Updated: February 17, 2021 10:09:03 pm
In a major relief to residents of Pimpri-Chinchwad, the state government approved the extension of a Pune Metro route from Pimpri to Nigdi at a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai on Wednesday.
According to a release by the Urban Development Department Ministry, the state Cabinet has approved the Pimpri-to-Nigdi corridor one elevated route. “This will be an additional route as the old route from Pimpri to Swargate has been revised,” the release stated.
The extension of the route from Pimpri to Nigdi had been a long-pending demand of the residents. Maharashtra Navnirman Sen (MNS) Corporator Sachin Chikhale, who is also the director of the Pimpri-Chinchwad smart city project, said, “Justice has finally been done for commuters from Nigdi. We have been demanding that the metro should be run up to Nigdi for the past four-five years.”
According to the Ministry, the extension of the route from Pimpri to Nigdi will require an additional expenditure of Rs 946.76 crore. “The state government will take the responsibility of providing Rs 170.3 crore,” the Ministry said.
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The route, spanning 4.41 kilometres, will be implemented by the Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation (Maha-Metro). “The Central government will provide 10 per cent of the funds,” the Ministry said, adding that 4.95 lakh commuters are expected to travel on the route from Pimpri to Nigdi by 2023.
Pune Metro spokesperson Hemant Sonawane said, “The state government’s decision will be taken to the Central government for final approval. The Centre had earlier given in-principle approval to the route extension and conveyed that it would provide 10 per cent of the funds for the extended route.”
Sonawane said as per earlier practices, the Central and state governments provide 20 per cent funds each for such projects. “However, since the Central government had said that it would provide 10 per cent funds, the matter had come before the state government which approved the project today. Now, the Centre will provide 10 per cent funds, while the state and the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) will provide 30 per cent of funds. We will raise a 60 per cent loan for the project,” he said. There will be three stations Nigdi, Akurdi and Chinchwad between Pimpri and Nigdi, he added.
Days after the detailed project report (DPR) for corridor one from Pimpri to Swargate had been approved, local activists and residents had protested and demanded that the route be extended from Pimpri to Nigdi.
Amol Deshpande, founder-member of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Citizens Forum, said, “Residents had been demanding the Nigdi-Swargate metro from 2013. In fact, we had submitted a memorandum to then municipal commissioner Shrikar Pardesh, urging him to run the metro up to Nigdi. The move will benefit thousands of commuters who live in Nigdi, Akurdi, Kalbhornagar and Chinchwad.”
Advocate Sushil Mancharkar, a resident of Nehrunagar, said that the route from Pimpri to Swargate made no sense as the major commuter load comes from areas such as Nigdi, Akurdi and Chinchwad.
“The three suburbs provide a major chunk of the commuter population. If someone boards a bus from Pimpri, the next major stop is only at Kasarwadi. Phugewadi and Dapodi do not have much of a commuter crowd. Therefore, starting the metro from Pimpri made sense. Only till Nigdi, however, It would be ensured that a large population of Pimpri-Chinchwad travels by the metro,” Mancharkar said.
Welcoming the move, activist Raju Latamble said, “This is a major and long-pending step which will gladden the residents of Pimpri-Chinchwad. We did not understand how areas like Nigdi and Chinchwad could be ignored. It seems like either Pune Metro was ill-advised or its officials had no clue where to run the metro from.”
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