HCMTR Alignment Changes September 2019

Our letter to PMC Commissioner regarding latest proposed changes in HCMTR

Dear Shri Saurabh Rao, Municipal Commissioner, Pune   C/C Shri Aniruddha Pawaskar HOD Roads, PMC

We read in the press that on Monday 9th September 2019, you had invoked Emergency Powers to propose realignment of HCMTR, and that the General Body had approved the same. As affected parties, we believe that every project of the PMC, funded by our money, should be transparent to the public and would like the answers to the following questions:

  1. The public notice was in newspapers on 12th September, a holiday, giving one month for public feedback. On 13th September, we could see drawings of proposed changes in Mr. Yeolekar’s office, but detailed DP maps of the changes were still not uploaded on the PMC Website. It is important that DP maps are uploaded to understand the exact changes being proposed. Also releasing a notice on a holiday, maps not being available for the first half of the next day in the PMC office, and followed by a weekend – shows us that PMC is not interested in giving aggrieved citizens a fair chance of understanding the changes and restricts time to give feedback. The maps finally uploaded on 17th Sept do not show survey numbers and are very faint. Why is the PMC not giving the citizens a fair chance of grievance redressal?

  2. The tender for HCMTR was floated in February 2019. Land eviction notices were issued to private parties in April 2019. Now the alignment has been changed. This raises two points: A)  According to the PMC circular dated  28th Nov 2017 (attached), no tenders for a project can be floated unless at least 80 % of the land has been acquired for the same. Why was the tender floated before land was acquired? B) With the new alignment, please release a) the list of land notices sent earlier that now stand withdrawn and b) list of land acquisition notices that will be served – the unsuspecting public deserves to know exactly which houses/shops/roads/hill slopes will be affected now. Please ensure that this process is transparent and the lists of names and addresses are posted on the PMC website.  The psychological cost of displacement is not borne by PMC, but can be very high on the affected.  

  3. From the docket dated 9th September 2019, (attached), it appears that a stretch of 13.142 km of the 36 km long HCMTR is to be realigned. This is one third of the alignment and thus constitutes a substantial modification under sec. 22A of the MRTP Act 1966, hence a public hearing of suggestions and objections is mandatory as per Sec 37 of the same act. Please clarify why the current tenders should not be scrapped. New tenders should be floated only after the State govt publishes the approved modifications, and 80% of land finalized has been acquired.

  4. Kindly give a clear position on the  final status of Bal Bharati-Paud Phata Road. It was obvious in the DP maps since 2011 that two roads had been proposed on the Law College Hill/ARAI/Forest land off SB Road. Kindly give a clear reason that prompted the merger of these roads now, as reported in the press.

  5. Planning and commissioning piecemeal EIA studies, and then scrapping or realigning projects on afterthoughts, is expensive. This assumes importance as the city is likely to see many projects of large value that warrant comprehensive and satisfactory EIA reports.  

  6. It was stated in the press that the HCMTR project will now be taken up in two phases – the elevated road first and ramps in the second phase. There are 33 ramps proposed in the HCMTR project – does the PMC have the land for these ramps? Please release detailed maps, that show the exact space on existing roads that will be left/taken up by the ramps. Given the illogical behavior in which PMC is implementing this project, we may well end up with an elevated road with no ramps for access or ramps that create greater congestion on existing roads below. 

Finally, PLEASE note that the order of the Hon’ble High Court of Bombay dated 15.01.2016 in PIL 156 of 2006 will apply to all roads aligned along Law College tekdi, and in fact, on any hill and urban forest in Pune. The court has  mandated a detailed Environment Impact Study under the recommendations of a Committee of Experts before taking any fresh decision on constructing a road on this ecologically sensitive zone. Since HCMTR has been ‘merged’ with the Bal Bharati road, the PMC is duty bound to obey the direction of the Hon’ble High Court and conduct a fresh, detailed study of the environment impact of not one, but two roads in this section. The rapid EIA conducted by STUP for the HCMTR does not serve the purpose as it falls short of the court order mandate and does not include a hydro-geology study of this hill which, which is one of the biggest environmental concerns here as, you are very well aware, this tekdi complex contains major aquifers. Please note that any construction of a road on this hill without strictly adhering to the directions of the Court in the judgement referred to above will amount to contempt of court, http://dgpspune.com/wp-content/uploads/Judgement-Bombay-High-Court-PIL-156-2006-BalBharatiPaudPhata-Road.pdf 
We look forward to hearing from you, Thanking you