Press Note on HCMTR from Viman Nagar Citizens Forum

Convenor – Viman Nagar Citizens Forum



         A/3 Hermes Drome I, 211/3/1 Viman Nagar,

Pune 411 014

Cell # 9822056782 / 8975856782

Date           : 31st May 2019

To   : Shri Saurabh Rao – Commissioner, Pune è,

To   : Dr. Nitin Kareer – Secretary UD-1, Govt of Maharashtra è

To   : Principal Secretary – CMO, Govt of Maharashtra è

Copy      : Shri Devendra Fadnavis – Hon’ble Chief Minister Maharashtra è

Sub : State & Pune must immediately re-think implementation of HCTMR in Pune especially Viman Nagar BEFORE re-tendering process starts

Dear Sir / s

Our letter is long but must be read by someone who is qualified to understand. If it remains unread, it will be to your disadvantage.

It is a foregone conclusion that State and of course PMC suddenly announcing a spate of public transport systems is because the builder lobby is super excited as they can avail advantage of getting 4 FSI within a 500 m radius around TOD Zones.

Due to successive knee jerk decisions by State & ULB, the tax-paying citizens are at the receiving end by having their lives turned upside down for decades on end.

Unfortunately, PMC does not have a composite body to analyse the integration of multimodal transport requirement, studies, implementation & execution. Each project head works in his / her own cubbyhole where the problem of non-integration begins. PMC just reacts to State’s hysterical commands which are politically motivated. Whereby outdated plans & reports get executed resulting in waste of public monies.

Let no one deny that all infra projects are politically motivated at the behest of powerful lobbies and definitely not in general public interest. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to understand that.

Further it is needless to add that since public funds are in the hands of governance, project reports are client driven i.e. State & ULB  IL&FS (for BRTS), DMRC (for Metro) & now STUP, it does not matter in the least that public money is being misused, whether the transport system will be useful, will there be an overflow of public transport systems all at the same time and whether the basic reports are outdated or not.

Background on Public Transport since 2016è

(a)               BRTS Phase 1 (consultant IL & FS, no DPR was prepared for Rs. 1100 plus project) was rolled out hurriedly in mid-2016 to time it for 2017 Pune Corporation election è Both Pilot & Phase BRTS project are globally acclaimed embarrassments. If that label was now enough, PMC has started roll out of 68 km more despite objections on record to get their act together on the first two BRTS failed projects.

(b)               Metro (DPR consultant DMRC) was on hold since past 13 years and then magically all approvals came into place mid-2018 again in time for 2019 Lok Sabha election è On Nagar Road, Metro has killed BRTS by laying its elevated route over it. When questioned officially, PMC has no clue on what is happening as they state that all files have been handed over to MahaMetro which is a SPV ??!!

(c)                Now HCMTR (consultant STUP) is gaining ground suddenly to time it with Sep-Oct 2019 State elections è this will be by HCMTR route intruding into heavily congested residential areas AND running parallel to BRTS & Metro on Nagar Road.

Comment è Both State & Pune as ULB (i) pretend not to know the meaning of *integration*, (ii) ignore the importance of having a DPR (iii) prepare reports without stating ownership & current date (iv) do not appoint consultant who know their jobs, not just have “political connections”(iv) basically go off-mark on timing of planning & implementation

Basic objections to HCMTR in Puneè

(1)               Executive summary for HCMTR very conveniently does not have a date and an owner on it

(2)               Rapid Environment Assessment Impact Report dated February 2019 prepared by STUP Consultants Pvt. Ltd. (Hyderabad based) has taken inputs from this undated Executive Summary

(3)               This REAIR Feb 2019 is prepared taking reference of supposed detailed study conducted on transportation requirement for Pune City during 1978-1982. After this period, Pune has undergone massive demographic changes (majorly unsustainable densification due to unbridled construction which has not been captured in this Report).

(4)               This Report has taken into consideration DP 1987-2007 which is now long outdated and been replaced by DP 2007-2027 which actually was delayed to 2017 due to political ill will. In the meantime there was massive unsustainable construction, mostly illegal as PMC was unable to protect reserved spaces. Now it is labouring to connect services in reverse mode, purely on State Govt’s orders.

(5)               Because of the long delay in approving amended DP 2007-2027, the supposed Ring Road got included into inner city as Pune old limits expanded unsustainably. Therefore there rose a need for outer Ring Road. 

(6)               In most routes, HCMTR requirement of 24m wide 6 lane routes pillars are going to being laid over narrow roads of width 24m end-to-end, going over areas which are heavily forested and densified and where currently people are gasping for space to move because of uncontrolled construction, parking & hawker issues.

(7)               This Report most importantly states that “The HCMTR Alignment is a 24m six lane elevated / at grade road with two exclusive lanes for BRTS, one on each side and alignment is designed for a minimum design speed of 50 kmph”. This statement is defeated as HCMTR intrudes into Viman Nagar, while BRT is already at grade on Nagar Road 100 m away.

(8)               According to STUP Report, 34% of the land is in private hands and needs to be acquired – in addition to lands from Defence Ministry, Forest Dept, Irrigation Dept, etc. On the other hand, Commissioner’s Office Document ref. MaA/LAM10/2509 dated 25/11/2017 states clearly that 80% land must be acquired before project work starts. As this project is going to be executed in 3 three piecemeal phases, will the project be put on hold in mid-air when there is an objection ?

(9)               It may not be re-miss to state at this point that the very meaning of HCMTR is not understood by PMC who appointed STUP. From the drawing, it would be called PUNE’s very own HYBRID HCMTR. How can other motorized vehicles, commercials be mixed with HIGH CAPACITY MASS TRANSPORT ROUTE which has to achieve a minimum design speed of 50 kmph (cross section of a supposedly picture perfect drawing which shows BRT lanes, elevated walkway, carriageway for other vehicles, etc.) is a mystery.

Comment è (1) Correct meaning of *integration* is not understood to both State & PMC and                  (2) Correct meaning of * HIGH CAPACITY MASS TRANSPORT ROUTE* and that it should be constructed on OUTER RING ROUTE for last mile connectivity is also not understood

Now to come to queries & objections for Viman Nagar & VIP Airport Roadè

(A) Existing 7 km stretch of BRTS was rolled out in mid-2016 on ground level on Nagar Road. Currently BRT is killed because elevated MRT has been approved by political will to go right over it, not integrate with it. Metro DPR was updated in 2016 after which major demographic changes have taken place. These are not accounted for in multiple public transport plans that are just hysterical moves to superficially assure the public that the Govt is doing “something” to give them public transport of various kinds albeit belatedly.

(B) Proposed HCMTR route seems to be zigzag having plenty  of left & right turns which defeats the purpose & requirement of minimum 50 kmph speed è

      è From Sainath Nagar it crosses over  Nagar Road è enters Viman Nagar, takes a left to go along the road behind Phoenix Mall (which has a Police Chowky & Ward Office) è coming out at Neco Garden Road turning left to go to Sakhore Nagar (or going over Neco Nx) è coming out at VIP Airport Road ètaking a right to go straight till Airport è taking left at airport for 509 Chowk ç

(C )True HCMTR will be elevated, but has PMC given a thought where these pillars are going to land ? Or has complete paper planning been left to SUTP Consultants who are Hyderabad based, who will take their fees and disappear ? Who will be held accountable for yet another failure in Pune, even though BRTS is a great example ?

(D)  Here it may be very prudent to point out that if HCMTR is only for public transport as per CMP, so how can personal & heavy vehicles be included ? This seems like a violation of the DP and not in line with CMP & NUTP 2006

(E)   HCMTR route pillars are going to being laid over narrow Viman Nagar roads 24m end-to-end (whereas HCMTR requirement says 24 six lane going over in an area where people are gasping for space to move because of heavy congestion arising out of parking & hawker issues which PMC has not been able to control).

(F)   When PMC has not yet been able to acquire 15 parcels of land in private hands on 7 km Nagar Road which is supposed to be 60m end-to-end as per DP 1987, what hope does it have in acquiring this 34 % land when PMC’s senior officials have not found a solution yet ?

(G)  Most importantly, has PMC checked with Dunkirk Line (Southern Command’s Signal Station a very sensitive area) whether it will allow an elevated HCMTR to run parallel to it ?

(H)  Has PMC taken into account that Metro is currently terminating at Ramwadi because it has future intentions of jumping onto VIP Airport Road obviously on elevated basis. So is HCMTR & Metro going to compete with each other for two tier elevation? Or PMC planning to demolish some buildings to achieve this ?

In conclusion, we maintain that PMC should not be executing public transport systems at such a hysterical pace (a) without scrutinising overlap (b) without using updated reports, surveys, facts & data (c) without understanding the meaning of integration (d) by ignoring existing norms & orders (e) by guzzling up huge amounts of public funds that get over-run by some other infra because no vision document existed and last but not least (e) by using outdated documents just to cosmetically prove that the government is doing right.

It is sincerely suggested that to avoid getting into legal tangles, kindly cancel the re-tendering process, re-work the DPR & REAIR by routing HCMTR on the outer ring road and according to current requirements of Pune. And concentrate on correcting BRTS and Metro inside Pune limits.

Government has to do a REALITY CHECK and STOP acting hysterical in view of successive elections.

Thank you. Sincerely.

Qaneez Sukhrani

Convenor – Viman Nagar Citizens Forum