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Row over elevated Metro route: Oppn parties, Ganesh mandal members hold protest at PMC

A few months ago, representatives of some Ganesh mandals had staged a protest at the construction site of the elevated route and forced Pune Metro to suspend its work.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: December 22, 2021 10:43:18 am
Mayor Murlidhar Mohol had directed Pune Metro to suspend the work till further discussions were held to resolve the issue.

Opposition parties in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Tuesday cornered the ruling BJP for allowing the Pune Metro project to go ahead with the construction of an elevated route despite Ganesh mandals raising concern over its impact on traditional immersion processions organised every year.

A few months ago, representatives of some Ganesh mandals had staged a protest at the construction site of the elevated route and forced Pune Metro to suspend its work. They were protesting against the elevated route that goes across Chhatrapati Sambhaji bridge in Deccan, saying it would cause hurdles for traditional immersion processions due to its low height.

Mayor Murlidhar Mohol had directed Pune Metro to suspend the work till further discussions were held to resolve the issue.

However, the Mayor recently cited the report of a technical expert, stating that the alternative suggested by Ganesh mandals for a Metro rail bridge over Chhatrapati Sambhaji Bridge in Deccan was impractical, and asked Pune Metro to resume its work at the site without making any changes to its earlier plan.

Mohol also held a series of meeting with Pune Metro officials, technical experts and representatives of Ganesh mandals. “There were two alternative solutions… but technical experts have turned them down saying they are impractical,” Mohol said. The first solution entailed demolishing 39 pillars of the elevated route and reconstructing them at an altered height, but that would increase the project cost by Rs 70 crore while the work would need 24 more months for completion. The second solution was to demolish 17 pillars and reconstruct them, which would increase the project cost by Rs 23 crore while the project would take 18 more months to be completed.

On Tuesday, representatives of Ganesh mandals staged a protest outside the civic general body before the meeting started. Opposition parties NCP, Congress, Shiv Sena and MNS carried forward the protest in the general body hall. “We are demanding a discussion on the Metro issue. The line is being constructed with public funds,” said Congress’s Ulhas Bagul.

BJP corporator Hemant Rasane said the decision to allow Metro rail work to continue was taken after discussing it with the state government, and the opposition was unnecessarily creating hurdles.

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