Pune: While the proposed High Capacity Mass Transit Route (HCMTR) by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) was being opposed by political leaders from opposition parties as well as residents and activists over the issues of environment and land acquisition, the activists have now questioned the financial feasibility of the project.
Speaking about the issue, an activist and member of HCMTR Nagrik Kruti Samiti (HCMTR-NKS), Sushma Date, said, “A Government Resolution issued on September 19, 2019 categorically stated that the State Government will neither fund nor stand as guarantor for the HCMTR project. The funds will have to be raised completely by PMC and the citizens are deeply concerned as to how the civic body plans to fund the HCMTR now that Central and State governments are not ready to fund or be guarantors. What provisions are made in the budget for the HCMTR?”
However, Head of PMC Road Department Aniruddha Pawaskar has stated that there are various options and PMC will do everything in its power to make the project a success. The HCMTR project, which is being pushed by the PMC, will pass through Bopodi, Aundh, Shivajinagar, Erandwane, Kothrud, Karve Nagar, Dattawadi, Parvati, Bibvewadi, Wanawadi, Salisbury Park, Hadapsar, Mundhwa, Kalyani Nagar, Yerawada and Kalas areas. Two and three-wheeler vehicles will not be allowed on this route. There will be nine entry and exit points with 33 ramps.
“PMC has only floated tenders for part A of the project, which includes HCMTR elevated corridor including BRTS stations, up/down ramps, portal frame, railway span and road furniture for which an estimate of Rs 5,192 crore has been calculated. The PMC has not revealed that an additional cost of Rs 306.98 crore is estimated for part B of the project, which includes Grade Roads, railway spans of HCMTR, parking area, etc. Along with land acquisitions, the whole expenditure has been slated to be up to Rs 8,572 crore,” Date said.
Date also added that the land acquisition cost estimated by PMC is unrealistically low.
When asked about this, Pawaskar said, “Although I am not the exact person to talk about the finances, there are several options that the PMC might explore for the project. Some part of the funds will be from our budget, some funds will be raised through transit-oriented development and there is also the loan component.”
While the project has been facing a lot of opposition, he said, “This project has been due since 1987, and in the Developmental Plan of 2017, it was finally passed. Now that the PMC has given all the sanctions and we are in the final phase, why are people questioning if it is financially feasible? Where were they earlier? I am sure the PMC will do everything to ensure that the project is completed.”