WB to aid transport projects in Pune
Transport infrastructure in Pune and the twin townships of Pimpri-Chinchwad is set to get a further boost. Besides the central government’s JNNURM schemes, sustainable urban transport projects aided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank will be implemented in the cities. Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad are among ten cities in the country that have been selected by the Union government where the projects will be implemented over a period of four years, beginning this year. The other are Ajmer-Pushkar, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Indore, Mysore, Naya Raipur, Jalandhar, and Thiruvananthapuram. In Pune, the proposed two major works include development of cycle tracks at city level, which will also act as feeder network within a 2 km distance of the pilot BRTS (Katraj-Swargage-Hadapsar route), and improvement of pedestrian infrastructure. Works related to pedestrian infrastructure development include reconstruction of footpaths, provision of subways or foot-overbridges, pedestrian prioritisation measures through traffic signals, road markings, construction of new footpaths, cycle lanes, peripheral vehicular parking and street furniture and lighting. The estimated cost of these projects is around Rs 120.58 crore. Sustainable urban transport projects aided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank are to be implemented in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. In Pimpri-Chinchwad, two new Bus Rapid Transit Corridors have been proposed, besides improvement of the pedestrian infrastructure. The two BRTS routes are: Nashik phata to Wakad (7.8 km), and Kalewadi to Dehu Alandi road (13.2 km). The estimated cost for the project is around Rs 674.59 crore. The government applied to the GEF for sustainable urban transport projects in India for encouraging application of the National Urban Transport Policy. Significantly, all social and environmental aspects are to be actively considered at all stages of project planning, designing and execution. An ‘Environmental and social management framework’ (ESMF) has been prepared to ensure that all projects meet the national- and state-level environmental and social requirements. It will also make sure the same are consistent with the safeguard policies and provisions of the World Bank. The ESMF spells out the potential impacts due to the projects and outlines measures required. Municipal commissioner Pravinsinh Pardeshi said that after following all the necessary steps, the next aspect would be inviting tenders. The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has already fixed May 5 as the date for holding a meeting of stake holders for their views, concerns and grievances regarding the proposed two BRTS routes. The meeting will be held at the Meghaji Lokhande hall at Pimpri. While the draft of the ESMF is available on the PCMC’s website, the corporation has appealed to citizens to submit any suggestions or objections regarding the ESMF before April 30. As per the ESMF report, the projects proposed in GEFSUTP in Pune are aimed at improving pedestrian and cycling facilities along the two pilot corridors — Katraj to Swargate and Swargate to Hadapsar. While the cycle infrastructure improvements would act as feeder services to the existing BRTS, improvement of pedestrian facilities would improve safety of pedestrians. These would ensure greater safety and efficient integration of pedestrians and cyclists in the city. Construction of cycle stands on either side of BRTS stations, traffic signal priority for cyclists and pedestrians have also been proposed. In Pimpri-Chinchwad, the proposed works include provision of dedicated bus lanes in the middle of carriageway, on either side of the median, location of bus stops at a distance of 250 metres on either side of junctions and at midblock locations at distances of 500-700 metres beyond junctions, besides provision of separate lanes for pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles.