA candidate)

Kasba Peth MLA Ravindra Dhangekar said Pune is grappling with multiple issues, including traffic, public transport, pollution and water scarcity. As a Member of Parliament (MP), he will focus on addressing these issues.

“We will definitely take steps to solve these issues. Since last 10 years, the BJP is ruling at the Centre, state and local levels. In every election, they used to speak the same vision, but nothing happened on the ground,” he said.

According to him, traffic issue is not a recent concern. “It was there since last many years. But these (BJP) people were not able to solve it,” said Dhangekar, adding his plan is to address the issue.

Dhangekar said Pune needed a separate airport, but the BJP could not do it.

“For last 10 years, the BJP has been giving big promises but what happened? We are discussing same things again and again. The BJP is claiming that everything that we see today has happened in last 10 years and earlier there were nothing in this country. There was everything in this country, but this government took credit for each,” he said.

“The real issues are unemployment, inflation, rising fuel and gas prices. We need to speak about that which I will do.”

The BJP had announced Smart City project in the city. According to Dhangekar, it was only limited to Baner-Balewadi area, but rest of the city was ignored.

“What happened with Smart City project and where has money gone?” he said.

Earlier, Mohol has spoken about medical college started by PMC in the city. Dhangekar said, “The funds reserved for medical college was transferred for drainage works by the BJP corporators. At the same time, there was a recruitment scam in the city.”

Pune city is facing drug issue. The safety of women is important, but what is the status of law and order in the city? Riverfront project is wastage of money. It is good to see on paper, but I appeal to citizens to visit the river which looks like a drainage.

Vasant More (VBA candidate)

Three-time corporator and former Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader who has decided to contest polls on VBA, Vasant More also presented his vision about the city.

In his remarks, More stressed on the works he carried out as a corporator in Katraj, the southern part of the city.

“I have done various infrastructure related works in Katraj area which I want to replicate all over the city,” he said.

Traffic, according to More, has been the biggest issue. He suggested that there can be multiple state transport depots in the suburban parts of city which will prevent ST buses entering in central areas.

“My suggestion is to start four bus stops of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) at four locations covering the city. It will help prevent ST buses entering the city. If we would allow buses outside municipal limits, traffic will reduce on city roads,” said More.

Pune is facing water problem. My vision is to erect separate dam for city’s water needs. There is an 1,800-acre land near Katraj Ghat. It is possible to erect a dam there which will help to provide water to many parts of the city.

More said his vision is to recruit dedicated officers for traffic and water departments.

According to the VBA candidate, Pune city faces a new challenge in terms of drug abuse. “Another big challenge is river pollution. PMC’s riverfront project will harm the city. If there are heavy rains, the city may face flooding due to the project. The sewage treatment plants are not working to its limits. Polluted water entering waterbodies located at the lower parts of the city is creating health issues. I would like to improve health system in the city. Recently, there was a rat bite case in Sassoon General Hospital that exposes the city’s health infrastructure,” he said.

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