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Congress manifesto or Mission Impossible script?

Party makes over-the-top promises, with not even a perfunctory mention of how it hopes to accomplish the big tasks; Congress candidate fails to provide satisfactory answers

From setting up an IIT and IIM in the city to establishing 100 new playgrounds for children; from building 12 new lakes of 1 TMC capacity each to starting Metro and Monorail and providing free bus service for citizens — Congress party has come up with a Mission Impossible for Pune in its city manifesto released on Sunday, four days before the city goes to the polls on April 17.

Promises, promises! The party published the manifesto at Congress Bhavan on Sunday. Minister Harshawardhan Patil, Pune LS candidate Vishwajeet Kadam and party’s city chief Abhay Chhajed were present at the release. Pic/Mohan Patil
Promises, promises! The party published the manifesto at Congress Bhavan on Sunday. Minister Harshawardhan Patil, Pune LS candidate Vishwajeet Kadam and party’s city chief Abhay Chhajed were present at the release. Pic/Mohan Patil 

While the cover page of the manifesto carries an impressive picture of its Pune candidate Vishwajeet Kadam, he hardly shares his thoughts on any of the big dreams sold to the public in the manifesto. The party has also thrown in the promise to set up six new ITIs, one in each city constituency.

While assuring 24x7 water supply to the city, Chhajed said, "There are many lakes in the city, which are not currently utilised. We will convert all of them into water reservoirs of a capacity of 1 TMC each to resolve water issues and ensure round-the-clock water supply."

It should be noted that none of the lakes, including Pashan or Katraj lakes, have one thousand million cubic feet (TMC) capacity. One of the big city dams at Khadakwasla has a storing capacity of 1.97 TMC.

The manifesto promises to provide free public bus service in the core of the city to resolve traffic congestion and to wean citizens off of their dependency on private vehicles.

While PMPML, the civic bus service undertaking, is already suffering losses, the manifesto assures citizens of another 500 buses on the roads. A consignment of a similar number of buses is already stuck in red tape.

After being asked to break his silence, Kadam said, "Infrastructure development of the city is my single-point agenda. I am an environmentalist and I will preserve biodiversity and green cover of the city while initiating various development schemes."

Congress senior leader Harshawardhan Patil finally said, "Party manifesto is an ongoing process. If it is not accomplished in the next five years, it will continue."

Dealing with city's rubbish

The Congress also says it would treat 100 per cent of the garbage. In the last two months, the city witnessed protests from villagers of Uruli Devachi, where the PMC has its garbage depot. They are angry with the municipal authority for failing to treat the waste and just dumping it in their village. Since the current carcass plant of the city has been shut for many months, PMC is dumping animal carcasses at PCMC garbage depot. The Congress hopes to resolve the issue and their manifesto makes a passing reference to building an advanced carcass treatment plant.

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