A DAY after citizens and activists staged a protest in Pimpri-Chinchwad demanding extension of Pune metro route up to Nigdi in the first phase itself, Brijesh Dixit, managing director of Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation (Maha-Metro), said all efforts are being made to extend the metro up to Nigdi. “We are in the process of taking up the matter with the state and central governments. And we are hopeful of getting the nod for extension of the Pimpri-Swargate route up to Nigdi in the first phase itself,” he said.
On Saturday, citizens and activists under the banner of Connecting NGOs formed a human chain at Vallabhnagar chowk to demand extension of Pune Metro from Pimpri to Nigdi. Earlier, activists and commuter groups in Pimpri-Chinchwad had carried out a signature campaign to press for their demand for extension of metro rail route up to Nigdi. Dixit said they were aware of the demand to extend Pune Metro up to Nigdi. “I don’t see it will be difficult for us to get an extension up to Nigdi… We would shortly be submitting a detailed report to the state and central governments, explaining the need to extend the Pune metro till Nigdi,” he said.
BRTS spokesperson Vijay Bhojne said, as per their information, the Pune Metro has been sanctioned by the Central government up to Nigdi in the second phase. “The demand is for getting it in first phase work for which has already started,” he said. Dixit, however, said the work on the second phase will not start after the completion of the first phase in 2021 as is being believed. “In fact, the second phase will start in two years itself. We are confident of completing the first phase work from Pimpri side in two years’ time,” he said.
Reacting to the development, advocate-activist Sushil Mancharkar said, “In the first place, whoever planned Pune Metro up to Pimpri and Nigdi did not at all understand Pimpri-Chinchwad… And we also hear that it will be elevated in PCMC limits. This is certainly going to create chaotic condition. We hope the officials will realise that this too is a mistake and that they should go for underground metro,” he said. On the possibility of demolition of two pedestrian overbridges which were constructed by the PCMC a few years back, Dixit said, “Some misinformation is being spread that foot overbridges (FOBs) would disappear on the highway and pedestrians would be facing difficult time due to Pune Metro. This is not true. We are not going to remove two FOBs, but only the one close to the ST stand at Vallabhnagar. But this too will be removed only after we construct a FOB as per our specifications,” he said.
Dixit said that all stations from Pimpri to Khadki will have foot overbridges. “One of them will be close to Kasarwadi railway station. This will help commuters of both local trains and Pune Metro to move swiftly on both sides. Therefore, commuters should not be worried about crossing over to the other sides,” he said. As regards the Nashik Phata flyover, said to be one of the biggest challenges for Pune Metro, Dixit said, “This has been sorted out as the Metro will move from close to Kasarwadi railway station and between the top flyover and the second one,” he said. Besides the flyover problem, PCMC is already in the process of constructing a ramp close to the the Kasarwadi railway station. Dixit said this too would not be a problem.
The work for Pune Metro has already started from Pimpri-Chinchwad. Hectic work is underway on the express lane in Vallabhanggar-Sant Tukaram area where a metro station is proposed to come up. Officials said the elevated metro stretch from Pimpri to Dapodi will run over the road divider between BRTS lane and grade separator. Earlier, it was decided that the metro would run on an elevated route on the pillars to be erected along the footpath of Pune-Mumbai highway from Pimpri to Harris bridge in Dapodi. The proposed Pune Metro rail route length is 31.51 km. While the first 16.59 km route is from Pimpri to Swargate, the second is from Vanaz to Ramwadi (14.92km) in PMC limits.
Officials said the Pimpri-Swargate corridor will have 14 stations. Out of these, nine stations will be elevated while the rest will be underground. The Pimpri-Swargate route will run over the Pune-Mumbai highway till Dapodi from where it will cross the Mula river and railway tracks to reach Range Hills area. The stations include PCMC headquarters, Vallabhangar-Sant Tukaramnagar, Kasarwadi, Phugewadi, Dapodi, Bopodi, Khadki and Range Hills.