The streets of Pune illuminated with vibrant celebrations as thousands welcomed the New Year in style on Sunday. Yet, as Monday dawned, citizens grappled with persisting challenges—traffic snarls, inadequate public transport, among others. In conversations with The Free Press Journal, Pune residents outlined their comprehensive wish list for 2024, encompassing various critical aspects for the city's betterment. This assumes significance with the looming Lok Sabha Elections.
Cybersecurity expert Sandeep Godbole, who also conducts heritage walks in the city, stressed the need for maintaining existing infrastructure alongside progressing new developments. "We require well-maintained roads, stringent traffic rules, and expedited completion of projects like the Metro to propel Pune's growth," he highlighted.
Author Manjiri Prabhu emphasised the significance of expanding green spaces within the city. "Preserving our natural spaces, like tekdis, by building elevated roads instead of encroaching upon them, is crucial. The city needs expansive parks and natural habitats to foster a wholesome environment," she stated.
Ranjeet Rane, a birding enthusiast and Vetal Tekdi Bachav Kruti Samiti (VTBKS) member, urged for cleaner air, rivers, roads, and drinking water. Sachin Londhe, Vice Chairman of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Cooperative Housing Societies Federation (PCCHSF), highlighted the issue of inadequate public transportation. "PMPML buses are scarce, causing inconvenience. We need more accessible modes of travel," he asserted.
Radhika Dhingra from the NGO Badlaav advocated for better public toilet facilities. Meanwhile, Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Media Manager Amol Shinde proposed combating pollution by introducing more electric buses. He also highlighted the critical issue of illegal hoardings, which deface the city. "Strict regulations governing banners and hoardings should be implemented," he added.
Author R Raj Rao drew attention to the issues of street dogs and noise pollution, urging the PMC to swiftly address the former and enforce regulations against noise disturbances. "Prioritising the adoption and sterilisation of stray dogs is crucial, as is cracking down on noise pollution beyond designated hours," Rao emphasised.
Akshay from Pune City Life, a popular social media page for city updates, underscored the urgency of completing the inner and outer ring roads. Additionally, he emphasised the need for a fully operational civilian airport in the city to expedite its growth.