Remember when a drive in Pune was pleasant and relaxing? Yeah, so do we. Now, it seems like the city’s traffic multiplies overnight. Ever since the industrial boom in 2000, Pune’s rapid urbanisation has led to an alarming increase in population. The city’s dense travel infrastructure can no longer be upgraded by means of additional flyovers.
The residents of Pune breathed a sigh of relief when the long-proposed Metro project was finally approved, sanctioned and commenced in December 2016. However, it seems like those aren’t the only plans in store for our beloved city. The next 5-6 years will see investments of Rs. 75,000 Crores for a 3rd Metro line, a new airport, and a Smart City project, amongst other upgrades.
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Land acquisition of 1200 hectares has begun for the construction of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje International Airport in Purandar. The airport is to be named after Maratha Chhatrapati Sambhaji who was born in Purandar fort. This will be developed by the Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) basis. Devendra Fadnavis has estimated for the first flight to take off in 2019.
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While the new airport is under construction, the Lohegaon Airport will be expanded to accommodate increasing air traffic. Post expansion, the airport will be able to handle 2-4 million additional passengers.
Connectivity to the new airport will be taken care of via the proposed 129-km long Ring Road – the longest in the country. This Rs. 17, 412 crore project will connect more than just the new airport. With eight flyovers, one tunnel and six bridges, the road will go through four districts of Pune – Haveli, Maval, Mulshi and Khed, and will pass through 58 villages. Kiran Gitte, CEO and metropolitan commissioner of the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA), says that the work should begin by October this year. PMRDA also expects around 15-20 townships built along the ring road, and is ready to invest Rs. 20 crore to develop their basic infrastructure and roads.
PMRDA is also set to start work on Pune’s 3rd Metro Line that will connect Hinjewadi to the heart of the city, Shivajinagar. Unlike the first two lines, which are funded by the government, the new line will be built on a PPP and is expected to cost around Rs. 7,500 crore.
Apart from all of this, an additional Rs. 10 crore is dedicated to the restoration of rivers, including the Mula-Mutha River, among others. PMC has plans of investing another Rs. 18,000 crore over the next four years to further improve the city’s current transportation. This will cover the Bus Rapid Transit System, which promises dedicated bus corridors, the High Capacity Mass Transit Route, and a cycle track.
Ah, such big plans, such big dreams. Let’s hope Pune in the next 4-5 years looks as futuristic as promised! What do you think?
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