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).
As 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.
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: The water supply department of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has put a clause in tender bid documents making it mandatory for contractors to level the road after the pipelines are laid.
Earlier, the contractors would lay the pipes on roads and refill the trenches with uneven murum, resulting in inconvenience for motorists. Later, the asphalting work of these rough patches was given to new contractors for an extra price. Now, the one who lays the pipes will have to level the road with tar.
Ambadas Chavan, additional city engineer and chief of water supply department, PCMC, confirmed that such a clause has been included in the tender document.
Joint city engineer Pravin Tupe said, “Earlier too the PCMC used to get the trenches filled from the contractor. But now it is being explicitly mentioned as a mandatory condition while inviting bids for future projects. “The tender process will be completed in two months while actual work is expected to begin before the end of this year.”
The condition has been put up in the bid document for 18 projects of the water supply department, estimated to cost Rs 6.71 crore. Of these, 12 projects are to be completed in six months and five in a year. One other project has a two-year deadline.
Sulabha Ubale, group leader of Shiv Sena corporators, said, “The contractors dig up roads and other open areas but fail to fill the trenches. Accidents occur due to uneven roads. There is no co-ordination between the water supply department and the engineering department, due to which there is delay in reasphalting work of roads. The PCMC should ensure that the contractor who has dug up the roads for pipelines fills the trenches and asphalt the roads. ”
PUNE: The traffic department has given a green signal to 372 new autorickshaw stands in the city, Manoj Patil, deputy commissioner of police (Traffic) announced.
According to Patil, the traffic department has planned a special drive against drivers plying rickshaws without meters. This drive will be carried out in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad during the next seven days.
“Many rickshaw drivers do not use meters. and charge exorbitant fare. So action has been planned against them,” he said.
PUNE: The standing committee of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) approved a proposal to acquire additional land at Kasarwadi for the flyover being built near Nashik phata.
The PCMC will have to acquire land along the Mumbai-Pune highway stretch for providing the “necessary links” to the flyover. The land to be acquired has not been shown in the PCMC development plan.
The municipal corporation has already started the construction work of the two-storied modern flyover which will go across the railway line as well as the Pavana river at Kasarwadi. The PCMC will be spending over Rs 90 crore on the flyover.
In another decision, the committee approved a proposal to allot work to an agency for carrying out a survey for the development plan of the Tathawade village which was merged within the PCMC limits last year.
PUNE: Municipal commissioner Mahesh Zagade’s admission that the city is increasingly becoming a pedestrian-unfriendly city has boosted the hopes of the citizens groups and social organisations that the municipal corporation will now show some seriousness towards pedestrian safety and convenience.
Endorsing Zagade’s views that the city needs a policy for pedestrians, and that there is a need of a substantial budgetary provision for providing such facilities, the PMP Pravasi Manch, Sajag Nagrik Manch and Pedestrians First, has urged the municipal commissioner to start implementing some low-cost measures at the earliest.
The organisations have come out with a ten-point charter of demands including removal of encroachments on footpaths. The organisations have demanded that all encroachment material on footpaths should be seized by the corporation. Dumping of debris or construction material on footpaths is also a major cause for concern, the organisations said.
They also said that, all footpaths which are to be constructed or those under construction should have pedestrian friendly design with proper entry and exit points at intersections and chowks. The footpaths should also have facilities for wheel-chair bound persons.
The property boundaries and the property entrances should be marked distinctly to avoid any confusion and disputes. The footpaths should have railings for safety of pedestrians. The organisations have demanded that the zebra crossings should be repainted and that the traffic signals should be synchronised and should have signal phases for pedestrians to cross the road safely.
Another point raised by the organisations is about damaged footpaths which have not been repaired for several months.
Pedestrians First has also highlighted the problems faced by pedestrians using the Jungli Maharaj and Fergusson College roads after the one-way traffic plan came into effect on these roads a year back.
The group has demanded that pedestrian refuges be created and that there should be effective speed breakers a head of the pedestrian crossings, with proper signages for motorists. It has also demanded that the corporation ensure proper continuity of footpaths, and strict enforcement to make footpaths free of encroachments.
Last Monday, at the general body meeting, Zagade had said that Pune is increasingly becoming a pedestrian-unfriendly city. About 37 per cent of the people walk to their destinations everyday. Zagade had stressed on the need for signals for pedestrians.
According to Pune Municipal Corporation’s ( PMC) additional city engineer, Shriniwas Bonala, of the total 5,000 chowks in the city, only 175 have traffic signals. And, as many as 52 traffic signals are non-functional, he added.
PUNE: The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) is planning to come up with a comprehensive parking policy for the twin township area.
Expressing the need for such a policy, municipal commissioner Ashish Sharma on Tuesday said that pedestrian safety issues need to be considered comprehensively while planning for road traffic and transportation projects.
Sharma, who was speaking at a symposium on land-use and transporation in Pimpri on Tuesday, said that the present approach regarding parking policy is ad hoc and that there is an urgent need to come out with a comprehensive policy.
Stressing on proper planning for pedestrian facilities, Sharma said that proper footpaths should be provided on all roads. While planning for footpaths the preference should not be on vehicles. Ways and means should be found out to prevent the encroachments that often result due to wider footpaths.
Issues like whether footpaths should be at the road level or at a higher level, need to be addressed, he said. The symposium was organised jointly by PCMC, Pimpri-Chinchwad New Town Development Authority (PCNTDA) in association with Institute for Transportation and Development Policy ( ITDP) and GEHL associates.
PUNE: The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) will start demolition of the Chapekar memorial tower at Chapekar chowk in Chinchwadgaon on August 25 to clear the hurdle in construction of a flyover.
In 2004-05, the PCMC had proposed to construct a rotary flyover here which would have had left the Chapekar statue tower in the middle. But, later, the PCMC decided to construct a normal flyover at the spot at the cost of Rs 21 crore.
Chapekar chowk located at Chinchwadgaon is one of the busiest chowks in Pimpri-Chinchwad township. Seven roads meet at the chowk. It has vegetable markets, municipal schools, PCMC Zone B office, post office, commercial offices and interior designer residential buildings located around the chowk leading to heavy movement of vehicles and people throughout the day.
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PUNE: The traffic police have expressed the need to build a permanent road divider on the Indira Gandhi flyover at Pimpri to prevent people from flouting the one-way rule on its approach roads.
A letter asking the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) to build the road divider will be sent shortly, said Manoj Patil, deputy commissioner of police (traffic).
Patil stated that the letter will be sent once the traffic police make an announcement about the one-way restrictions being permanent. He said that local residents had objected to the one-way plan in the first few weeks of July.
The traffic police began implementing the one-way on a trial basis at the beginning of July to reduce traffic congestion. The police put up barricades to enforce the one-way, due to which motorists coming from Chinchwad or Morwadi on the Pune-Mumbai highway have to take a detour via the Ambedkar junction.
People coming from Bhatnagar have to take a detour via the Ahilyabai Holkar junction to reach the hotel Gokul junction. However rickshaw drivers and two wheeler riders have moved the barricades aside to create gaps so that their vehicles can pass through them.
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PUNE: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has offered a loan of Rs 452 crore to the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation to fund several infrastructure projects in the twin towns.
The PCMC Infrastructure Company Ltd a special purpose vehicle created by the PCMC to execute these projects has told the ADB to give details of the terms and conditions for sanctioning the loan.
The PCMC plans to develop 12 bus rapid transit system (BRTS) routes which includes BRTS corridors. The PCIC will collect taxes, development charges and advertisement charges through BRTS corridors.
Municipal commissioner Ashish Sharma, a member of the PCIC board of directors, said, “The PCMC will develop 12 BRTS routes. We have completed development of two routes. The work on three routes, namely Nashik Phata- Wakad road, Kalewadi Phata Dehu Alandi road and Aundh – Ravet road is in progress. The PCMC has to develop other three routes which require funds. The department of economic affairs has approved non-sovereign lending by the ADB to the PCIC.”
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PUNE: The traffic police plans to implement a new system at the Bijlinagar chowk in Pimpri-Chinchwad township to curb the accidents taking place in the area. The earlier proposal of channelising traffic with the help of barricades has been opposed by local residents.
Manoj Patil, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), said, “The traffic police had put up barricades on a trial basis, but they were removed on Sunday as local residents opposed the move. Commuters pointed out that they had to travel more than a km while coming from the Akurdi railway station and heading towards Chinchwadgaon because of the barricades.”
Elaborating on the new plan, Patil said, “Speedbreakers will be built on the road from Akurdi railway station to Chinchwadgaon to curb accidents at the busy chowk. The new system will be monitored for 15 days and finalised only after ensuring that it had led to reduction in accidents and congestion. If no improvement is seen, a consultant will be appointed to prepare a new plan”.
Sachin Kale, a resident of Akurdi, welcomed the decision of removing the barricades at Bijlinagar chowk. “This will reduce travel time between Akurdi and Chinchwadgaon as one will not have to take a turn at the Bijlinagar chowk to go to Sambhaji chowk and come back to the Bijlinagar chowk,” he said.
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