AFTER work on the Pune Metro and the dedicated Nigdi-Dapodi BRTS lane had started, the 13-km stretch of the Pune-Mumbai Highway under the jurisdiction of Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has been witnessing regular traffic jams. Compounding the problem are the encroachers, who have, for years, captured the portion of the highway.
There are two types of encroachers along the highway stretch: mechanics & spare-part dealers and those who blatantly park their vehicles on the highway, without paying heed to the “no parking” boards.
Even as the Pimpri-Chinchwad police have launched a drive against people driving on the wrong side, the PCMC says the police have not done enough to prevent encroachment on the highway, which is preventing them from ensuring smooth run of the Nigdi-Dapodi BRTS dedicated lane.
The civic body claimed that despite having been provided proofs of encroachments, in the form of photographs, the Pimpri-Chinchwad police are yet to take any decisive action. “On August 30, we sent a letter to the police, informing them about encroachers who are creating problems in smooth movement of traffic on the highway. We sent them pictures from Nigdi, Chinchwad and Nashik Phata Chowk,” said Vijay Bhojane, PCMC spokesperson for BRTS. “The letters were specifically marked to police inspectors from Nigdi, Bhosari and Chinchwad,” he said.
Bhojane said though the Pimpri-Chinchwad traffic police took action for two consecutive days, it was not enough. “We heard that they put jammers on vehicles found parked at no-parking boards. However, the action was only for two days. After that the situation has returned to its earlier state,” he said.
Advocate Sachin Godambe, a local resident, said the problem of encroachment has persisted even before the BRTS started and before the new police commissionerate was set up. “PCMC is now waking up to this reality. All these years, it kept quiet. Even before starting the BRTS, it should have cleared encroachers off the highway, but it failed to do so,” he said.
Another activst D G Baliga said the civic body and the police lack coordination. “It is indeed a sorry state of affairs. Top officials need to talk to each other. Both Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar and Police Commissioner R K Padmanabhan should sit together and take strong decision vis-a-vis the traffic mess on the highway,” he said.
“The police commissioner should fine traffic constables and PSIs or PIs for their inaction. It will set a very good example and force the junior officers to act and not turn a blind eye,” Baliga said.
Meanwhile, the police chief said they have been taking action against traffic violators. “We have taken action in the past and will continue to do so. As regards PCMC’s complaint, I will immediately ask officials to take prompt action against those parking vehicles under no parking boards in Nigdi, Chinchwad and Nashik-Kasarwadi area,” he said.