Pedestrians First,an organisation dealing with citys traffic and transport problems,has said that the public hearing on Metro has not served the purpose and in citys larger interest,further steps were required.
The DMRC report has been studied by citizens and citizen groups. All such studies have revealed serious deficiencies in the Metro proposal like the selection of the Metro corridor and Metro type to its impact on the city and citizens as well as utility,safety,costing,funding,affordability,financial burden on citizens,ownership and public accountability. These have already been submitted to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). The PMC had convened a public meeting on June 18 which was a welcome step. However,the meeting did not serve the intended purpose, said Prashant Inamdar,convenor of Pedestrian First.
The PMC should have first publicised all required information about the Metro proposal including the impact in a language and format that common citizens would understand. This would have empowered them to apply their minds and form considered opinion about the Pune Metro plan. Only then would they have been in a position to submit their views,suggestions and objections. As this was not done,several people attending the meeting simply said they want Metro without any clue about what the specific proposal was. The meeting had not been called to ascertain public opinion about whether Pune needs a Metro or not but to discuss the DMRCs Pune Metro plan, Pedestrians First said in a letter to Pune Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Zagade.
The PMC had stated that suggestions and objections received during the meeting will be forwarded to the state government. A meeting was definitely not needed if this was the only purpose and the PMC was just going to act as a post office. The intention of the meeting was to have discussion on the suggestions and objections,which did not happen, said the letter.
It is,hence,in the citys best interests that instead of sending suggestions and objections of citizens to the state government,the PMC should initiate dialogue with citizen groups to understand their contentions and take needful action to address and resolve the issues before the DMRC report is approved and sent to the state government, said Inamdar.
He said a detailed discussion should be arranged between citizen groups and DMRC and all their agencies who have done various studies which form the part of the DMRC report. An independent study of the DMRC report should be done by experts with active involvement of citizen groups who have raised objections. For such an expensive,irreversible and long term impact project proposal,a second opinion would be a logical requirement even if any deficiency has not been noticed, he said.