‘Improving PMPML was never a priority for Pune’s politicians’
An analysis of civic data as presented in the Environment Status Reports over 20 years by HT has highlighted the stunted, 2.6 fold growth (162%) of the Pune mahanagar parivahan mahamandal limited’s (PMPML) bus fleet as against a 10-fold growth (895%) in the number of four-wheelers and five-fold growth in the number of two-wheelers (400%).
In an interview to HT, Nayana Gunde, chairperson and managing director of PMPML, has accused the city politicians of not prioritising the development of PMPML over the years.
“It is a fact that the fleet strength of PMPML is very weak in the city. Considering the current population of the city, we need a minimum of 3,000 buses. However, we only have 1,400 buses in our own fleet and additional 600 buses from the contractors. This has created a huge gap in the demand and supply of bus services in the city, which is causing inconvenience to the citizens,” she said.
What should have been the priority of the civic authorities was never prioritised by them, the senior IAS officer said.
She noted that as per the standard bus-population ratio, the city needs 50 buses per one lakh population. Considering this, the PMPML’s fleet strength should be 3,000 buses, she said.
“Both PMPML management and politicians have been consistently passing the buck to each other and are refraining from taking responsibility for the poor PMPML condition. While officials and politicians are busy in the blame game, citizens continue to suffer,” said Sanjay Shitole, secretary, PMP Pravasi Manch.
Blame game between leaders, civic admin continues
“It won’t be correct to comment on what previous ruling parties in the PMC have done towards improving the PMPML condition. However, it is a fact that PMPML development has always been neglected. Nevertheless, we are working to the best of our capacity to improve the services along with increasing the fleet strength. By 2019 end, we will have around 1,000 buses inducted in the PMPML which will be a game-changer in the history of the public transport in the city.” - Shrinath Bhimale (BJP), Leader of house in PMC
“It is unfortunate to witness the pathetic conditions of the PMPML buses in the city. On one hand, the fleet strength of PMPML is very less and on the other, the number of breakdown of buses has been on the rise. While civic officials continue to neglect the services, the PMPML management has failed to maintain the buses.” -Chetan Tupe (NCP), Leader of opposition in PMC
“The civic authorities were more keen on improving the civic bus services before the establishment of PMPML in 2007 as the leaders had more engagement in the decision-making process. However, now the entire process has become centralised. We don’t have any scope of giving our recommendations to the PMPML. Consequently, the state of neglect towards PMPML has only increased over the years.” - Arvind Shinde, Leader of Congress in PMC
Not only the current ruling party in the PMC, but previous local governments as well, have shown neglect towards improving the PMPML services. While the authorities have failed to increase the fleet strength of the PMPML, they have also not been able to maintain the existing services in good shape. Amidst their blame game, citizens are the ones who continue to suffer consistently.
Sujit Patwardhan, traffic activist and founder, Parisar
“Both PMPML management and politicians have been consistently passing the buck to each other and are refraining from taking responsibility for the poor PMPML condition. While officials and politicians are busy in the blame game, citizens continue to suffer.” - Sanjay Shitole, secretary, PMP Pravasi Manch.