With the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) getting the go-ahead to construct the 1.4-km flyover at the busy Swargate Junction, passengers and transport experts have expressed apprehensions about the benefits of the project to bus commuters. PMC’s standing committee approved the Rs 145-crore project on Monday, and also made it known that work on the project would commence soon.
But, with 6,500 buses — both PMPML and ST — passing the junction daily, the main concern is the inconvenience likely to be faced by the 4.5 lakh passengers the travel by buses from Swargate Junction every day. According to the experts, PMC has not taken on board the concerns of the commuters, and has made no alternative arrangements to facilitate their movement during the period of the construction, which is estimated to take nearly three years to complete. They also opine that the BRTS route would have to be modified to make way for the flyover, which would cause further delays to their journey.
A G Waghmare, general manager, BRTS, said, “We would have to carry out major changes like shifting the bus stops from centre to the side of the road. The existing BRTS carriageway would also have to be reduced at Swargate Junction. It’s a known fact that the flow of PMPML and BRTS buses at the junction is the highest with over 4.5 lakh passengers travelling via this route every day. We are asking for a micro planning before commencing the flyover work.
Jugal Rathi, PMPML Pravasi Manch member, said, “Unfortunately, the PMPML will obey what the PMC is ordering them. The project requires a proper planning for the PMPML bus commuters in advance. It is still not clear how the PMPML is planning to divert the buses and BRTS passengers? These basic things should be sorted out first.”
Ranjeet Gadgil, program director, NGO Parisar, said, “There is no systematic detailed project report (DPR) for the project, which was asked by us from the PMC and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). How can a flyover project get approved if no cost-benefit analysis study has been conducted?
PMPML and BRTS passengers would certainly be hassled with this project. This flyover has been envisaged to only reduce the vehicular congestion at Swargate for short-term benefit. An integrated plan is the need of the hour wherein the PMPML depot, Swargate State Transport bus stand, rickshaw stand and pedestrians should be be incorporated.”
Meanwhile, Vishal Tambe, PMC standing committee chairman, said, “The flyover would help reduce traffic congestion at the junction, where five roads meet at Keshvrao Jedhe Chowk, also called Swargate Junction. The proposed flyover has been getting postponed since the year 2007-08, and now we are finally doing it.” The proposed flyover will have two lanes, with a grade separator and two pedestrian subways at Swargate junction.
Vijay Divte, depot manager, Swargate ST stand, said, “We have already begun plans to relocate some bus stops, especially those going towards Kolhapur and other nearby destinations, to Katraj Junction. The remaining arrangements would be initiated depending upon the guidelines provided to us by our seniors.”
Mired in delays
1995: The PMC had planned its first flyover in Pune at Swargate Junction, but later the Paud Phata flyover was mooted in the PMC Standing Committee and Rs 15 crore was earmarked for the same
2001: Seven Loves Hotel flyover near the Swargate Junction on Shankarshet Road and Swargate flyover issue was once again stuck in red tape
2007: PMC planned to work with MSRDC to construct the flyover. Earlier the flyover was proposed along Shankarshet Road and Satara Road upto Bibwewadi Junction
2011: PMC released Rs 40 crore for the project and the estimated cost was projected at Rs 99 crore
2012: Previous cost projection of the project was Rs 157 crore
2013: Rs 12 crore was deducted as consultancy charges and the final project cost was decided at Rs 145 cr