The green signal from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to the formation of the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA) is culmination of an idea floated four decades ago, said civic officials who hope it would help the Metro rail project and the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) to progress fast. The reason, they say, is that PMRDA will have overarching powers to play a role as a common planning and execution platform which would prevent overlap in plans or friction between planning authorities of contiguous civic limits. The PMRDA is expected to make project implementation easier, smoother and faster.
PMRDA was mooted in 1976 when the regional plan (RP) of Pune was drawn up. The town planning department floated the idea to ensure systematic development of the region.
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The aim is to ensure smooth implementation of the Regional Plan (RP) especially in rural areas, according to Ramchandra Gohad, the former civic body town planner. “The rural areas of the district come directly under Pune district collector. The collector’s office does not have adequate staff like municipal corporations or municipal councils do to effectively prevent unauthorised construction. An apex planning body like the PMRDA would be helpful in filling this deficit,” he said.
Although the RP got he sanction in 1976, the government failed to take steps to form the apex planning body for the district. “In 1997, the RP for Pune was revised and the then Shiv Sena-BJP government passed a resolution in 1999 to form the PMRDA,” Gohad said.
The PMRDA would have jurisdiction over municipal corporations of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, the three cantonment boards-Pune, Khadki and Dehu-eleven municipal councils and numerous gram panchayats. The jurisdiction of the PMRDA will be over 3,000 square km.
The Pimpri-Chinchwad Newtownship Development Authority, more popular as Pradhikaran, will cease to function once the PMRDA is set up.
PMRDA will be headed by a a senior IAS officer and would have its own staff to implement development plans.
Gohad, who was part of the town planning department of the state government, said that the first task of PMRDA should be to revise the RP of Pune. “The RP is outdated and we need to revise it. PMRDA should take up town planning schemes for proper development of the region,” he said.
Drawing up a common development plan, and setting up “land zones” are some works PMRDA is supposed to undertake.
Town planners said PMRDA would avoid design overlaps in projects that cut across contiguous civic bodies. The Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad is a case in point. BRTS is on the right lane in the jurisdiction of one civic body and on the left in the other.
Had PMRDA been set up earlier, the Pune Metro project would have been fast-tracked, officials said. “In case of a single authority the project would be easy to implement as a single detailed project report (DPR) would
suffice ,” he said.
Town planner Anita Benninger says details would have to be unveiled by the state government to comment on its efficacy. “If it is systematic in its approach, the PMRDA would take up issues like traffic and transport, and land zoning for the region,” she said.