Managing director of Maha-Metro exclusively for HT: Vision 2021 - Metro for Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad will be world class

For such a large urban conglomerate, with a population nearing 65 lakh, the need for an efficient mass rapid transit system (MRTS) needs no emphasis; therefore, the central and state government-approved Phase I of Pune Metro railway project in December 2016

pune Updated: Jul 02, 2018 16:38 IST
Pune,Maha-Metro,managing director
Brijesh Dixit, managing director, Maha-Metro . (Illustration: Shrikrishna Patkar)

Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad have waited long enough for the arrival of their Metro rail system to alleviate the severe problem of urban transportation they have been facing of late. While their dream is finally coming true, the obvious question that comes to mind is, what will that system be?

Maharashtra Metro rail corporation limited (Maha-Metro), the organisation entrusted with the responsibility of the implementation of this mega project, has chalked out an effective plan of action to ensure that Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad not only get a Metro system of international standards which is safe, reliable, environmentally friendly, comfortable and easily accessible, but is also an affordable means of urban transportation. The project needs to be completed by December 2021 within the sanctioned cost.

Present scenario

The twin cities - Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad - have a public transport share of below 15 % as against a global benchmark of 50% needed for a well-functioning city. Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad are the second largest urban conglomerates in Maharashtra and have grown at a rapid pace of 7.8 % per annum during the last decade.

Development of IT sector, boom in the automobile industry and rapidly expanding educational sector is the triad which is leading to this growth and they are one of the five top-ranking FDI destinations of India.

For such a big urban conglomerate with a population of nearing 65 lakh, the need for an efficient mass rapid transit system (MRTS) needs no emphasis. Realising this, the central and state governments approved Phase I of Pune Metro railway project in December 2016.

Project details

The route length of Pune Metro rail project is 31.25 km (26.23 km elevated and 5.02 km underground), divided into two corridors, i.e. from Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporation (PCMC) to Swargate (16.59 km); and from Vanaz to Ramwadi (14.66 km), with 30 stations and two car maintenance depots. The approved completion cost is Rs 11,420 crore. This is the largest single investment, thus far, in any public project implemented in the cities of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.

The construction of the project began in June 2017. The total physical progress achieved is 20% within the first year itself, which puts the project ahead of the schedule.

The total land acquired for the project is 82% with 100% of the government land being acquired. Maha-Metro is in the advanced stages to lock down the funding from international funding agencies like AFD France and European Investment Bank (EIB). Land acquisition, locking down funding agencies and appointment of consultants decide the progress of any project and we are well on the way.

Vision 2021

When one speaks about Vision 2021, it is for the entire urban complex of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. It also cannot be a vision for the Metro railway system as a standalone public transport system, but has to encompass suburban railway, PMPML, BRTS, NMT, right down to bicycles and pedestrians. The success of any Metro rail system entirely rests upon the improvements and integration of this entire public transport ecosystem.

State-of-the-art station development

A very distinct station architecture is being developed, fully reflecting the rich history, heritage, art, and culture of the great city of Pune.

The stations near industrial area will reflect industrial themes. Those near historical monuments will include that theme. The rich musical heritage of the city, including that of Bal Gandharva, the famous Marathi singer, will also be suitably included in the station design of the Chhatrapati Sambhaji Udyan Metro station.

Connectivity to the old city area of Pune will be through cable-supported pedestrian bridges across the river Mutha at Deccan Gymkhana metro station (Narayan Peth) and Sambhaji Udyan Metro station (Shaniwar Peth).

Multimodal integration

To augment the ridership of the metro in the city, Maha- Metro is working on providing multimodal integration on all stations. With the initiative of multimodal integration, Maha- Metro envisages fusion of road, metro, rail network, city bus, taxi and even auto-rickshaws and cycles, plying on city roads.

Seamless intermodal connectivity at important intermodal intersections such as Kasarwadi, Khadki, Shivajinagar, Civil court, Swargate, Deccan Gymkhana, PMC bus terminus, Pune railway station, Yerwada (with BRTS) and Ramwadi (with BRTS).

A multimodal transport hub is being constructed at Swargate to integrate MRSTC and PMPML bus depots, with the Metro rail and the other means of travel. Singapore is the best example for multimodal integration in the world. Maha-Metro has signed an MoU with the Singapore Corporation Enterprise and Temaseak Foundation International, in coordination with PMC, to establish a potential knowledge transfer between the organisations working on the multimodal integration of Singapore and Pune.

Metro will also be coordinating with other agencies like the municipal corporations of both Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, BRTS, PMPML, MRSTC, Railways and other integrations. Hence, all public transport modes will be in cognisance of each other’s operations and complement each other’s services.

Efficient, high-quality feeder service to provide first and last mile connectivity

Maha-Metro is also working to improve first and last mile connectivity, which will basically help transfer passengers to the nearest transit point which facilitates them for an onward journey. This will help in creating an efficient feeder system. Currently, the feeder services will consist of shuttle buses, mini vans, battery operated vehicles, Mahindra eSupro and mobike.

Green Initiatives

Maha- Metro has conducted an environmental impact analysis and has found that there is no severe impact on the ecosystem. Keeping in line with global trends, Maha-Metro is adopting numerous green initiatives like:

- Integrating solar energy from inception: Maha-Metro is integrating solar energy generation right from the project planning and design stage by installing an 18 MWp Solar PV capacity to meet 65% of its energy requirements making it one of the greenest Metro’s.

Connectivity to Airport

Pune Metro rail is not connected to the existing airport at Lohegaon. Maha- Metro is working to ensure that it will provide connectivity to the existing airport or to the new airport which is coming up in Purandar.

First Published: Jul 02, 2018 16:38 IST