Pune's Vehicle Count Surges Past Population, Traffic Woes Intensify

Pune's Vehicle Count Surges Past Population, Traffic Woes Intensify

Mangesh Dighe, Environment Officer at PMC, acknowledged the concern over increasing vehicle numbers but emphasised the positive impact of vehicles manufactured with BS6 technology, which produce less pollution

Ankit ShuklaUpdated: Friday, March 29, 2024, 01:30 PM IST
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Pune's Vehicle Count Surges Past Population, Traffic Woes Intensify | X/@vijaykakad

The Pune Regional Transport Office (RTO) has revealed a staggering increase in the number of vehicles registered in the city, reaching a total of 47,24,961. This surpasses the population count recorded in the 2011 Census, signalling a significant rise in vehicle ownership. However, this surge has compounded existing infrastructure challenges and environmental concerns, particularly regarding traffic congestion.

Speaking to The Free Press Journal, RTO official Sanjeev Bhore highlighted the unprecedented surge in vehicle registrations, with motorcycles comprising the majority at 34,66,987, followed by cars at 8,45,526. Additionally, auto-rickshaws (14,700) and cabs (46,335) have further inundated Pune's roadways, leading to daily gridlocks across the city.

Vaishali Patkar, Director of Climate Collective Pune Environmental Foundation, emphasised the need for improved public transport facilities. She stated, "For the past 10 years, we have continuously urged authorities like the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Urban Development Department, Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML), and Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMDRA) to enhance public transport services. If public transport is enhanced, citizens will be less inclined to opt for private vehicles."

Dr Sanskriti Menon, Senior Programme Director at the Centre for Environment Education, underscored the significant rise in private vehicle numbers and its detrimental impacts. She explained, "Congestion not only leads to lost time but also stress and road rage. Air pollution from vehicle emissions poses serious health risks, affecting various organs beyond the respiratory system. Moreover, the city's reliance on private vehicles hampers inclusivity, making navigation difficult for children, elderly, women, and people with disabilities."

Menon further highlighted the adverse impacts of road widening initiatives due to traffic congestion, which often involve the cutting down of trees, exacerbating environmental degradation. She stated, "Widening roads and building flyovers attract more private vehicles, worsening congestion. This approach also compromises pedestrian safety, with footpaths and cycle tracks being sacrificed for road expansion."

"One more impact, which is not evident, is the rise in vehicle numbers also impacting groundwater. These 47 lakh bikes and cars also need to be parked somewhere. Advanced Center for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM), an organisation working on groundwater management, has cautioned that the new buildings are being built with two or three floors underground, and such excavation has depleted groundwater levels across the city," she added.

Mangesh Dighe, Environment Officer at PMC, acknowledged the concern over increasing vehicle numbers but emphasised the positive impact of vehicles manufactured with BS6 technology, which produce less pollution. He added, "Old vehicles will be phased out over time, and PMPML's focus on green fuel for buses, such as CNG or electric vehicles, is a step towards mitigating pollution."

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