Pune’s Rs 76 crore sinking: What next?

Many projects like BRTS lanes, cycle tracks, subways and Intelligent Traffic System control room were pursued at high cost to the public exchequer, and then abandoned. HT offers a closer look at these neglected projects and hopes they are revived for public use.

pune Updated: Mar 12, 2018 12:40 IST
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,maharashtra,76 crores
The subway at Jungli Maharaj road in Pune wears a deserted look with shutters down.(RAHUL RAUT/HT PHOTO)
A view of the Nigdi-Dapodi BRTS lane at Pimpri in Pune. Inspite of the board suggesting that the work is in progress, there has hardly been any in the last few months. (HT Photo)
BRTS lane from Dapodi to Nigdi
PROJECT : Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) started the construction of the 12.5-km BRTS lane from Dapodi to Nigdi in 2012 under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The work is almost over after the issues concerning safety were sorted out. There were also issues regarding bus stop construction and alignment.
INVESTMENT : Rs 27.5 crore
RESULT : Activists had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in 2014 on the grounds that PCMC was not following safety measures while starting the BRT bus service. The court, however, ordered PCMC to start the bus service only after ensuring adequate safety measures.
ACCOUNTABLE: Vijay Bhojane, deputy engineer and spokesperson of BRTS department:
"It is true that there has been a delay in completing the BRTS stretch. But, it is mainly because the work for Metro rail is also going on at the same route and workers are finding it difficult to complete the safety work as well as erect bus stops. However, some activists approached court on the safety of the BRTS route, thus delaying it further. Now, with the help of IIT Bombay, we have sorted out the safety issues."
A view of the ‘Intelligent Traffic System’ at Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj parking lot, Swargate. (HT FILE PHOTO)
Intelligent Traffic System
PROJECT : The ‘Intelligent Traffic System’ project involved a central control room which was installed at Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj parking lot in Swargate. It received feed from 120 CCTV cameras. PMC’s five-year contract with a Kerala government undertaking, Keltron, was never renewed as unpaid bills soured the commercial ties between the two.
INVESTMENT : Maintenance bills for the fourth and fifth year of the contract, worth Rs 63.80 lakh remains unpaid till date.
RESULT : The equipment, including 120 cameras, now lie rotting in the dysfunctional control room in Swargate due to the soured commerce ties .
ACCOUNTABLE: Ramdas Taru, Superintending engineer, electrical department of PMC:
"No, the bill has not yet been settled. There has been nothing but paper trail from Keltron. No person from their end has come to discuss the matter. The cameras in the control room will be assessed after (and if) the bill - which includes their security deposit, running bill for fourth and fifth year and unprecedented damage cost - is settled. Whichever parts are usable will be handed over to us."
The subway at Jungli Maharaj road in Pune wears a deserted look with shutters down. (RAHUL RAUT/ HT PHOTO)
GM Bhosale Subway, Jungli Maharaj road
PROJECT : The subway was constructed by Avinash Bhosale group, Pune to help pedestrians navigate safely, reduce casualities on the road and also to bring down traffic congestion.
INVESTMENT : Rs 2 crore was spent on constructing the GM Bhosale subway.
RESULT : The subway has been shut for many years, now. The front area is used for parking two-wheelers. The iron gates of the subway are locked and so no one can use it even during peak traffic hours. The entrance is being used as a public urinal and the stench is unbearable. The structure is lying unused now.
ACCOUNTABLE: Srinivas Bonala, chief engineer (projects), PMC:
"There is less movement of pedestrians on this subway. The road is without dividers and pedestrians prefer to cross the road directly instead of using the subway. There are some maintenance related issues but PMC is planning to rent out the shops in the subway. Once the shops open, it will help increase safety in the subway."
Cleanliness is a far cry for this subway at Swargate in Pune. (RAHUL RAUT/ HT PHOTO)
Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe subway, Satara road
PROJECT : The Satara road is busy with heavy vehicular traffic and also because of the ongoing BRTS project. For the convenience of the pedestrians, this subway was built near Lakshmi Narayan Talkies on Satara road.
INVESTMENT : Rs 2.5 crore
RESULT : This subway has become a den for illegal activities. It lacks cleanliness and proper lighting.The absence of approach roads and security guards is making the matters worse. It is also used as a public urinal. The residents have taken the step to close down the subway at night to curb illegal activities. Several liquor bottles were found lying at the subway entrance which is dangerous for the commuters.
ACCOUNTABLE: Srinivas Bonala, chief engineer(projects), PMC:
"The maintenance of the subway is done by regional ward office. I will soon have a word with the officers and will chalk out plans for cleaning and proper maintenance of the subway."
Jewellery making machines
PROJECT : The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) purchased Jewellery making machines in the year 2006 but they are lying unused till date. The Pune civic body’s intention was to train children from underprivileged families in jewellery making, which would empower them.
STATUS : The PMC spent Rs 10 lakh for purchasing the machines. A total of 25 machines were purchased and were kept at Swargate and were later shifted to Savitribai Phule Smarak at Bhavani Peth.
INVESTMENT : Rs 10 lakh
ACCOUNTABLE: Sanjay Ranjane, Chief of Social Development Department in PMC:
"The intention of purchasing these machines was good but due to various reasons they were not put to use. The PMC did not get expert teachers for teaching the course as this business is focussed in Mumbai. The PMC tried to tie up with some other institutes for training but met with little success. Finally, the department has proposed to handover these machines to the Savitribai Phule Pune University which is running the same course for their students. The proposal is pending with the Women and Child Development Committee of PMC."
Motorised vehicles use the cycle track on Satara Road, in Pune. (HT PHOTO)
Cycle tracks across the city
PROJECT : During the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) project in 2008, dedicated cycle tracks were also built on major roads. PMC claims that a total of 125km tracks were built on Ganesh Khind Road, Karve Road, Satara Road, Paud Road, Sinhgad Road, Deccan College Road, Vishrantwadi-Airport Road, Law College Road, Dr Ambedkar Path, Old Canal Road, Solapur Road and Sahstrabudhe Road.
INVESTMENT : Approximately Rs 40 crore was spent on construction and maintenance
RESULT : Most of these tracks are hardly of any use now. There are many reasons including encroachments, broken tracks, usage of cycle tracks by other vehicles, attributing to this. Lack of proper planning and maintenance adds to the woes.
ACCOUNTABLE: Srinivas Bonala, chief engineer (projects), PMC:
"A new Pune cycle plan which includes a 470-km of separate track has been sanctioned. PMC will create the infrastructure, and operators would provide cycles and execute the scheme. The new plan will ensure proper cycle tracks and ensure availability of cycles. It will also help check footpath encroachment."
Over 80 boxers train at the boxing club at the Late General Arunkumar Vaidya Stadium in Bhavani Peth and(right) spectators watch a boxing fight. (HT PHOTO)
Late General Arunkumar Vaidya Stadium
Pune Municipal Corporation built the Late General Arunkumar Vaidya Stadium in Bhavani Peth in 1990. The project cost of the stadium was ~2.5 crores. Next year a boxing club was started, thanks to the efforts of the local corporator Ramesh Bagwe. The club gained popularity and more than 50 boxers started training at the venue.
When Bagwe became the state home minister in 2010, he provided funds for the stadium and an international quality stadium was built. It included one training, one international standard boxing ring, training hall, hostel facility for the outstation players and a multi-equipped gymnasium. The cost was around Rs5 crore and the facility was inaugurated by then Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. The new boxing hall was named as Lahuji Vastad Salvi Indoor Boxing stadium.
Vijay Gujar is the head coach at the facility and is connected with the club since its foundation. Currently, over 80 boxers train here and several of them have earned medals at the national level. 22-year-old Akshay Mare is one of the brightest player the stadium has produced. Akshay who lives in a slum area in Dattawadi, had won a national bronze in Guwahati, Assam and is four-time state gold medallist. Recently he won a gold medal in the All India Elite Invitational Boxing Championship in Kolkata.
The stadium is currently run by Pune District Boxing Association and all inter-school and district-level boxing tournaments are held here.
"We have now sent proposal for the renovation of the stadium, as the boxing ring is worn out. The mat and other facilities also need to be changed. We also need changing rooms for the girls, who come here for the tournaments. The new stadium will help us start professional boxing training," said Gujar.
Apart from boxing stadium, the complex has two lawn tennis courts, karate hall and citizens use the lawn for yoga classes. The gymnasium has been given to Lahuji Vastad Salve Pratishthan on lease for 99 years.

First Published: Mar 09, 2018 16:07 IST