IT WAS a historic year for the BJP in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, where the party came to power in both civic bodies after defeating the NCP.
In the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, where the BJP had only two corporators, it increased its tally to 78 after the February civic polls.
Party leaders credited the victory mainly to city unit president of the BJP, Laxman Jagtap, and MLA Mahesh Landge, who had been entrusted the responsibility of unseating the NCP by Chief Minister Devendra Fadvanis.
Similarly, in Pune city, the BJP won 98 of the 152 wards. The party already has an MP from Pune and had won all the city assembly seats in the 2014 state elections.
In the earlier elections, the BJP had struggled to even cross the two-digit mark. BJP leaders attributed their success to the “Modi wave” and “people’s faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governance”.
Yet another significant moment came when the PCMC Standing Committee decided to throw open its meetings for journalists. The committee, which holds the key to civic finances, always held its meeting behind closed doors.
However, Standing Committee Chairperson Seema Savale, who had promised transparency in the functioning of the committee, threw open its meetings to journalists a few days after taking charge.
The ambitious Pune Metro project, which was launched in December 2016, picked up pace in 2017. In fact, Metro officials claimed that the work in the city was happening at a faster pace than the Nagpur Metro.
Towards the end of the year, MAHA-Metro Managing Director Brijesh Dixit revealed to Pune Newsline that the project may well take off in a year’s time. Metro officials said Pimpri to Dapodi route would be operational in about a year.
Another important development was the sense of urgency shown by the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA). Within two years of its formation, the PMRDA has taken up its second mega-project — the 23.3-km Hinjewadi to Shivajinagar elevated Metro project — by inviting Request for Quotation (RFQ) from global bidders. The PMRDA’s first major project was the construction of the Ring Road in the metropolitan region.
Roads leading to Hinjewadi often witness heavy traffic jams due to a large number of IT employees travelling to and from the area every day.
About two lakh people work at the IT park, most of whom live in the city, while Hinjewadi is on the outskirts. Over one lakh vehicles and about 885 buses ply on the route daily. Officials said the Metro route would cross the proposed Ring Road at Hinjewadi, providing connectivity to daily commuters.