EMPHASISING the urgent need to reduce vehicular population on city roads by strengthening the eco-friendly public transport system, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said Saturday that if the number of vehicles continued to grow unabated, Pune, the educational and cultural capital of India, will soon get a new identity — most polluted city of the country.
Fadnavis was speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the proposed multi-modal transport hub at Swargate junction where 25 new electric buses and seven women-only Tajaswini buses were handed over to Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML). Several Pune Smart City projects, including Integrated Command and Control Centre, Place Making Projects, among others, were also launched at the event.
The multi-modal hub will integrate the public transport services — Metro rail, PMPML, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses, auto rickshaws and private vehicles — and is expected to curb traffic congestion at busy junctions. The Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MahaMetro) will execute the project to ensure better coordination among transport services.
The hub, which will come up on a public private partnership (PPP) model with an outlay of over Rs 2,000 crore, will be 105 metres tall and have a total of 30 floors — 25 floors above the ground and five underground.
Total built up area of the building is expected to be around 65 lakh square feet.
Addressing the event, Fadnavis recounted that all the infrastructural projects that his government has pushed and started were pending for several decades.
“I must tell you that none of these important projects that we have started for Pune are new. These were in the offing for long, but zero progress was achieved in many years as politics continued to be played,” he said.
Emphasising the importance of seamless public mobility in Pune, the Chief Minister said the government is working on every aspect of public transport, including speedy development of the Metro, strengthening of PMPML, construction of transport hubs as well as speedy sanctioning of delayed projects, such as Pune Ring Road.
“As we are aware, at the moment Pune has the highest number of vehicles for any Indian city. This is not only causing congestion on road, but is also polluting the air. If steps are not taken to ensure that the number of private vehicles go down, the city of Pune, which is so far known as the cultural and educational capital of India, will get a new identity, that of being the most polluted city in the country,” said Fadnavis.
The event was also attended by Union Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, city MP Anil Shirole, several MLAs, including Parvati MLA Madhuri Misal, in whose constituency the multi-modal hub will come up, and city mayor Mukta Tilak. Sonia Barbry, Consul General of France in Mumbai and Nicolas Fornage, Regional Director, AFD — India and Bangladesh, were also present.