While Pune is now the biggest city in Maharashtra, its civic infrastructure budget is nowhere close to other major cities like Mumbai and Bengaluru, posing a big challenge for its overall development.
The Maharashtra government on Wednesday issued a notification to extend the boundaries of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) from 331.57 sq km to 516.18 sq km, by merging 23 adjoining villages into the civic limits.
Thus, by area, Pune is now not only the biggest city in the state, it is also among the 10 biggest in the country. As per the 2011 census, the population of the city was just over 31 lakh. This has now increased by 12 lakh with the merger of 23 villages. The overall population, accounting for migration into the city in the past 10 years, is likely to be over 50 lakh, civic sources said.
Pune has an estimated budget of Rs 8,370 crore for 2021-22, but the civic body will be able to use up around Rs 6,000 crore, according to the revenue it raises. The PMC has estimated a need of Rs 9,000 crore for development of basic civic amenities such as road, drainage, solid waste management and other relevant infrastructure in the 23 villages.
In comparison, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has an estimated budget of Rs 39,038 crore for the current financial year for its 440 sq km of area with a population of 1.24 crore, while the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has Rs 9,288 crore for development of basic facilities in its 741 sq km with a population of 84 lakh.
For Pune, the biggest task would be to have an efficient public transport system. The city lacks a mass transit system, with only a PMPML bus service catering to the entire metropolitan region. With Pune metro yet to begin operations, the city relies mostly on private vehicles.
Pune has also been facing a tough time in ensuring equitable and sufficient water supply to all its citizens. The shortage of water has been leading to supply cuts during summer, and now the projected water supply need is 18.94 TMC from the chain of dams upstream Mula-Mutha river. The city will have to explore new water resources to meet its increased demand.
On the management of solid waste management and sewage treatment, the PMC has already received a rap from the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The civic body has been struggling to process the entire 2,100 tonnes of waste generated everyday in the city, and with the addition of more villages, its problem is set to increase.
The release of untreated sewage in the Mula-Mutha river has put the civic body in the dock, and to tackle this, it had planned setting up 11 Sewage Treatment Plants (STP). However, this is again going to fall short due to the increased load from the newly included areas.