The Maharashtra state cabinet gave its assent to the much-awaited Pune metro rail project, approving of the 14.925-km elevated route from Vanaz to Ramwadi. The cabinet also decided to form the Pune Metro Rail Corporation (PMRC) for the implementation of the metro project, which is to be completed within the next five years. The cabinet nod for the metro project comes close on the heels of the Union urban development ministry’s decision to consider metros in cities with a population of more than 20 lakh.
Benjamin said the state government decided to form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to be called as the Pune Metro Rail Corporation to implement the project. “The government plans to complete the construction of the metro on this route in the next three years and make it operational in another two years. Pune will have a metro within five years,” he said. Benjamin said the estimated cost for building the metro on this route would be around Rs 2,593 crore. “The state government has decided to follow the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) model, where 10 per cent of the total project cost will be contributed by the Pune Municipal Corporation while the state and Centre will contribute 20 per cent each. The remaining 50 per cent will be raised by the SPV using various options like build-operatetransfer (BOT) and public private partnership (PPP).”
A government communiqué declared the metro project as “urgent”. It said that the PMC has been appointed as the “executive body” to take decisions about the project till the SPV is formed. The project requires 18.44 hectares of land to construct the depot and metro stations. The communiqué pointed out that not much land would need to be acquired for the project as the roads on which the metro will run are about 30 metres wide.
The state government also decided to appoint a high-powered committee headed by the chief secretary to ensure the smooth implementation of the project. Following the approval from the cabinet, the state government will sign a memorandum of understanding with the central government to start the project.
Land acquisition, which has often stalled several projects including the Bus Rapid Transit System in Pune, will not be a problem for the 14.925-km elevated route of the Pune metro rail project from Vanaz to Ramwadi. The route will be extended to Chandannagar and a separate line will go towards the airport.
State additional chief secretary of the urban development department T C Benjamin said that land acquisition for the Vanaz-Ramwadi route would be smooth. "The state government has made a detailed survey of the land required for the Vanaz-Ramwadi route. About 18.44 hectares land is required for 15 elevated stations and a depot in Kothrud. Of the total land requirement, 14 hectare belongs to the government and the PMC and four hectare is held by private owners. The 14.925 km stretch is planned on roads which are 30 m wide and hence no more land acquisition is necessary for constructing this metro route," Benjamin said.
The elevated metro route was approved by the state government on Wednesday. As all development works will have to be frozen along the proposed metro corridors with immediate effect, Benjamin added. The route will be extended to Chandannagar and a separate line will go to Pune airport. The 75-km metro project encompasses Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad involving both civic bodies. However, the PMC will build the second corridor, which falls in its jurisdiction, first. The PCMC had recently sought a detailed project report from the DMRC for the metro which would fall in its area.
The state government and the civic body will start land acquisition process by issuing a notification soon. "Private properties on the acquisition list include an asylum near the railway station and a property near the old post office at Deccan Gymkhana. The PMC will acquire these properties and pay the compensation," Benjamin added.
A detailed project report (DPR) on the Pune metro prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) states that the PMC needs 64,435 hectares of land for the entire metro project. The government, as of now, will concentrate only on the Vanaz-Ramwadi route. The PMC has a challenge in freezing the development along this route. "The government should freeze all developments along the corridors. For any constructions within 50 m of the proposed alignment a 'no-objection certificate' should be introduced so that infrastructure expenditure at a later stage is avoided," the DMRC has said. "The project has to be implemented through densely populated areas along highly congested routes. In spite of all efforts taken to mitigate the inconveniences and hardships to the public, certain sensitive land acquisitions and disruptions are unavoidable. If the project has to go through fast, a visible support from the government and the city corporation should be available. If the project implementation is delayed, the city will become more crowded and it will be practically impossible to carry out construction activities later. Therefore, a carefully drawn strategy is necessary for implementing this project," t The Pune metro rail project is now "urgent" and the state government will now forward the Detailed Project Report (DPR) to the union urban development ministry, planning commission and finance ministry for approval. Once it rolls, Pune would be the first city in India other than the metros to have a metro rail.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the state and Union government will expedite the joint venture bringing out the financial involvement of each party, liability for loans raised, the administrative control in the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a policy on fare structure and operational subsidy. "The state government will immediately start the process to form an SPV named the Pune Metro Rail Corporation (PMRC). Representatives of the state and central government would be appointed as directors. A high-powered committee will be formed under the leadership of the chief secretary of the Maharashtra government to ensure smooth rolling of the project," said state additional chief secretary (urban development department) T C Benjamin. "The work should not halt just for the formation of the PMRC. Hence, the PMC is being appointed as executive body to take decisions about the project till the SPV is formed," Benjamin said. A government communiqué declared the metro project as "urgent" and stated that the government plans to complete the construction of the metro on this route in the next three years and make it operational in another two years.
Meanwhile, the PMC will have to modify some Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) routes so that the BRTS is complementary and not a competition to the metro. On overlapping of the two routes, the DMRC in its letter to the PMC said: "The metro corridors have been planned on roads where there is no BRTS track at present. Therefore, the BRTS routes already planned by the PMC and the PCMC may need slight modifications so that the routes work as complementary to the metro and not in competition."the DPR states.