Infrastructure: The Key Real Estate Investment Criterion

Anil Pharande, CMD – Pharande Spaces

We keep hearing the term ‘market drivers’ being used in real estate. What are they? Market drivers can be defined as developments in an area that increase the value of living there. It is a well-established fact that infrastructure is by far the most important driver for real estate demand and property appreciation growth.

Infrastructure can take many forms. It includes road development to boost connectivity of a location, civic infrastructure such as dedicated water and electricity supply, public gardens, etc. that increases the quality of living in the area, and social infrastructure such as schools, colleges and healthcare, which result in shorter travelling time to such very essential services.

punawale bridge

Infrastructure must be put in place either before or along with other real estate development. Attempts to put it in place retrospectively create the kind of mess that we can see in many of our cities today. The building of flyovers and road widening are attempted in highly congested areas, disrupting the flow of normal activity and taking ages to be built, causing great inconvenience and massive costs to the city because of the incessant delays.

Building infrastructure is like growing trees – in both cases, there needs to be enough space for them to grow, and sufficient opportunity for a root network to deploy. Without space and depth, neither trees nor infrastructure can grow and flourish. If we take the case of Pune as an example, we can see that building infrastructure as an afterthought to real estate development, rather than as a precursor, does not really work well.

Pune’s haphazard development in the past has not been favourable for decent infrastructure deployment to complement its rapid development on other fronts. Battling severe constraints, Pune’ development authorities are doing their best to counter the ill-effects of unregulated development which has so far been taking place.

Infra

 

We are seeing some good results in building support infrastructure, but the Pune Municipal Corporation is actually a losing battle. This is amply illustrated by the fact that the Pune Municipal Corporation is not able to provide suitable parking, traffic management solutions and utilities supply despite enormous investments.

Guidelines For Homebuyers & Investors

  • The infrastructure of a location is a major focus area for property investors for a very good reason. Real estate investors want to attract end-users, either as rental or purchase clients, to the properties. They know that an area without sufficient infrastructure will be unattractive to their clients, because the quality of living quotient is low.
  • Again, properties in areas without good infrastructure tend to have cheaper property rates for a reason. Developers with projects in such locations know that the area has little or nothing to say for itself in terms of quality of life. The only way they can hope to sell their projects is to offer very attractive rates.
  • Buyers should place infrastructure availability prominently on their checklist while scouting for suitable homes. Road and rail connectivity, water supply, proximity of schools, hospitals and shopping outlets are of paramount importance. Buying a home cheaply if the location does not offer these is meaningless, and will give cause for regret.
  • If one is buying a property purely as a long-term investment and primarily for capital appreciation, one can afford to be a bit philosophical about existing infrastructure. After all, one is not planning to live there and does not expect very fast appreciation. As long as there is a reasonable assurance that it will arrive in the foreseeable future, it makes sense to invest in a property located in an emerging area where infrastructure is in its nascent stages.
  • However, if one is buying the property in order to generate rental income, existing infrastructure is far more important than upcoming infrastructure. People looking for rental options are also looking for a certain ease and dignity of living. They are willing to put the option of buying a home aside so that they can live in a good home in a good location on rent.
  • Where the option exists, give a high preference to townships over all other options. While checking out townships, ensure that they are located in areas which have a good saturation of support infrastructure as well. Most large Indian cities now have township projects coming up.
  • In Pune, the infrastructure-rich Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation is attracting the highest number of buyers and investors of township properties. In other parts of the country, Navi Mumbai and the Kalyan-Dombivli and Vasai-Virar belts are becoming important township hubs.
  • In Delhi NCR, the areas to look at for townships are Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Greater Noida. In Bangalore, the growth hubs for townships are Yelahanka and Devanhalli, and in Chennai they include Sriperumbadur, Perambur, the OMR belt and Anna Nagar.

About The Author:

Anil PharandeAnil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in Western Pune. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer in the PCMC area offering a diverse range of real estate products catering especially to the 42 sectors of Pradhikaran. The luxury township Puneville at Punavale in West Pune is among the company’s latest premium offerings. Woodsville in Moshi is another highly successful PCMC-based township by Pharande Spaces which is now in its 3rd phase.

 

 

Pune Real Estate – The Importance Of Green Cover In Residential Zones

It is generally known that abundant urban green spaces – large areas allocated to trees, lawns and all types of flora and fauna – are a major contributor to high quality living environment. Sufficient green spaces in cities improve the quality of the air in residential areas because trees absorb pollutants such as ozone, nitric acid vapour, ammonia, nitrogen, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide. In turn, they provide life-giving oxygen, provide shade, attract rain and improve the aesthetic quality of the whole area.

environment

In its heyday, Pune was renowned for its generous urban green spaces. Unfortunately, the hammer of commercialized real estate proliferation has caused most of the city’s green cover to vanish. Coupled with the massive traffic movement within the PMC limits, it is not surprising that so many Punekars now suffer from various ‘mysterious’ ailments. High blood pressure, asthma, bronchitis, energy depletion and depression are rapidly becoming common-place. The city that once rivaled Bangalore with its generous urban green spaces is now literally oxygen starved.

When the PCNTDA (Pimpri Chinchwad New Town Development Authority) set out to plan the residential zones in Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation – Pune’s prosperous sister city – the vital factor of green cover was a main priority. Not many are aware of how much thought went into the real estate blueprint for Pimpri-Chinchwad, which is now a masterpiece of systematic residential zone development. Thanks to close collaboration with healthcare officials, construction and civil engineering agencies and the town planning authorities ensured that PCMC would remain a predominantly green zone. The rationale was based on firm scientific facts:

  • People who live in residential zones with abundant green cover suffer fewer health problems and experience lower stress levels
  • The survival rate of senior citizens who spend their Golden Years in green surroundings is far higher than that of their contemporaries living in the concrete jungles of the inner city
  • Green cover in a residential zone encourages its residents to spend more time outdoors and show lower preference to an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle
  • The happiness level and mental/emotional health quotient of any residential community is directly related to the extent to which individuals socialize. The availability of green areas such as parks, gardens and lawns encourages more inter-personal contact between residents

By now, social scientists know for a fact that urban green spaces tend to attracts people outside their homes and to interact with each other. Parks and gardens are places where people can meet and spend time together in the outdoors. People who have access to green spaces in cities like Pune enjoy a higher level of social activity, tend to know their neighbours and are more concerned about the general welfare of the community.

Despite the rapid depletion of urban green spaces within the Pune Municipal Limits, Pimpri-Chinchwad offers the citizens of Pune the option of green living. The verdant residential townships in localities like Ravet and Moshi have been designed in complete compliance to the PCNTDA guidelines for green spaces within PCMC residential zones. At the same time, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation offers to them vastly superior civic and social infrastructure and significantly lower property rates.

Anil-Pharande

 

 

Anil Pharande is Chairman of Pharande  Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in the PCMC area of Pune, India.

PCNTDA Turned PCMC Into The Hottest Real Estate Destination In Maharashtra

Anil-Pharande

 

 

Anil Pharande, CMD – Pharande Spaces

There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that Pimpri Chinchwad is now Pune’s new hotbed for affordable residential property. In fact, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation is one’s of India’s most resounding real estate success stories. PCMC is a planned city, and its development profile has nothing in common with what is happening in the Pune Municipal Corporation limits.

Pune Property

Thanks to the unflagging efforts of the Pimpri Chinchwad New Township Development Authority (PCNTDA), PCMC is now a showcase of outstanding residential areas. The PCNTDA has been vigilant in defending this showcase sister city of Pune from the central city’s unregulated real estate development pattern. One of the hallmarks of this careful town planning is the availability of affordable township properties, which are the best examples of the masterfully planned social, economic and real estate development in Maharashtra.

Those who have never seen PCMC before are amazed at the futuristic look of this progressive city. When it comes to urban planning, the PCNTDA has gone several steps further than CIDCO of Navi Mumbai. Navi Mumbai was Maharashtra’s first planned city, and it certainly began on a good note. However, lack of vigilance by the town planning authorities there soon caused it to fall prey to commercialization. Charles Courier’s initial blueprint was son abandoned, and today Navi Mumbai has become just another extended suburb of unregulated Mumbai.

In Pimpri Chinchwad, however, the PCNTDA was determined to avoid the mistakes which caused the real estate market in Navi Mumbai to degenerate. The blueprint which was adopted was one of uncompromisingly regulated real estate growth, and organized urban planning was the constant watchword. Keeping its focus firmly on the long-term objectives of rational real estate development, the PCNTDA has managed to turn PCMC into a genuine city of the future.

Residents of township properties in PCMC have the unique advantage of owning homes which are near to their workplaces, yet affordable and blessed with green natural surroundings. They live high quality lifestyles and do not have to sacrifice their family’s health to the pollution which defines the inner city. On an average, township property owners is the PCMC spend upto 35% more time with their families than Pune residents, and have up to 40% more living space at the same cost.

The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation is truly a prime example of social-minded real estate development. Only here will one find spacious properties at affordable prices, coupled with a modern and efficient transportation system. Only here can one find a multitude of employment opportunities, superior infrastructure and modern, yet very affordable homes close to one’s place of work. And only in the PCMC can one enjoy the benefits of carefully preserved natural splendour.

Thanks to the approach taken by the PCNTDA, the PCMC property market is today seen as the smartest option for residential property buyers from Pune and beyond. Yearly inward migration figures clearly indicate that this city is indeed growing rapidly. The year-on-year appreciation rates of residential property in the PCMC range between 15-20%, and this has also attracted property investors from all over Maharashtra.

Anil Pharande is Vice President of CREDAI Pune Metro and Chairman of Pharande  Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in the PCMC area of Pune, India.

Put Pune Development Plan On Municipal Elections 2012 Campaign Agenda

With the Pune Municipal Corporation Elections 2012 coming up, the usual spate of election promises by corporators to improve the infrastructure in their respective wards are being made. As positive as these promises are, they miss the larger point – Pune does not need segmented, fractional development.

Election

Piecemeal development is exactly what has been happening all these years anyway. The haphazard development of Pune has followed the usual course of opportunistic urbanization. Certain areas receive maximum attention while others are completely neglected.

The Pune City Development Plan (DP), which now includes 23 villages around the city, was recently approved after a massive delay of six years. If properly implemented, the DP has the potential to give the benefits of proper urban development to Pune’s real estate sector, its economy and to its citizens. The city as a whole needs better, wider roads and traffic management, improved water supply and more hospitals, gardens and playgrounds and open areas.

It is not just some areas being administered to by individual corporators that need to see change – the whole city needs the changes that will make life easier for its citizens and contribute towards more rational growth. The patchwork improvements that are being promised will not help Pune to develop scientifically, rationally and beneficially. A closer look at neighbouring Pimpri-Chinchwad would reveal just how much can be done for a city if its policy makers adopt a unified and holistic approach to development.

While Pune continues to stagger under the pressures of infrastructure deadlock, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) is already passing on the benefits of visionary urban planning to its residents. The planned development model adopted by the PCNTDA has consistently ensured that real estate growth in the entire Pimpri Chinchwad belt has taken place in a logical manner. As a result, infrastructure in the PCMC has become one of the brightest gems in Maharashtra’s urban development showcase.

The Pune Municipal Corporation Elections present the city with a good opportunity to insist on the proper and timely implementation of the Pune Development Plan. In the 23 villages which have now come under the DP, there has been little or no progress on infrastructure for more than two decades. There is an urgent need for proper roads and other physical infrastructure in these areas, many of which which have already seen a lot of irrational construction and illegal projects.

If Pune’s development Plan is properly streamlined and implemented, all old and new areas will benefit from improved road networks which will help in the decongestion of the inner city. It would be a mature election platform to promise the implementation of the DP in a timely and progress-oriented manner, rather than promising to improve only certain sections of the city.

We look forward to one visionary candidate in the upcoming Pune Municipal Elections 2012 to take up the cause of the Pune Development Plan as a whole.

Posted by: K. D. Nagarkar

PCMC gets defence land for widening Aundh Road

(Times of India, Sept. 10, 2011)

pune PropertyPUNE: The work of widening the Aundh-Ravet Road near Aundh commenced on Friday after a gap of nearly a year. The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has begun the work as it has received written permission from the defence authorities. The road-widening work had been stalled as the defence authorities had earlier objected to the work.

Municipal commissioner Ashish Sharma said the defence authorities on Thursday granted the permission to the PCMC. He said the PCMC had earlier paid Rs 18 crore to the defence authorities for the land.

The widening work will be from the Aundh Chest Hospital up to Y junction. The work will reduce traffic congestion on the narrow road near the hospital, he added. The widening work on the 14.4-km Aundh-Ravet Road is being done for developing a BRT corridor. For early completion of the work, the road has been divided into seven sections for which contracts have been given. The work on widening the four-km stretch from Rajiv Gandhi bridge in Aundh to Sai chowk in New Sangvi could not be completed due to the delay in getting the defence land.

The narrow stretch of the road is a bottleneck and witnesses daily traffic snarls during the peak morning and evening hours and causes inconvenience to hundreds of motorists.

Dilip Kudale, coordinator, engineering department, PCMC, said, the road is being widened from 15 to 45 metres. The PCMC will complete the work in the next six months.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/PCMC-gets-defence-land-for-widening-Aundh-Road/articleshow/9930496.cms

Pimpri-Chinchwad… Moving rapidly into the Fast Lane.

Pune Property

Pimpri-Chinchwad… Moving rapidly into the Fast Lane.
The traffic population in Pimpri-Chinchwad is growing at an exponential rate, largely due to the escalating Industrial growth across the Chakan-Talegaon belt at the periphery of Pimpri-Chinchwad, and the resulting mushrooming residential projects. However, thanks to several initiatives being taken by the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), leveraging the ample availability of land and the existing as well as planned infrastructure development, traffic in Pimpri-Chinchwad and surrounding areas is rapidly moving into the fast lane.

Flyovers

In addition to an impressive network of broad, multi-lane primary and secondary roads, an important measure to de-congest traffic is the flyovers which are being constructed, supplementing those which are already operational.

Bhosari
The 1,400-m Bhosari flyover on the Pune-Nashik highway which connects Pimpri-Chinchwad to Chakan, is scheduled to be completed and opened to traffic by April 15,2011. There are plans to build a parking lot under the flyover in the near future, while a garden will be created where the height of the flyover is less, to prevent encroachments under the structure.

Three  more flyovers will address the issue of lateral traffic perpendicular to the Pune – Mumbai highway, at the Nashik Phata chowk,  at Empire Estate in Chinchwad and at Dange chowk in Chinchwad.

Nashik Phata

Tagged as Triple R flyover, the Nashik Phata flyover is stated to be the first of its kind in Maharashtra that will ‘fly over’ river, road and railways.

The two-tiered flyover linking Pune-Mumbai highway and Pune-Nashik highway

will be 1,100-metres long with 100-foot wide roads .It will span the Pune-Mumbai highway, the Pune-Lonavala railway line, and the Pavana river.

Dange Chowk
The four-lane flyover at Dange chowk in Thergaon on the Aundh-Ravet road will reduce congestion at this busy junction and will enable people coming from Kalewadi side to cross the Dange chowk and go smoothly towards Tathawade and Ravet

Empire Estate
The 1.9 km long flyover, the longest flyover within municipal limits, passes alongside the  Empire Estate complex on the old Pune-Mumbai highway. It will have six lanes, cycle tracks of 2.5 m width on both sides and footpaths.

The flyover will enable commuters from Kalewadi, Wakad and Thergaon to cross the Pavana river, Pimpri-Chinchwad link road, Pune-Lonavala railway tracks and  the old Pune-Mumbai highway and gain easy access to MIDC and the Pune-Nashik Highway.

100 traffic-friendly  chowks and large off-street Parking Lots
It is a sad commentary on the absence of civic sense among a large number of vehicle drivers ,who only heed traffic signals when there is a traffic policeman at the chowk, that merely installing traffic signals is not a complete solution to the traffic problems, However the traffic police have a manpower shortage and  policemen cannot be deployed at every chowk.

Improvement of at least 100 chowks, or crossroads, developing parking lots and tarring of roads will be on the priority list for the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s traffic cell in the forthcoming financial year. Announcing these measures, Municipal Commissioner Ashish Sharma affirmed that they will be  carried out in coordination with the traffic police. A provision of Rs 10 crores has been made for the traffic cell in the Municipal Corporation’s draft budget for 2011-12.

Work has already been completed on traffic improvement measures at the KSB chowk (Chinchwad),Bhakti Shakti chowk (Nigdi),Dange chowk (Thergaon)and Sambhajinagar chowk (Akurdi). Moshi chowk ,Sangavi junction,Rakshak chowk and Walhekarwadi junction are some others where measures will be undertaken this year.

Off –street parking
The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation is planning to develop two large parking lots along the Pune -Mumbai highway stretch. The first is a 1.43 hectare facility at the Bhakti-Shakti chowk in Nigadi. The second will come up on an open plot in Pimpri near the Morwadi chowk- Indira Gandhi flyover. Both will include a bus terminus and parking lots, so that people will be able to conveniently park their vehicles here and commute to different parts of PCMC and Pune by bus, thereby reducing traffic congestion.

Similar parking lots will be developed, in phases, in other areas within PCMC limits. The PCMC has also developed parking lots on both sides of the Pune –Mumbai highway. This is only major road in the municipal limits along which there are recognized free parking areas.

This is a good start, but a lot more needs to be done. Designated parking lots along the Telco road, Aundh –Ravet road and others are needed.

BRTS
To address many of the urban transport problems being faced by PCMC currently and those anticipated in the future, a Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) study has been undertaken, which proposes a bus-based rapid transit system( BRTS) spread across 130 km of corridors in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
PCMC has set up an Urban Transport Fund (UTF) to fund the project , to be managed by a SPV wholly owned by PCMC

PCMC Urban Transport Fund Bags Prize

(TOI, Dec 5, 2010)

brts1-150x150

PUNE: The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has bagged the entrepreneurship prize instituted by the Union urban development ministry for its initiative in setting up an urban transport fund.

Pimpri-Chinchwad mayor Yogesh Behl and municipal commissioner Asheesh Sharma received the award from union urban development minister Jaipal Reddy at a conference in New Delhi on Sunday.

The prize comprises Rs 1.5 lakh in cash, a certificate and a memento. The civic body has set up the fund to cover the expenditure on developing the bus rapid transit system routes and to supplement the grant received from union and state governments.

The civic body has allowed the usage of additional floor space index (FSI) in the BRTS corridor which is a 100-m wide area on both sides of routes for the payment of premium charges. These charges will be deposited in the urban transport fund.

The income from advertisements on the BRTS routes will also add to the fund. The civic body has formed a special purpose vehicle for managing the fund.

PCNTDA To Construct Flyover At Kalewadi Phata

(TOI, Dec 2, 2010)

flyover

PUNE: To reduce traffic congestion, the Pimpri-Chinchwad New Township Development Authority (PCNTDA) will construct a flyover at Kalewadi phata on Aundh-Ravet road at an estimated cost of Rs 30 crore. A resolution in this regard was approved at a meeting of the PCNTDA on Wednesday.

Dilip Band, president, PCNTDA and divisional commissioner presided over the meeting which was attended by district collector Chandrakant Dalvi who is the vice-president, PCNTDA, Suhas Divse, chief executive officer, PCNTDA and others. The proposed flyover will have four lanes and a total length of 905 m. The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation ( PCMC) is widening the road to 45 m and is developing it as a Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) route.

The PCNTDA has recently received possession of land along the Mumbai-Pune highway in Sector 24 which was encroached upon. The resolution for expenditure for taking protective measures, constructing concrete walls along the natural nullah flowing through this land and developing the nullah was approved at the meeting. Another resolution to install streetlights along the old octroi post in Chinchwad to Ravet at an estimated cost of Rs 2.68 crore was approved.

A resolution to provide external electrification for power supply to the commercial plots in the Chikhli facility centre at an estimated cost of Rs 1.32 crore was also approved. The PCNTDA approved a resolution to undertake traffic safety measures like providing speed breakers, zebra crossings, central traffic island, lane marking and others at the busy Bhakti Shakti chowk on Pune-Mumbai highway. The bids for the projects of laying drainage lines in Sector 7, constructing road in Wakad and erecting chain link fence to protect the open and commercial plots in various parts of the PCNTDA limits were approved at the meeting.

PCMC In 25 Years – A Fast Forward Into The Future

Anil-Pharande

 

 

Anil Pharande on his vision and his expectations of the PCMC of the future

The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation follows a real estate model that has proven to be the most progressive and sustainable all over the world. The essence of this model is ‘planned development’ or ‘controlled urbanization’. PCMC is a twin city to Pune, but in that respect is uniquely different. Pune’s real estate development has not followed any sort of plan, and it is not hard to see it as a smaller version of chaotic Mumbai in less than 25 years.

A HOMOGENEOUS, MULTI-FACETED MOSAIC

In the same time span, PCMC will have attained its fullest potential as a model city of the future. Obviously, it will look very different from what we see today. It will have grown exponentially, into a harmonized montage of large industrial units, IT Parks, hotels, shopping and entertainment plazas, educational institutes and healthcare facilities – towering above public parks and gardens and crisscrossed with multi-lane roads and flyovers.

Further, the additional 25,000 acres of land that have come within the PCMC jurisdiction by virtue of the last Development Plan will eventually result in the addition of at least 2 million new homes. These homes will cater to every social stratum of property buyers, from the lower to the high income segments.

HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL EXPANSION – CREATING A SPECTACULAR SKYLINE

In other words, there will be tremendous – yet controlled – horizontal real estate growth over the next 25 years. Most spaces allocated for residential use will have been utilized for that purpose. But this will not result in an urban jungle, since the PCMC planning blueprint will enforce the maintenance of vast green spaces at all stages of development.

Moreover, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation will at all times endorse self-sufficient real estate developments such as townships and other integrated residential projects. The authorities have long since recognized that these are the most sustainable and progressive models for optimum real estate growth. These projects will ensure a scientific uniformity to the horizontal growth.

However, even these 25,000 acres will not suffice, since PCMC will have to accommodate a massive demand for housing. The following graph illustrates this point – it charts the population growth in PCMC over the last 25 years, and clearly depicts that this growth has been almost ten-fold (from 200,000 to 2 million).

graphAs the graph below indicates, there is reason to believe that population growth is likely to cross 50 lakhs (5 million)  by 2035

This growth will be fuelled by several factors. On the one hand, there will be a huge requirement for homes from the rapidly growing manufacturing sectors of Pimpri-Chinchwad and the Chakan-Talegaon belt. Chakan itself, though a burgeoning industrial hub, has little to offer by ways of residential facilities. The onus naturally falls on PCMC, which will necessarily be the residential location of choice for the entrepreneurs and employees of these units.

Simultaneously, there will be the spill-over effect from Pune City (which will have reached complete saturation point in the next 25 years). We further have to factor in the ever-increasing migrant population from all over the country, attracted as much by the excellent education institutions as by the varied career opportunities.

The obvious solution lies in growing vertically as well as horizontally. More land will have to come within the purview of planned development, and building heights will need to increase from the currently permitted 70 metres – approximately 22 floors plus parking – to 100 metres or more. FSI, which still currently stagnates at 1, will need to be raised to at least 2, or even 2.5.

In 25 years, PCMC will be a skyscraper city on the lines of Gurgaon.

WORLD-CLASS INFRASTRUCTURE

In most cities, such growth would mean serious infrastructure challenges. We have already seen what happens in a city like Mumbai, where skyscrapers are being built without sufficient parking, connectivity and municipal amenities to support them. However, thanks to the master plan that PCMC will always adhere to, the necessary infrastructure will precede the building of high-rises. I firmly believe that 25 years from now, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation will serve as a national and even international benchmark for planned, scientific vertical real estate growth.

An essential pre-requisite to support this massive growth is an advanced public transport system. With an eye on this future requirement, PCMC has adopted a model similar to Ahmedabad’s Janmarg – a scientifically designed BRT-based  public transport system spanning 130 km across 14 routes in PCMC. This system involves 4-lane wide, exclusive roads with grade separators that will reduce the dependence on private transport in favour of more efficient public transport. This, in turn, will result in smooth traffic flow, less road blocks, radically lower pollution levels and a healthier, energy-conserving environment. To ensure that there are no hitches in the development of this lifeline, the PCMC has established an Urban Transport Fund for its funding.

Another pre-requisite for efficient transport is more connecting roadways. A ring road is on the drawing boards, but that will become truly effective only with the implementation of a hub-and-spoke road network. To illustrate this point, there are currently only two arterial roads connecting Pune with Pimpri-Chinchwad, and only two connecting Pimpri-Chinchwad with Chakan. These cannot sustain the enormous increase in vehicular traffic that industrial and residential growth will generate.

Again, it is my opinion that this alone may not suffice to cater to the public transport needs that will emerge over the next two decades. I personally feel that an elevated skybus or monorail network or even an underground rail network will be called for.

THE ULTIMATE GAMECHANGERS

I cannot end these musings without mentioning the new international airport being planned near Rajgurunagar and the International Convention Centre at Moshi, which will cover a sprawling 200 acres. The Convention Centre alone will spawn a huge tourism, hospitality and retail boom which will convert PCMC into a major urban destination both within and outside Maharashtra, perhaps second only to Mumbai. Global hotel chains will have redefined the hospitality sector, and the shopping centres will be populated by marquee retail brands.

In fact, the next two decades are surely going to see PCMC being catapulted into the international Big League, giving it a distinct global identity in its own right.

Anil Pharande is President, CREDAI – PCMC and Chairman, Pharande Spaces, one of the most innovative developers in Pimpri-Chinchwad

Pune’s Cashless Bus Travel Project Nears Launch

(Indian Express, Nov 09 2010)

Pune is set to be the first city in the country to experiment with a common mobility card to enable commuters to travel cashless in city buses. The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) is making arrangements for an early launch, but whether the date will be November 14 as announced earlier, will be decided on Wednesday.

The PMPML, in association with the Unit Trust of India (UTI) Bank, is rolling out the plan and a UTI team had recently visited Pune to see how things could be worked out.

As reported in September, the PMPML had made it public that it will introduce the common mobility card in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad as part of a Central government project. The concept of single ticket for all systems of public transport has been envisaged in the National Urban Transport Policy. The funding will be shared by the Centre under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

“We have organised a meeting with UTI officials to finalise how the plan can be launched soon. However, details will be disclosed after the meeting on Wednesday,” PMPML Chairman and Managing Director Dilip Band said.

Under the plan, a commuter would be able to travel on trains and buses using a single card and without buying any ticket once transport operators modernise their fleet to make smart card usage possible. The card is used in many developed countries. The Union government had selected Pune for a pilot run in buses.

Another senior PMPML official said, “The UTI team recently paid a visit to see how things could be worked out for the common mobility card. They collected necessary information. We have started preparations to keep necessary infrastructure in place. Hopefully, very soon, the terms and conditions will be finalised and signed.”

As per the preliminary plan, each card will cost Rs 40 and will be sold at authorised outlets. Card-readers installed in buses will calculate the fare from the boarding to disembarking points. Money will automatically be deducted on swiping the card. Cards will be available at around 50 centres in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.