Pune: For centuries in the fight between environmentalists and development; generally it is the development which wins over. For nearly a month now, the Balbharati Paud Phata link road has become a bone of contention between city activists and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
Both have been steadfast in their roles with activists wanting the road to be shifted while PMC is adamant to build the road at the proposed site. In this fight, the city too is divided into two halves. One is in favour of development while the other is in favour of the environment.
Despite backlash from activists, PMC is all ready to float the tender process for the construction of the proposed road. According to PMC official VG Kulkarni, there is no thought to abandon the project. “Within the next couple of days, we will float the tenders. The tendering process will take 45 days and after that, the work will begin on this stretch. Probably by mid-May the work will begin”, he said.
Environment vs Developement
Last year too there was a clash between activists and PMC over riverfront development. Activists wanted to clean the lifelines of the city Mula-Mutha rivers than beautify its bank while PMC with funds from the Centre went ahead with the concretisation of its bank. Recently, the Supreme Court gave a green signal to the civic body to go ahead with the river-front development.
The proposed road was mentioned in the 1987 DP on Vetal Tekdi. According to the officials, this stretch will ease the traffic on Law College Road. The 2.1 km stretch and 30 metres in breadth now will be in elevated form with one end at Kelewadi on Paud road while the other right at Balbharati building. The project is estimated at Rs250 crores.
Pune City is known for its green cover, hills and rivers flowing through the city. Historically, Pune is a city which is home to many automobile companies, IT parks, educational institutes, and science institutes among many other varieties.
However, in the past few years, the city is rapidly becoming a heat island with heavy rains in a short period of time creating flood-like situations within an hour. To tackle the situation, the city is soon to get the Radar system. Yet, thinning of the green cover has become a burning issue in the city.
Here's what urban planner have to say
Veteran Urban planner Ramchandra Gohad while talking to Free Press Journal said, “Way back in 1990, we had proposed six models on Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis. Shivajinagar-Erandwane to SNDT is one among them. Geographically, Vetal Tekdi is one arm of Chandni Chowk hill Paudphata-NDA and MIT is the I section on this Y hill structure."
"Then Pune Metropolitan Region (PMR) was spread up to Talegaon, Alandi. Envisioning the traffic in the future, the road was suggested”, he informed, adding a ring road was also proposed outside the city area. We had studied how many trucks pass through the city area. If we consider 100 trucks, only 20% stop at various places in Pune 52% go towards Mumbai and five to 10% towards Ahmednagar and Solapur.
"In urban design, we have no option but to have better infrastructure for the flow of traffic. Urban areas have become vulnerable”, he said.
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