The stasis that Pune has witnessed on the infrastructure front since the Mumbai-Pune Expressway was made operational in 2002 may be coming to an end, what with investments of Rs 65,000 crore lined up over the next five to six years on the construction of a new airport, a new Metro link, and a Ring Road, among other projects. Taken together with the Rs10,000 crore that has been committed for water, sewerage and Smart City projects, they have the potential to upgrade Pune’s infrastructure to the next level.
Work on a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the Rs 0,000-crore Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje International Airport at Purandar would start after a nod from the Centre. The Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) would develop the airport on a PPP basis — Singapore’s Changi Airport Group is reported to have evinced interest in the project. Land acquisition for the purpose has started and if the 1,200 hectares needed are handed over on time, MADC could build the airport by 2019-20, a senior official says. The airport would cater to 20 million passengers per annum.
Till the new airport comes up, the growing air traffic needs are to be met by upgrading the existing airport. While in Pune recently, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had said, “ With this expansion, the airport will be able to hand 8-10 million passengers per annum from the present 6.5 million.”
Providing connectivity to the airport would be the proposed Ring Road, a Rs 17,412-crore project that has just been approved by the state government. The Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) would build the 128-km eight-lane Ring Road. Kiran Gitte, metropolitan commissioner and CEO, PMRDA says, “the project would be funded through the Town Planning Scheme wherein land parcels along the Ring Road are to be developed and monetised”.
PMRDA is also building the third Metro line in Pune, connecting the Hinjewadi IT-BT hub to the heart of the city. Three consortia of companies have qualified to bid for the 23.1-km project. The Centre has approved in principle 20% Viability Gap Funding for the project, making it more attractive to investors, Gitte says. To be built on on a PPP basis, the line is expected to cost Rs 7,500 crore.
Work on two lines of the Pune Metro, to cost Rs 11,420-crore, is already underway. While construction work has begun on the first route from Pimpri Chinchwad to Agriculture College, bids for the second line from Vanaaz to Ramwadi are being re-tendered.
For better rail connectivity to Pune, a third line would be added to the existing link with Lonavala. Preliminary work on the 63.84-km line, to cost `943.60 crore, has started.
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has also announced plans to invest Rs 18,000 crore in the city’s traffic and transport system over the next four years. Some of these investments are part of Pune Smart City initiatives and would fund BRTS, HCMTR, NMT cycle tracks, etc.
So, there is a lot on Pune’s plate as far as bridging of its infrastructure deficit is concerned. It is now up to the authorities to implement the projects in a timely and efficient manner, improving the living standards of its residents.