Vanaz Ramwadi Metro – Straight questions

With plans for the Pune Metro in full swing now, it is vital to get some basic answers to the planning and execution of the project. Especially in Prabhaag 36, where residential and commercial buildings are to be knocked down, as well as traffic disrupted with both Garware Bridge and Karve Road on the route. See Map below from the DMRC Report

Metro Route through Prabhaag 36

Prashant Inamdar of Pedestrians First had given DGPS a presentation on the Metro in  June 2012 and has also shared with us the letter of very pertinent questions that need to be answered by the authorities. Please read and share as widely as possible so that we can get the answers to our questions before our lives are turned upside down.

—————————————

Dt. 19-01-13

To,

Shri Mahesh Pathak

Municipal Commissioner

Pune Municipal Corporation

Cc:

1) Dr. Sudhir Krishna – Secretary (UD), Govt. of India

2) Mr. Manu Kumar Srivastava – Principal Secretary (UD), Govt. of Maharashtra

Dear Sir,

Subject : Vanaz Ramwadi elevated Metro – Straight questions and demand for independent review of Metro plan

 It is reported that the Central Government has given green signal for Pune Metro. It is further reported that the Central Government has asked PMC to submit final DPR with revised costing after approval from State Government.

At the outset we would clarify that we are not against any mass transport system project (BRT, mono rail, metro) as per need, feasibility and utility. However, we have found from our study that DMRC report for Pune Metro has not addressed several vital issues which are area specific. It appears that the only aspect that DMRC has considered while deciding feasibility of elevated Metro on Vanaz – Ramwadi corridor is whether metro columns and metro stations can be physically constructed at planned locations after required demolition of buildings and land acquisition. These issues become especially important as elevated metro has been proposed on the Vanaz – Ramwadi corridor which passes through fully developed areas and highly congested arterial roads of the city where further road widening is not possible and alternative roads for traffic diversion are also not available. This is bound to give rise to several serious problems. Please see attached ANNEXURE for details regarding some of the serious issues.

 We and other groups including experts have been raising all such issues with the Pune Municipal Corporation and subsequently with the Maharashtra State Government for the past more than three years. However unfortunately our demand for serious discussions aimed at addressing the issues has been ignored so far.

 We have some straight questions to PMC –

1) As per DMRC report Metro starting station is planned at Paud road kachara depot. With ‘Shivshrushti’ project approved at the kachara  depot site and area beyond being hilly with BDP reservation – Where and how will the main Metro station at starting point be located?

2) With the congested road from Paud phata to SNDT junction having flyover on one side and 100 metre height high rise building coming up on the other leaving no scope for road widening –  How will the metro alignment with pillars on road be achieved in Paud phata junction area from Police station to SNDT junction?

3) Karve road has uneven road width which is insufficient even for existing traffic, especially from Nal stop junction area onwards – How will the metro stations and metro pillars in the area be accommodated in the inadequate space available?

4) Karve road is the main arterial link from highly populated and still growing suburbs of Kothrud, Karve nagar, Warje, Paud road area and beyond. Even at present the road is highly congested with traffic volumes far exceeding road capacity. In fact there is a long pending proposal for flyover at the Nal stop junction extending almost up to Garware college. Being main arterial road, traffic volume will continue to be high and growing even after metro implementation. Will the reduced road width (after metro columns and stations) be sufficient for this traffic volume ?

5) Similar situation exists at several other locations on the route such as Deccan Gymkhana area, Kamgar putala area, Juna bazaar area, Maldhakka road, Sassoon hospital, Railway station area, Jehangir hospital junction and onwards up to bund garden – (a) How willmetro stations and pillars on road be accommodated in each such problem area? (b) Considering that all these are arterial roads, will the reduced road width after metro implementation be sufficient for traffic volumes on the roads?

6) Even with metro stations somehow accommodated at congested road side – (a) How will PMC ensure adequate circulation and walking space for pedestrians and commuters ? (b) Is it possible to provide sufficient parking space at metro stations for vehicles of metro commuters?

7) About 9 metres width of road will be blocked during construction period. This will create serious problems for the heavy traffic on the already congested roads. There are no suitable alternative roads available for diversion of traffic from the metro corridor roads (for example Paud phata junction, Karve road)  – How does PMC propose to manage the traffic and ensure mobility on these roads during the prolonged metro construction period?

8) Even at present large portions of the above roads do not have proper footpaths, pedestrian road crossings, cycle tracks causing considerable hardships to pedestrians, bus commuters and cyclists – (a) How will PMC ensure safety and convenience for pedestrians and cyclists during the metro construction period ? (b) Also after metro implementation with reduced road width and metro stations at road side, how will necessary safe usable NMT facilities on road (footpaths, cycle tracks etc.) be ensured by PMC? 

9) Metro passes on JM road and metro station is also planned in close vicinity of Pataleshwar cave temple. This being a protected 8thcentury archaeological site and Grade I heritage structure – (a) How does PMC propose to carry out such heavy construction within the protected zone without in any way affecting the cave temple ? (b) What happens if detailed impact studies indicate that there could be danger to the cave temple structure and hence ASI permission is not granted?

10) Metro has to cross entire width and all rail tracks of Pune Railway station at considerable height – (a) How does PMC propose to carry out the work without affecting the heavy rail traffic from Mumbai, Pune and onwards?

(b) What happens if Railway permission gets inordinately delayed on this account? 

11) Three major hospitals are located on the Metro corridor, Sasoon hospital , Jehangir hospital, Ruby hall clinic – How will PMC ensure unhindered mobility for emergency ambulance services in the area during metro construction phase and also post-metro with columns on road and metro stations ?

12) Metro stations will be close to existing buildings blocking the building front  – (a) How will fire engine and its mechanized ladders access the building (especially upper floors) and carry out urgent life saving rescue work in any emergency situation (for example, fire in the building? (b) Will such a fire in the building not also affect the adjacent metro station disrupting metro services and raising safety issues?

13) Metro route passes nearby but does not directly touch  high passenger density areas, Shivajinagar Railway station and ST bus stand, Pune railway station and ST bus stand.  It will not be practical and convenient for passengers to come out of the railway / bus station and walk the distance up to the metro station with luggage in hand – How does PMC propose to make Metro directly and conveniently accessible and useful for these train and bus passengers?

14) Vast majority of commuters (especially those using own vehicles) in the Warje, Kothrud, Paud road area branch off from Karve road to proceed towards Law College road – Pashan – Baner – PCMC area, Mhatre bridge – Swargate – Hadapsar – Katraj, Shastri road, Tilak road, Laxmi road etc. – How will the present Metro route from Vanaz along Karve road and JM road be of use to these commuters? If not, how can one expect reduction in road traffic and required minimum ridership for metro?

Some other vital questions –

15) Which properties on Metro corridor are likely to get affected for metro implementation – part or full demolition of buildings, land acquisition etc. ? (Property owners need to be informed at this stage)

16) BRT is being implemented at considerable cost along the Vanaz – Ramwadi Metro corridor which means duplication of mass transit systems on the same corridor – (a) What will happen to BRT on the corridor with metro pillars located in the central BRT lane? (b) With metro on road, will it be possible to operate BRT with dedicated road centre bus lane and bus stations ? (c) Will BRT and Metro on same corridor not lead to underutilization of both metro and BRT due to shared ridership?

17) PMC has proposed grant  of 4 FSI on both sides of Metro corridor. Civic amenities (water supply, electricity, drainage system, effluent treatment, solid waste handling, roads, parking space, open spaces, play grounds etc.) are highly deficient even for the present city growing at a fast pace. With sudden fourfold  leap in growth due to 4 FSI in large stretches of metro corridor area – (a) What immediate and fast track plans does PMC have to cater to needs of increased growth in the area as grant of 4 FSI appears imminent with metro approval ? (b) Does PMC have the financial and other required resources to implement any such plans in the time frame within which this astronomical growth is likely to take place once 4 FSI is granted?

18) Metro cost will get revised upwards considering the four year delay in implementation – (a) How will necessary total funds be raised by PMC? (b) What direct or indirect financial burden will be put on citizens in terms of any taxation, levies, surcharge etc.?

It is high time that PMC should inform people about what it has in mind about Metro implementation vis-à-vis feasibility issues and impacts. General vague answers (‘We are aware and will take care of all aspects during implementation’ etc.) will not suffice. In earlier pilot BRT case when various issues were raised before project approval stage, PMC did not give any specific replies but only stated that they will take all care, address various issues and even thereafter if any problems are noticed, these will be attended during implementation. Today the state of pilot BRT shows that nothing worthwhile has been done by PMC and after spending all the allotted public money, what we have is not even a dedicated bus lane on the entire Katraj – Hadapsar corridor, leave aside BRT. For the new Phase I BRT too history is repeating with no answers forthcoming from PMC to any of the issues raised and work progressing fast on what we believe is the wrong track.

Citizens have a right to know specific answers from PMC to the above and such other straight questions before PMC takes final decision about the Metro plan and sends it to Government for final project approval.

We sincerely believe that the issues raised by us are very serious and are bound to adversely affect the successful implementation of Vanaz – Ramwadi corridor of Pune Metro. The project will be severely hampered and may even get stalled indefinitely.

 Metro is an irreversible long term commitment for the city and any decision proved wrong later would be absolutely disastrous for the city. We as citizen stakeholders are very much interested in having a successful and useful mass transport system for Pune. Now that Central Government has asked PMC to revise project costing and finalize the DPR, we demand that PMC should first undertake a total comprehensive review of the Pune Metro project with study by independent experts and assessment of impacts to determine feasibility. We and other Citizen groups and experts who have studied the Metro plan should be given adequate opportunity to present their views to the Review Committee.

We wish to meet you to discuss the matter and request for earliest appointment.

We await your positive response in the matter.

 Regards,

Satish Khot   President National Society for Clean Cities, Pune 

 Sujit Patwardhan Trustee Parisar, Pune 

Jugal Rath President PMP Pravasi Manch, Pune

 Prashant Inamdar Convenor Pedestrians FIRST, Pune

 Dr. Ketan Gokhale Railway expert Ex-MD, Konkan Railway Corporation

 Dr. Pratap Raval Town Planning Expert