THE NATIONAL Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday directed the PMC to get environmental clearance before implementing the ambitious High Capacity Mass Transit Route (HCMTR) in Pune.
The much-awaited HCMTR, also known as the inner ring road, is proposed to be constructed by acquiring 279.77 acres of land and removing 1,982 trees. The ambitious project — to build a 35.96-km ring road stretch to decongest city roads — was proposed 40 years ago and is now estimated to cost Rs 5,192 crore.
Environmentalists, however, raised objections to the implementation of the project without following the process of environmental clearance. They later appealed before the NGT in the matter.
“The hearing on the application challenging the process followed by the PMC for the construction of HCMTR was heard by the NGT today (Monday). The NGT has directed the PMC to take environment department clearance before implementing the project,” said petitioner Sarang Yadwadkar, adding that the NGT will issue an order of the copy in the next few days.
Yadwadkar said it was necessary for the PMC to seek environmental clearance before implementing the project, but the civic administration had not done the same.
According to the civic administration, the PMC had planned to build the transit route years ago, but it never materialised due to the considerable cost of the project. The HCMTR will be 24-m wide, with six lanes, including two exclusive lanes for bus rapid transit system (BRTS), and a speed limit of 50 kmph. The transit route will be connected with major city roads and 26 BRTS stations via 33 ramps.
The civic administration said the HCMTR will start from Bopodi and run all the way to the Vishrantwadi junction, passing through Ambedkar Chowk, Pune University junction, SB Road, Erandwane, Dattawadi, Swargate, JN Road, Market Yard, Ganga Dham, Lulla Nagar, Wanwadi, Hadapsar Industrial Estate, Magarpatta, Wadgaon Sheri, Viman Nagar and Lohegaon airport.
An official said the ramps to connect city roads were proposed to be built at Ambedkar Chowk, University Chowk, Senapati Bapat Road, Passport office, Paud Road, Karve Road, Swargate, JN Road, Lulla Nagar, Vaiduwadi, Magarpatta, Tadigutta, Phoenix Junction, Symbiosis Road, New Airport Road, Airport Road and Rakesh Bote Chowk.
The officer also said nearly 60 arterial and main city roads will be connected to the transit route, and that heavy vehicles, which are often only passing through Pune, will be able to use the HCMTR instead of entering the city and clogging the lanes.
The transit route will be connected to major highways, such as NH 48 (between Mumbai and Bengaluru), NH 65 (between Mumbai and Machilipatnam), NH 60 (between Pune and Nashik) and state highway 27 (between Pune and Ahmednagar).
The civic body is also planning to build two railway overbridges along the HCMTR elevated corridor, at Vaiduwadi and Tadigutta.
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