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Friday, March 05, 2021

Pune: PMC move to widen 335 roads to 9 metres comes under criticism

Prashant Inamdar said the reasons justifying PMC’s decision to widen roads to nine metres have not been given, neither in the public notice, nor in the relevant document on PMC’s website.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: January 31, 2021 9:01:54 pm
The bypoll is likely to be held in April but the state election commission is yet to declare the actual dates of voting. (File)

The decision of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to widen 335 roads to nine metres has come under flak from civic activists.

“There must be hundreds of roads in Pune which are six metres wide or less than nine metres. The whole issue of widening roads to nine metres has cropped up because rules were amended to allow additional TDR and premium FSI only for properties on roads nine metres wide and above. It’s accepted that additional TDR becomes helpful for redevelopment of wadas and residential buildings which have become quite old and need renovation. Such properties on roads of width less than nine metres would face difficulties for redevelopment in the absence of additional FSI. However, this cannot be the justification for widening all roads to nine metres,” said activist Prashant Inamdar, who heads Pedestrians First, an NGO.

Inamdar said the reasons justifying PMC’s decision to widen roads to nine metres have not been given, neither in the public notice, nor in the relevant document on PMC’s website. “In the absence of definite information regarding the basis for selection of 335 roads for widening to nine metres, there are apprehensions and misgivings in the minds of people. Some of them are of the opinion that roads where they stay need not be widened while there are others who do not know why the roads where they stay have been omitted from the list,” he said.

Inamdar said, “If (as reported) the reason for widening roads to nine metres is to pave the way for high-rises using TDR in order to generate additional funds for PMC through development charges, property tax etc., it cannot be a valid reason for the decision as it’s highly irrational and could be detrimental to the city’s interests.”

He said it’s illogical to take a blanket decision to widen all six metre wide roads in the city to nine metres without first ascertaining the need to do so in each case. Another activist said, “The basis for selecting the 335 roads for the first phase of widening is not known. There has to be specific criteria for deciding whether any particular road needs to be widened to nine metres or not.”

Activist Rahul Dhankude said, “PMC should first survey and classify the roads as per the following criteria (see box). This classification should form the basis for phase-wise selection of roads for widening as per the assessed need. This data should be made public and transparently shared with the people. Citizens would be able to form their considered opinions about the road widening only after this process is completed and relevant information is made available to them.”

What activists say:

# Roads less than nine metres wide should be classified on the following basis

# Type of area: Gaothan, congested city area, non-congested city area

# Type of buildings predominant on the road: Wadas, Gaothan houses, bungalows, row houses, multi-storeyed residential buildings

# Front margin

# Age & condition of majority of buildings

# Type of road

# Usage of road

# Congestion on road

# Tree cutting needed

# Adequacy of infrastructure

# Impacts of road widening

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