THE MUCH-DELAYED BRTS route from Dapodi to Nigdi on Pune-Mumbai Highway has been postponed again. The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) had planned to make the route operational before January 26. Vijay Bhojne, in-charge of PCMC BRTS cell, said a IIT-Bombay team had conducted a day and night safety audit of the route and suggested some amendments. “We had implemented all the suggestions that were made earlier. This time, however, there were minor requirements, which we have fulfilled,” he said.
On the objections raised by PCMC Standing Committee Chairperson Seema Savale, Bhojne said, “The IIT-Bombay has approved the steps we have taken to ensure that the exit and entry of vehicles neither hampers the functioning of the route nor causes accidents. We have placed rumbler strips and will place wardens at the spot to ensure smooth flow of traffic.”
Savale had said that the entry and exit points on the route were dangerous. “There is a threat to the life of pedestrians and other road users on this route. Even if one accident takes place or one life is lost, I will be forced to file an FIR against the PCMC administration. This is because I have forewarned the administration that they should not go ahead with the route,” she had said.
Bhojne, however, said a report in this regard will be presented before the Bombay High Court on February 5. “We expect that the high court will give its approval and, soon after, the route will take off,” he added. Work on the BRTS route on the 13-km Dapodi-Nigdi stretch has been delayed by three years. The tender process for the route was carried out in 2013 and work orders were given in 2014. The PCMC and PMPML, which failed to get the route on track, have been under fire from commuters and activists in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Meanwhile, several activists in Pimpri-Chinchwad have also raised objections against the route. Activist Deepak Vichare said, “Just when we thought we have got wider and better roads and traffic chaos would no longer be an issue, the PCMC has shrunk the size of the roads by unnecessarily setting up BRTS. With Pune Metro work underway on the same route, there will be total chaos.”
However, the PCMC administration said it was determined to go ahead with the project. “We don’t have the authority to scrap the project. The chairperson will have to approach the appropriate authority in this connection,” Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar told Pune Newsline.
In the last three years, the PCMC has planned to launch the route at least four times and had to postpone it every time. The PCMC has contended that the delay has been due to the safety audit ordered by the Bombay High Court. A resident had approached the high court, which had asked the PCMC to take all safety measures before starting the route.
Accordingly, Bhojne said, “We appointed IIT-Bombay to carry out the survey and suggest safety measures. The PCMC has planned four BRTS routes. Currently, the Nashik Phata to Wakad route and Sangvi-Kiwale route are operational. PCMC claims both the routes have been successfully implemented.” “Not a single accident has taken place on this route in two years. this and other relevant facts have been submitted before the court,” he added.
PCMC claimed both Nashik Phata to Wakad and Sangvi-Kiwale routes have achieved major success in terms of ridership and revenue. While Nashik Phata to Wakad has seen a rise of 67 per cent in daily ridership and 43 per cent in revenue per month, the other route has seen a jump of 34 per cent in revenue and 38 per cent in ridership.
The fourth BRTS route from Kalewadi to Dehu is nearing completion but a portion of it has been stuck in land acquisition issues.