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Unguarded BRTS shelters vandalised as PMC snoozes

Frequent incidents of robbery and illegal activities at Bus Rapid Transit System shelters beg the question why the PMC has not deployed security at the stops

Lack of civic sense and inadequate security arrangements on the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) route by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has resulted in stray incidents of vandalism, breakage of iron railing and robbing of wooden furniture at its bus shelters.

BRTS stop
Unguarded: Missing railing and broken windowpane at a BRTS stop near Blue Hills society, Yerawada

The most recent of such incidents took place on Monday at a bus stop in Yerawada, where some offenders broke windowpanes and uprooted the banisters.

Besides, a few bus shelters have turned into a gambling zone for anti-social elements who find the place homey enough to play cards, as not a single security personnel has been stationed to protect the shelters.

City-based activists have sent a report to the PMC, urging them to take adequate measures and protect the place from further destruction.

The work on the 16-km BRTS stretch on Pune-Ahmednagar highway (Yerawada to Wagholi) started in September 2012 and the route was supposed to be ready by March 2013. However, after a safety audit by IIT-Bombay suggested over 150 changes in January, PMC assured citizens that the route would be functional by March 15, 2014. However, the routes seem far from ready for Puneities.

Due to the PMC’s neglect, all the 22 bus stops are in a poor condition. If the PMC had appointed a security guard at each bus shelter, cases of robbery and vandalism at bus stop could have been averted.

Qaneez Sukhrani, member of activist group Nagrik Chetna Manch, had taken photos of the damage and sent it to the PMC, asking them why they were not deploying security at the stops.

Sukhrani said, “Earlier the PMC missed the deadline to start the BRTS route, which is leading to a nightmare for
residents and commuters of the area. If this was not enough, now the bus shelters are been vandalised. People are seen playing cards inside the shelter as there is no one to keep them away.”

“Not appointing security at each bus shelter even after the glass and wooden cabins have been installed is an open invitation to robbers to walk away with anything they want.” added Sukhrani.

Namdev Barpatre, PMC superintendent of Engineer Road and in charge of the route, said, “The cost of one bus shelter is R30 lakh. A few months back we deputed four security guards who worked in night shifts. We have requested for 20 more guards, but we are waiting for the approval.

We will ensure that security is available at the earliest so destruction of bus shelters can be stopped. We will also be doing night patrolling so that we can catch hold of robbers.”

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