Two prominent social groups -- Green Thumb Environment Group and Justice for Jawan -- have joined hands to launch a signature campaign to promote the light rail transit (LRT) instead of the metro rail in the city. 

"We have collected 4,000 signatures and plan to garner support from one lakh Punekars, following which the signature campaign will be submitted to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and city guardian minister Ajit Pawar," said Lt Col Suresh Patil (Retd), president, Green Thumb Environmental Group.

Patil added that the LRT is a better option to the Metro Rail or even Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). "LRT is faster and can be constructed on the existing infrastructure in the city," Patil said. 

Ex-servicemen have suggested an LRT pilot project on the 11-km stretch between Katraj and Swargate junction on Pune-Satara highway. They say that the project can be implemented on the riverbanks of Mula-Mutha. A demonstration of the operation of LRT has also been submitted to Mahesh Pathak, the civic body commissioner. 

Commander Ravi Pathak (Retd) president, Indian Ex-Servicemen's Movement, said, "Metro or the Mono rail is outdated. We only need a strong political will. The construction can begin in a year after getting the approval. Moreover, even the existing unused BRT routes can be used for the LRT project."

Air Force Chief (Retd) P V Naik, who has also signed for the campaign, said, "This is quite practical and useful for citizens."  About 55 persons from the Air Force, including Air Marshal V A Patkar and Air Marshal S Bhojwani, have signed in favour of the LRT. 

Civic body Mayor Mohansingh Rajpal, who is supporting the LRT project, said, "I am a practical person and I am convinced about the benefits of LRT. My party may like the idea as well."