Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) administration, citing feasibility issues, has been opposing the poposed light rail transport (LRT) project from Shivajinagar to Hinjewadi. Corporators in the civic standing committee on Tuesday went ahead and gave the nod to the project and sought finaces from the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) for the project.
There has been demand for a mass transport service on the 21.6 km route connecting Shivajinagar to Hinjewadi. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) prepared a detailed project report for PMC. The civic administration referred it to the metro cell for a feasibility study.
“There is dire need of a mass transport service from the city to infotech park in Hinjewadi as lakhs of citizens travel everyday to the park for job. The existing public transport system cannot cater to the need and many travel by private vehicles leading to traffic chaos,” said Bapu Karne, chairperson of the standing committee.
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There was need for a mass transport system to Hinjewadi and to discourage citizens from using their own vehicles to resolve the traffic situation, he said., “The civic administration had not given any favourable opinion on implementation of LRT citing technical and financial feasibility. However, the civic panel, considering its necessity, urged the administration to make changes in alignment of the route to remove technical problems and resolve financial issues with the help of MIDC.”
The JICA report proposed 20 elevated stations and 3 at road level on the 21.6 km route for the train that would run at 80 km per hour between Shivajinagar and Hinjewadi. The estimated cost was Rs 5,769 crore.
Municipal Commissioner Vikas Deshmukh said, “Only 6 km of the proposed 21.6 km stretch comes in PMC jurisdiction while the rest is in Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) and MIDC areas. It is not possible for PMC alone to take a decision.”
“We understand the limitations of PMC in taking financial responsibility. Therefore, we have asked the civic administration to take up the matter with MIDC and get the project on track,” Karne said.
The metro cell submitted a report saying LRT is planned to be elevated in most places and at road level at some places. The road plan is not feasible on the stretch proposed in view of the prevailing traffic situation in the city, as the LRT would add to the problem, it said.
The project report had plans of a station at S G Barve chowk in Shivajinagar but considering a grade separator and other infrastructure there, it’s not possible the report said. Also, it pointed out flyovers on Ganeshkind Road that would pose a problem with an elevated LRT on the route.
Another hurdle was that operational differences between LRT and the proposed metro rail would increase cost of running and maintaining the two systems for the PMC .
“The standing committee asked the civic administration to change alignment of the proposed route to get rid of technical problems,” Karne said.
Expressing reservation about the project, the civic administration said LRT will cost Rs 270 crore per km while for the same route for metro it will be Rs 216 crore per km. Civic activist Jugal Rathi said there should be an integrated approach to resolve the public transport issue. He said too many services would lead to further traffic chaos.