Pune: It is the practicality of the current situation that may keep Pune’s metro above the ground. Amid a chorus for an underground Vanaz to Ramwadi corridor, the state-appointed committee on Pune metro is inclined to take forward the project based on Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) report.
The hurdles and subsequent time it would take to prepare a new plan would be a setback and derail the project from the central government’s radar and other cities may win the race for central funds.
Earlier this month, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced a committee to look into an alternative alignment for the Vanaz-Ramwadi route — the second corridor. The committee has to submit its report by the second week of April.
Committee chairman and guardian minister Girish Bapat said the committee has met several times and is in the final stages of preparing a draft to submit to the state. “Once the report is submitted to the state government, we will announce the committee’s recommendations,” said Bapat He did not elaborate.
However, state government sources and senior members of the committee told that most of the committee members agreed that the Pune metro project must not be delayed any further.
“There is a demand for an underground metro. But if this demand is accepted, a new Detailed Project Report (DPR) would be required. Also the state and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) will have to shoulder the additional financial burden for an underground metro. The committee is inclined to take forward the project based on DMRC report which recommends an elevated metro. Let the DMRC report be submitted to the central government and then we can always make some changes,” a senior committee member requesting anonymity, said.
A new DPR will take another three-four years and by the time Pune gets one, other cities will run away with a big chunk of central funds, he added.
The panel is working on financial details. Economist Vijay Kelkar, a committee member, will meet other members this week. “We need to discuss financial details of the elevated and underground metro with Kelkar. The report will be completed once he gives his observations,” said a committee member.
Fadnavis has already announced that the state government will immediately approve and start building corridor I of the metro, which would connect Pimpri Chinchwad and Swargate.
The committee, under the guardian minister, was to study an alternative alignment for the corridor between Vanaz and Ramwadi. Some civic groups and organizations want this corridor to be built underground.
“The state government will have to redo the entire DPR. The surveys incorporated in the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) report are based on the 1997 report submitted by RITES. There is no scientific background to the DPR and the state government must not start work on any corridor without a detailed study. It would be a waste of the taxpayers’ money,” said urban planner Aneeta Gokhale Benninger.