Pune on my mind: HCMTR with elevated inner ring road is PMC’s top priority, says Saurabh Rao
According to Rao, Pune won sustainable transport award because of commitment to all sustainable transit modes, particularly growth in pedestrian infrastructure. It has become a leader in India’s transition to electric mobility by procuring 150 e-buses.Updated: Jul 08, 2019, 14:44 IST
As the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) chief, my focus is to address key subjects that would make life easier for the citizens. This begins with understanding our city’s challenges and identifying ways to resolve them by adopting an integrated approach; that is, working in tandem with all agencies and coordinating between departments for increasing operational efficiency.
The PMC has proposed elevated High Capacity Mass Transit Route (HCMTR) alignment in Pune city with an Elevated Six Lane Inner Ring Road (two lanes dedicated to the BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit System) and four lanes for motor vehicles) connecting Bopodi -Savitribai Phule Pune University Junction - Paud road - Satara road-Kondhwa road - Solapur road -Ahmednagar road - Vishrantwadi (total length 35.96km).
The HCMTR will serve to decongest the existing situation and increase the speed of vehicular traffic. A two-way BRTS has been proposed on the HCMTR in order to strengthen existing and new public transport, thus meeting the goal of mobility of people and not merely vehicles as was set by the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP). The HCMTR project is an ambitious and important project from the overall sustainable transportation point of view.
In 2015, the city launched the Rainbow bus rapid transit (BRT) system. Today, the corridor runs over 39km, serving 1.20 lakh people daily through the PMPML buses in Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Pune Metropolitan Region. The Rainbow BRT has high-quality and best-practice design features, and has obtained more than 12% of its ridership from other modes, primarily private cars. The plan is to expand the BRT corridor by 90km by the end of year.
Pune won the sustainable transport awards because of its commitment to all sustainable transit modes, particularly the significant growth in pedestrian infrastructure. It has become a regional leader in ‘complete streets’, in which streets are designed for all users, rather than only for cars. PMC plans to increase the coverage of complete streets by 20km in the coming year. Additionally, Pune has retrofitted 15km of footpaths along streets to give pedestrians safe passage and plans to expand these by another 35km.
Maharashtra government has the ambitious vision of deploying 5,000 electric buses across urban centres and Pune has become a leader in India’s transition to electric mobility by procuring 150 e-buses. By the end of 2019, PMC aims to add another 350 electric buses and 400 CNG buses in the PMPML fleet to grow the fleet to 2,500 buses by 2019.
Earlier this year, the chief minister inaugurated a plan to develop a world class Multimodal Transit Hub at Swargate (through PMRDA) and the work has already begun in full swing. Once completed, this hub will have multiple modes of transport including metro, inter-city and intra-city buses as well as rickshaws for last mile connectivity.
The PMC and Pune police are working together to resolve several issues, including traffic congestion, and a new model to resolve the issue of encroachments in order to ease traffic congestion in the city. We have planned a drive to decongest 100 identified locations in various parts of the city, which regularly witness traffic jams, by undertaking an anti-encroachment drive and removing vehicles abandoned on the streets.
The PMC is working on making the city clean and under the Swachh Survekshan programme, the civic body has begun work towards increasing efficacy, while also emphasising on the role of residents towards the goal. A massive social media campaign to spread awareness and encourage citizens’ participation has been launched and our conservancy staffers can be seen cleaning the streets meticulously day and night. Garbage vans can be seen collecting trash late in the afternoon. The solid waste management department has started a toll free number and it is ready to provide the service of lifting debris to avoid illegal dumping in the city.
Pollution abatement of Mula-Mutha river
Under the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) through JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) funding, 11 new Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) will be added and 4 intermediate pumping stations of existing treatment capacity of 477 MLD will be supplemented with additional treatment capacity of 396 MLD.
The objective of this project is to improve water quality and river ecology as well as stoppage of pollution of the Mula-Mutha river by intercepting, diverting and treating the domestic sewage being discharged into the river. Another aim is to tackle the non-point sources of pollution to improve the hygiene of the city and the surrounding areas as well as the aesthetics of the river front.
24x7 water supply
Another ambitious project is the implementation of the 24X7 water supply project which will ensure safe and equitable water supply to the entire population in Pune city for the next 30 years and curb illegal water connections. The work has started on ground and is going on in Baner which has been identified as one of the areas under Smart City.
Pune has a lighthouse programme run by the PMC in partnership with Pune City Connect to empower and up-skill disadvantaged younger people so that they can pursue a meaningful career. There are currently five operational lighthouses. 6,500 students are enrolled in the lighthouses, of whom 2,000 students are already in employment. Pune has plans to double the operations within the next two years. The lighthouse programme is unique in that it is not just about getting a job, but starts with a change in self-image, and enables resilience and leadership in its students. The project has been recognised globally through New Cities Foundation and felicitated with the prestigious ‘Wellbeing award’ under the category of economy and opportunity.
The digital empowerment and education programmes running under the same partnership has impacted over 50,000 citizens: 40,000 have been trained in digital literacy and many students impacted through the ‘Sahyogi Dal’ programme working in 180 PMC schools.
Besides, Pune is attracting many international agencies to pilot their projects, and has collaborated with pioneering organisations and government bodies across the world to bring the best know-how to the city. Some of these partnerships include, the United Kingdom-India Partnership, the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) project by The Rockefeller Foundation and the Urban95 initiative for Child & family friendly Pune city.
The Measles Rubella immunisation campaign was started on November 27, 2018, with a coverage target of 8.25 lakh children from 9 months to 15 years of age. The PMC stood first in Tier-1 cities and third in all cities across Maharashtra, in completing 100% of the target in the Measles Rubella immunisation campaign.
The PMC has expedited the process for construction of 6,264 approved houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) scheme on reserved municipal plots for urban poor housing projects in Khadki, Hadapsar and another area. Leading builders, developers and their associations were encouraged to promote the PMAY PPP Scheme and PMC received 15 proposals from private developers under the PPP scheme for construction of around 10,000 houses. Of these, 8 projects of 6,000 houses got sanctioned from the Central and State committees under PPP model. The target for the financial year 2019-20 is 21,000 houses through the Credit Link Subsidy Scheme (CLSS).
While there are many projects that have borne fruit and others that are under process, a lot remains to be done. Our effort will be to speed up the pending works. I am privileged to get an opportunity to lead this vibrant city as its Municipal Commissioner and my primary responsibility is to serve the citizens of Pune. It is my sincere endeavour to do so, to the best of my ability.