Your Space: Is Pune the most liveable city of India?
The survey is done by the central government and not any private agency, hence the claim carries more authenticity.pune Updated: Aug 26, 2018 17:21 IST
City’s development and improvement is a continuous process
Yes, we agree and are proud that Pune has been ranked as No1 in ‘Ease of Living’ index in the country’s first-ever report released by Union ministry of urban affairs. The survey is done by the central government and not any private agency, hence the claim carries more authenticity.
Pune has beaten every other city to top among the 111 best cities in the country. But if you see the scores, the winning margin is very less as compared to other cities. Pune scored 58.11%, while Navi Mumbai and Greater Mumbai scored 58.02% and 57.78% respectively. This shows that we have ample scope of improvement as well as development. We feel that development and improvement is a continuous process. A better planning needs to be done with respect to traffic management, besides solid waste management and garbage disposal.
We, as developers and proud citizens of Pune, accept the challenge and support in taking action for improvement in the system. We would like to work hard to get better score next time. Say, more than 75% which would make us No 1 in the real sense.
The report has taken into consideration vital pillars of urban development viz. physical, institutional, social and economic and has used 78 indicators across 15 categories of governance, identity and culture, education, health, safety and security, economy, affordable housing, land use planning, public open spaces, transportation and mobility, assured water supply, waste-water management, solid waste management, power, and quality of environment.
Are we living in the most liveable city of India?
Is the report by the ministry of housing and urban affairs the real reflection of the city? The ground reality looks much different. We can see the city is bearing large number of population and the civic body fails to provide basic facilities to them. We can see overflowing garbage bins that remain uncleaned for a long time, especially in areas like Kothrud and Karvenagar. Garbage is even burnt by residents in the open. The civic administration has failed to check ailments like swine flu, malaria and chikungunya. Our Mula and Mutha rivers are carrying untreated sewage and industrial effluents which resulted in decline in native fish species in the rivers. At the same time, our city do not have efficient public transport system, hence most of the residents are using their personal vehicles for commuting. If this goes on, the city’s air pollution will worsen. With our city facing these issues, how can one say that we are living in the most liveable city in India?
City getting top spot is a proud moment for us
Pune being termed as the most liveable city of the country as per the Ease of Living Index 2018 released by the ministry of housing and urban affairs is a proud moment for all of us. I think it is the first time Pune has achieved rank 1 in all India. Pune is renowned for education, and now our city will be known as the most liveable also. We have come a long way, however, we still have a wide scope of development and growth in future. Something is always better than nothing. We are on the way to become a smart city. Soon we will get the metro network and the dependence on public transport bus service Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) will reduce. We have achieved top rank in India, but that does not mean all is well in the city. Yes, there are certain problems and the civic body is struggling to sort it out. With the help of state and central governments, Pune Municipal Corporation will definitely maintain the speed of development in near future.
City’s public mobility is poor
I have lived here for over 30 years and stayed back because I like it. I have seen the city’s face change completely. It has developed at a neck-break speed. But here’s the thing, I have seen other cities and purely based on the fact that the public transport system is next to inexistent, I do not agree that Pune is the best city to live in. However, weather and education make it a great place to live in. But public mobility does not make it citizen-friendly.
Common citizens need basic facilities
While it’s important to acknowledge that Pune is well ahead of a number of cities in India and the smart city initiatives have truly pushed it up, but at the end of the day, common citizens need basic facilities like better roads and transport options, an area that the city suffers miserably. In that situation, I am not sure how liveable can this city be ranked then, because urban transport is one of the most important facets of being liveable. As the city is bustling with a young crowd of professionals and students, connectivity becomes very important. But, the lack of proper transport network of buses for instance, provides only two options, to own your own vehicle, mostly a two-wheeler or to depend on expensive cab and rickshaw service. The former then contributes to the larger problem of jam-packed roads, especially during the rains. More vehicles in the city is also the cause of mounting air pollution. With all this in context, how can the city still be ranked first in the liveable index?
Well, as a Punekar, it is good news to see our city ranked number one in the country, though it is a truth that everything is not hunky-dory in this city. The four parameters considered for the ranking are fulfilled by the city at 7 out of ten marks, and yes Pune is considered a city of pensioners where living is more convenient and comfortable. But still there are too many lacunae like increasing burden of population on the infrastructure, lack of good public transport, lack of readiness to follow discipline on the roads, and education has become too costly in the city. In spite of this, Pune has become number one because citizens have understood their responsibilities towards making the city green and to help for garbage disposal. And we should accept the ranking with humility and try to overcome the lacunae we feel we have. The ranking should prove a booster to the city and citizens to make it better in every way. The 69th ranking of Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) is very surprising as that area is quite planned and development is going on quite well. Unnecessary political clashes make that area very vulnerable. Public transport and water problems are also striking. So, though PCMC is ranked 69, the city can improve and better its ranking in the next survey.
Maya Hemant Bhatkar
First Published: Aug 26, 2018 17:19 IST