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.
The Mumbai-Pune corridor produces one third of India’s electronic waste. A stakeholders’ consultation on e-waste management was conducted in Pune to address the issue.
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (MCCIA), Janvani, Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP), and German Technical Cooperation (GTZ)-Advisory Services in Environmental Management (ASEM) shared ideas on the issue.
Director of GTZ-ASEM Juergen Bischoff expressed the need for a legislation for electronic waste management in India. He said the GTZ has been working towards finding solutions to the problem of e-waste through city-level interventions and policy dialogues.
The GTZ launched a new project on e-waste management. One of the main objectives is to bridge the gap in e-waste management between the formal and informal sector. The project is aimed at improving the situation of e-waste management in Pune, Pimpri and Chinchwad.
Greenpeace India campaigner Abhishek Pratap stated the need for the placing of Extended Producer Responsibility on the shoulders of manufacturers of Electronic and Electrical Equipment (EEE).
Lakshmi Narayan of KKPKP spoke on the role of the informal sector in the recycling e-waste. H.M. Modak, a consultant working for the Pune Municipal Corporation said that the Rochem Concord Blue has been assigned the task of recycling 700 metric tonnes of waste every day.
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PUNE: The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) hopes to start garbage collection through volunteers of Swach, an NGO using hopper rickshaws and Ace vehicles.
The volunteers will be taught to drive under the PCMC’s backward classes welfare schemes by the All India Local Self Government Organisation at the rate of Rs 3,000 per person.
The expenditure incurred on training male volunteers will be borne through the PCMC’s urban poverty alleviation scheme, while the expenditure incurred on training female volunteers will be borne through the PCMC’s backward classes women welfare scheme.
Meanwhile, a proposal will be tabled before the standing committee to seek its approval for incurring an expenditure of Rs 3 lakh for training 100 volunteers of Swach for the house-to-house garbage collection.
PUNE: A few days of steady rain and the civic administration’s clear and present worry about water seems to have almost ended. However, the lull in the rains mid-season in the past two years have caused worry lines.
This year, the monsoon arrived in Pune city in early June, but after a few days of rain, a dry period set in during which the levels in all the reservoirs of the dams that supply water to the city plummeted.
Such over dependence on the four dams has raised queries in many quarters and city planners must either look at new sources of water for the future or look into rigorous conservation methods for the future.
Already, activists say, with the monsoon’s revival, all the long-term plans for water-saving measures, appointment of a consultant by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to overhaul the supply and installation of meters will be rolled up and stashed away.
The city and its water needs have grown from a mere 5 sq km in 1817 to 700 sq km in 1997. According to the civic body’s statistics, between 1901 and 2001, the city’s estimated urban population has grown 25 times, from 1.64 lakh to about 42 lakh. Civic infrastructure, which should have grown proportionately, has failed to keep pace with the population.
The civic body has drawn up a Rs 260-crore plan and sought funds from the state and central governments for the project. The PCMC has sent already two letters to the irrigation department requesting 120 MLD water from the same reservoir.
Another plan is to lay a direct pipeline from Khadakwasla and Varasgaon reservoirs to meet the long-term drinking water requirements of the city under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). This will reduce percolation loss that is now experienced with the Mutha canal.
A new dam with a capacity of 30 MLD daily water supply on Pavana river near Ravet has been planned for the PCMC’s needs. However, the state irrigation department is not enthusiastic about these proposals. It wants PMC to improve the water supply network and implement water-saving measures instead.
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It is a city on the move but it just cannot get its mobility issues right. Pune has everything going for itself. There’s growth in the manufacturing, IT and ITeS industries. The city is attracting FDI and it’s real estate is booming. Above all, it is becoming a magnet for talent from across the country. But the problem is that Pune has failed to provide its growing population an efficient way to move around—be it roads, rail or even airways.
There is a logjam in every mode of transport barring the expressway to Mumbai. It is because of this that Maharashtra’s second-largest city’s progress report looks grim and certainly not befitting the city’s aspiration of becoming a metropolitan city. The seventh-largest city in the country has so far failed to meet the growing mobility needs of its citizens.
Pune has a public road transport system that is completely inadequate and fails to meet the requirements of the millions dependent on it. The experiment with BRTS — bus rapid transport system that segregates traffic with bus-only lanes — failed and has no takers now, thanks to a botched execution. The public transport body has failed to acquire the requisite number of buses to keep even the existing transport system running.
There is a need to double the bus count on roads but the elected civic members continue to debate whether they should have buses with doors on one side or both sides. Meanwhile, the queues on bus stands are wilting as many move towards privately owned modes of transport. The share of two- and four-wheelers on Pune roads is close to 70%, while buses account for less than 2%. The city’s limited road space is getting increasingly clogged and navigating this space is becoming increasingly nightmarish.
Plans for a high-capacity mass transport systems for the city have been in the making for over a decade. For a few years, Pune romanced with Konkan Railways’ sky bus metro system but this was abandoned after extended debate. The next plan is to introduce a metro rail based on a report from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. But this too appears to be headed the BRTS way, with bungling aplenty.
There is no consensus on how to build the metro — overground or underground, standard gauge or broad gauge, this route or that. And then there are the funding issues — these would make for another story. As for rail connectivity, links have been at a dead-end for decades, with the railways failing to do anything substantial or even acknowledging that Pune city is growing and with it the railways needs to grow. Nearly two lakh people use these trains everyday but all they have got in decades is some extra coaches.
There are 17 pairs of trains between Pune and Lonavala, and they are run with nine compartments each. The rail link between Pune and Mumbai has stagnated as well. Even the famous Pune-Mumbai Deccan Queen has increased the journey time. Office-goers from Pune use this train to travel to work, but it fails to reach them to Mumbai before 10 am.
When it comes to air connectivity and airport infrastructure, the story is even more disturbing. The proposed international airport project has been in the air for 18 long years but it keeps getting into one air pocket after another. The site for the proposed project has changed every few years and it has yet to get a final address. It has moved from Chakan to Rajgurunagar to Saswad and is still moving.
Pune uses the airport belonging to the Indian Air Force and this limits the civil air traffic movement. The Lohegaon airport is of strategic importance to the IAF, as it is the base for Sukhoi fighter jets. So aircraft movements are controlled and there are only limited slots available, which holds up the civil air traffic. Landing and take-off timings are restricted and only 38 flights are permitted. The airport has a single runway, limited taxiway, an inadequate apron space and no space for cargo facilities.
The city will have to find a way out to move people and goods within the city, and in and out of the city, if it wants to remain an attractive destination for financial and human capital. Pune is expected to hit the 50 lakh population-mark in two years, while Pimpri Chinchwad is expected to cross 16 lakh with a few more lakh in the cantonment board-run areas in the region.
So metropolitan Pune will have more than 70 lakh people to move. We are also looking at economic activity expanding. After all, there are the massive investments by auto and auto components makers around this region, growing IT exports from Pune mean that IT parks are mushrooming, half a dozen SEZs are coming up and educational institutions are booming.
Civic activists have been talking of fast-growing Pune desperately needing a comprehensive mobility plan that covers the entire region but nobody is listening. The city MP is busy hurtling from one mega sporting event to another and the other guardian angel is busy with international cricket.
Pune, In A Jam was written by Geeta Nair and was published in the Financial Express.
More than 600 citizens in Pune resolved to dedicate one hour every week to improve the city’s environment on Sunday. The first activity they will undertake is the cleaning up of all the 150 nullahs that flow through the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation limits.
The first ‘Pune Resolve Conference’ held at Garware college on Sunday was organised by Samarth Bharat Vyaspeeth (SBV). Around 100 NGOs working in health, education, public governance, environment, transport, river conservation and bio-diversity participated.
Read the rest of this TOI article, Citizens pledge one hour every week for city.