#WhitherHCMTR Part 5: Pre-feasibility analysis of project must to decode its effectiveness, says Maj Gen SCN Jatar (retd)
Do you think that Ajit Pawar’s suggestion to keep the HCMTR open only for public transport is right?
I agree with deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s suggestion for the HCMTR project. The Development Plan of 1987 stated that the HCMTR is meant only for public transport, however, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) must carry out a pre-feasibility study to decide the type of public transport required, depending on the passengers per hour per direction, which is a measure of the capacity of a rapid transit or public transport system. Pre-feasibility will also analyse the project’s cost-effectiveness.
How do you view the suggestion of reducing the width of the HCMTR road from 24 metres to 8 metres?
The width of the road will depend on the traffic load, which will be obtained by carrying out origin-destination, classified vehicle counts and other traffic surveys. This will ultimately lead to the figure of passengers per hour per direction (PPHPD). If the PPHPD is up to 10,000, a BRTS is indicated. If it is between 10 and 15,000, a tram may be more cost-effective. Beyond 15,000, a metro should be the answer. These are only approximate figures and a proper survey can help decide if the road width has to be increased or decreased.
The project was first suggested in 1982, but has only been on paper since then. Do you think the administration needs to rethink the project?
The project has been delayed due to which the planning is now faulty. Earlier, the road was supposed to go around the city, now it passes through thickly populated areas. Land acquisition will pose to be a very big problem for the project and hence, a cost-benefit analysis is a must to decide if the project is still viable.
Do you think that the HCMTR project should simply be an extension of the ongoing metro works which will not only work as public transport, but will also be more efficient?
No, the HCMTR should be a separate project if found feasible, depending upon the commuter load.
HCMTR project is also facing opposition from environmentalists and citizens. What is your take on it?.
There is a lot of substance in what the environmentalists are saying about the project. In order to overcome their objections, the PMC did a rapid environmental impact assessment (EIA), which does not bring out all the aspects of how the road will affect the environment. The road is passing over or through hill tops, hill slopes and forest areas. It is necessary to cover all aspects such as tree cover, effect on groundwater and effectiveness of mitigation measures in the assessment report. Importantly, the EIA should cover a period of 25 years and the effect of development on environment.