STUDENTS of College of Agriculture, Pune, and residents fond of the sprawling greenery, especially for their morning walks, can breath easy as the British-era campus will not lose more land that was being eyed by the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) for the proposed Shivajinagar-Hinjewadi Metro Line. Earlier, the PMRDA had proposed to acquire a 20 acre tract from its own Metro plan connecting Shivajinagar with Hinjewadi.
It is apart from the 28.43 acre plot that has been already acquired, for the PCMC-Swargate Corridor, from the college and where the work has already commenced.
The PMRDA has planned the 23.33 km Shivajinagar-Hinjewadi corridor under the private public partnership (PPP) model. As a private player is going to invest in the project, the PMRDA is planning to give a land bank to the investor to compensate for investment in the Metro project.
Apart from land belonging to the agricultural college, the PMRDA was also eyeing the Pune Rural Police headquarters land on Pashan Road. Kiran Gitte, the Chief Executive Officer, PMRDA, however, said as the college authorities have expressed unwillingness to part with the additional 20 acre after a large chunk of land went to the Pune Metro project, the PMRDA is now exploring other options.
“Presently, we are not pressing for that land. They have expressed reservation about giving the land. We are exploring other options. We need land, along the Pune Metro corridor, not necessarily in Shivajinagar,” Gitte told The Indian Express. Gitte added that the college that is run by Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri, was given an option of alternative land in the outskirts of the city. “Considering the changing needs of the city, we have to think about the decisions. We were to provide them alternative land on the outskirts of the city, which would be much more suitable for the college in lieu of the 20 acres that we were seeking,” said Gitte.
As reported by the Indian Express earlier, soon after Pune Metro had sent a letter demanding 28.45 acre of land from the college for constructing a maintenance depot, the college officials had conveyed the state authorities that the swathe of land that was being cultivated by the college for the past 100 years should be spared as 6,133 trees belonging to genetically pure mother plant orchards stood there.
They had, instead, suggested that the 30 acres can be carved out from the uncultivated campus in Khadki (Dairy Department), the adjacent Government Dairy Farm and Central Hatcheries in Pune. Admitting that the concerns raised were genuine, the Maha Metro authorities said it was too late to address these concerns. In July 2017, Maharashtra Government had approved the land acquisition proposal following which 28.45 acre land was handed over to MahaMetro.