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.
The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation was honoured by by presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Prithviraj Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Shri Ajit Pawar and NCP President Shri Sharad Pawar. These distinguished dignitaries had very generously agreed to inaugurate several key infrastructure projects at PCMC:
- The new PCNTDA building near Akurdi Railway station
- The Traffic Park at Bhosari
- The flyover near Spine Road
- PCMC’s very own Nala Park
- The Science Park at Auto Cluster
We, the architects of India’s most progressive planned city, were truly inspired by the kind words of praise, encouragement and hope that these honoured guests offered at the inauguration ceremonies. It is clear that the Government has recognized Pimpri-Chinchwad as the City of the Future, and that the city can depend on the fullest support as it continues to progress.
Nevertheless, there are reasons to be cautious in all this optimism. It is true that the careful and futuristic engineering of development at PCMC by the PCNTDA has become a national and even international benchmark for town planning. However, there have been various challenges along this road to progress. We need to take these hurdles into consideration if the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation is to fulfill its maximum potential as the City of the future.
Considering the pace at which real estate development has been taking place, certain lacunae in adhering to the PCNTDA’s master plan were unavoidable. One of the most glaring examples of this was the emergence of unauthorized structures in various pockets of the PCMC.
Thankfully, this issue is being dealt with firmly. The authorities have embarked on a massive drive to deal with such structures, and we are confident that all illegal constructions will be erased from the landscape by the end of 2013. However, we cannot deny that these are damage control measures which would not have been necessary if the damage had never been allowed to occur in the first place.
More Road Connectivity
Another area of concern is lack of adequate road connectivity between certain key areas of the PCMC and areas such as Talegaon. Because of the massive potential for industrial and residential development in and around these areas, they have seen most of the road construction initiatives. In the process, road connectivity from these locations to some of the most important growth areas of PCMC has been largely ignored.
Paradoxically, the areas referred to as Phase 2 in the PCMC development plan hold the highest potential for real estate growth. Thanks to the availability of large land parcels at relatively lower prices, residential and commercial realty development has picking up rapidly in areas such as Moshi. In the meantime, Moshi has become a hotbed for property investments because of the International Convention Centre being jointly developed by the Maratha Chamber of Commerce and the PCMC.
Despite this, there is still no sufficient road connectivity between Phase 2 and the larger industrial hubs. This is going to prove to be a huge stumbling-block for the overall growth of the region. The lack of a suitable road network means that people living in areas like Moshi face difficulties in reaching their workplaces in these employment clusters. This issue must be addressed on a priority basis. A city like PCMC must do everything in its power to ensure that its growth pockets are not isolated from each other.
PCMC Needs To Expand
Yet another issue is that the population within the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation is growing at an annual rate of 73%. Such a rate of growth makes it necessary to provide more spaces for development. Unfortunately, there have been limitations put on the city’s potential for geographic expansion by Red Zones (non-development areas).
It is imperative that more of the region’s outlying villages be included in the urbanization plan. There are enough examples in India of what happens when a city does not expand geographically in tandem with its population growth. Such a situation must not be allowed to develop in the PCMC. Also, PCMC needs to be able to accommodate the rapid growth in population in terms of providing more educational institutions, shopping complexes, healthcare establishments and entertainment zones.
Encourage Green Development
Finally, I would like to touch on PCMC’s major thrust towards sustainable real estate development. It is no secret that green development is the future of real estate all over the world. In fact, many of the bigger residential townships and commercial complexes in the PCMC have already adopted the ‘green development’ mantra. The new PCNTDA building itself is a resounding statement to how important sustainable development has become to the city.
Nevertheless, there is still a noticeable lack of enthusiasm within the region about the benefits of green homes and workplaces. One of the reasons for this is lack of awareness. Many of the region’s residential property developers and buyers have not been attuned to the advantages of environmentally sustainable properties. I urge the State Government to join hands with the PCMC to bring about greater awareness and eventual adoption of this vitally important principle.
I also strongly advocate better incentives for developers and buyers of green homes in the PCMC. The use of non-conventional energy sources and sustainable waste water management does not only have a positive impact on the environment and on the overall quality of life. Such measures reduce the strain on municipal resources, resulting in significant revenue savings. Unless the benefits of these savings are passed back on to the developers and buyers of sustainable properties, we cannot expect a more wide-spread adoption of the ‘green’ mantra in PCMC.
We gratefully acknowledge the importance that the visiting dignitaries have given to the City of the Future by gracing it with their presence. At the same time, we sincerely request them to take heed of PCMC’s most urgent requirements.