The much-awaited Pune Metro rail project has inched forward with the civic body approving the Detailed Project Report (DPR) to be forwarded to Maharashtra and Central government for its clearance.
With NCP, Congress, Shiv Sena and MNS supporting the ambitious proposal which envisages a 31.59 km long metro line going through underground and elevated rails, the civic administration is now faced with the task of funding the project which in its first phase is estimated to cost Rs. 6,000 crore.
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) which hopes to complete the first phase comprising two corridors connecting travel points in this fast expanding satellite city of Mumbai by 2014 -15, will be confronted with the recommended freezing of all developmental work along the proposed routes negotiating densely populated areas.
While tabling the proposal before PMC general body for clearance on Wednesday, the Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Zagde told the House that 40 per cent of the project cost could be covered with the State and Central government contributions while 30 per cent could be expected from market borrowings in addition to additional mopping by way of taxes.
Modelled on the Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is to set up a company to be named Pune Metro Rail Project Ltd (PMRC) under the Special Purpose Vehicle Company Act to implement the project.
Under the proposed routes, the corridor one is planned from neighbouring Pimpri-Chinchwad industrial township to Swargate in the main city which will have 5 km underground and 11 km elevated rails. The 16 km route will be dotted with nine elevated and six underground stations.
The second corridor of the proposed Metro will have only elevated route of nearly 15 km with 15 stations covering the area from Vanaz to Ramwadi.
According to the DPR “for the implementation of the corridor one and two of the metro, the Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporations should take approval from the State cabinet.”
The next step is the approval of the Union Ministry of Urban development, Planning Commission and Finance Ministry with a request for financial participation through equity contribution to be followed by signing of an MoU between the State and the Centre.
If the project gets through all the intricate technicalities and formalities needed for its implementation, this burgeoning city - the country’s auto and IT hub as well as the political and cultural nerve centre of Maharashtra - stands to gain a lot for its over 40 lakh population, confronted with a chaotic road traffic scenario.
Among the listed advantages are reduction in energy consumption compared to road based transport system, drop in air and noise pollution and cutting short journey time by 50 to 75 per cent.
“If the project is to go through fast, a visible support to it from the government and city corporation should be available. If its implementation is delayed, the city will become more crowded and it will be practically impossible to carry out construction activities later on,” the DPR has warned.