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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Unlike Bengaluru, Pune Metro must ensure multi-modal integration, says environmental activist

D T Devare (Subhash), who was among the citizen-activists to closely monitor the progress of the metro rail project in Bengaluru, spoke to Hindustan Times on the need for the citizens to be vigilant and monitor the project closely.

pune Updated: Oct 29, 2017 16:22 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
D T Devare (Subhash), environmental activist and senior HRD facilitator/ consultant.
D T Devare (Subhash), environmental activist and senior HRD facilitator/ consultant.(HT Photo)

An environmental activist and senior HRD facilitator/ consultant, D T Devare (Subhash), is a Punekar settled in Bengaluru. A trustee of Bangalore Environment Trust (BET), he was among the citizen-activists to closely monitor the progress of the metro rail project in Bengaluru. Devare spoke to Hindustan Times on the need for the citizens to be vigilant and monitor the project closely. Excerpts from the interview.

As a citizen-activist and a resident of both Bengaluru and Pune, what are your observations about the Namma Metro in Bengaluru? As we understand, it is the second-longest operational metro line in India today.

Namma Metro has built a good physical infrastructure and is running the services quite efficiently. It is carrying over 3.25 lakh people every day. I have personally found Metro as a fast, convenient mode of public transport. Metro is in the process of acquiring more coaches and once they become operational, the ridership will go up further.

Last-mile connectivity to Namma Metro stations is not adequate. A lot of work is in progress to improve the same but the current situation is far from satisfactory.

Enough attention has not been paid to Inter-modal integration. For example, the process of transfer from the Bangalore main train station to Metro and vice-versa is not smooth.

Namma Metro has not been transparent. For a considerable period of time,DPRs (Detailed Project Report) of on-going and future projects were not uploaded on the Metro’s web-site.This was done recently after a lot of public pressure and intervention by MPs.

What are the issues of concern for Pune arising out of the Bengaluru experience?

DPR for Pune Metro has considered vehicle population data of 2007 in PMC and PCMC.It has estimated vehicle numbers for years 2011,2021 and 2031.

The actual number of two wheelers and cars registered in PMC and PCMC in 2016 (as per Environment Status Reports) is already more than the figures estimated for 2021.

The first question is: Should a project involving an expenditure of ₹11,420 crore be implemented on the basis of data which is out-dated, especially because the actual number of vehicles in 2016 itself has exceeded the number estimated for 2021(five years later)?

With regards to multi-modal traffic integration and land use, the experience in Bengaluru has been disappointing. If multi-modal integration does not happen properly, benefits of Metro will be much less than their potential. In response to RTI applications, Pune Metro has said that it has no information about how this integration will happen. The concern therefore is who will take accountability to implement the integration to achieve the full benefits of Metro.

Since April 2017, I have filed multiple RTI applications to Pune Metro. For many questions, the reply is “This information is not available”. For a few questions, the replies are sketchy.

There is widespread opposition from town planners and city NGOs such as Janwani to the 4 FSI proposed for 500 metres of land on either side of the metro corridor. What are your views on the 4 FSI proposal?

With regard to the 4 FSI proposal, three questions come to mind: Is the success of Pune Metro dependent on densification to get adequate ridership? If yes, does it mean that no demand exists currently but has to be created to make the Metro viable?

Secondly, for densification along the Metro corridors, several roads may have to be widened leading to a massive loss of green cover. There may be a lot of concretization along the entire stretch around Metro resulting in increased temperature. Has anyone examined all the implications?

Thirdly, who will be the real beneficiaries of densification? Citizens or builders?

It is therefore absolutely necessary to carry out a very detailed Environment Impact Study of this Densification proposal before starting any work on it.

First Published: Oct 29, 2017 16:22 IST