Just the other day, I got forwarded a change.org petition.
Are you familiar with the phrase “three strikes and you’re out”? It was designed for that sentence above.
One, forwarded: no good ever came out of a forward. Two, change.org: this may be a bias on my part, but people tend to get upset about the smallest of things and demand change. Three, petition: it just sounds like a lot of work, and my entire life is geared toward doing as little of it as possible.
All that being said, though, this petition was about giving gaalis to the proposed HCMTR, and was sent to me by a person who knows a thing or two about Pune. Ah, I said to myself, and I signed.
What, you may be asking, is HCMTR?
The High Capacity Mass Transit Route (for that is its name) is a proposal by the Pune Municipal Corporation to alleviate traffic congestion in the city. All to the good, you may be thinking to yourself, nodding approvingly. Until the details become clear, and a fog-like soup of confusion descends.
First, the HCMTR was proposed… wait for it… in the year 1987. Thirty two years ago. Sachin was yet to make his debut. Rahul’s dad was Prime Minister. The Walkman was a cool thing to have.
This March, the Pune Municipal Corporation announced a dedicated cell to expedite its construction. You want an insider tip? Don’t hold your breath.
Second, if you happen to visit the official page pertaining to the project, this is what they have to say about the HCMTR:
“Objective of this project is to de-congest roads in the city as heavy vehicles can travel via the ring road to bypass Pune instead of entering the city.”
Agreed. But then, a few lines in…
“…they have identified a High Capacity Mass Transit Route corridor (HCMTR). The High Capacity Mass Transit Route will pass through Bopodi, Aundh, Shivajinagar, Erandwane, Kothrud, Karve Nagar, Dattawadi, Parvati, Bibvewadi, Wanawadi, Salisbury Park, Hadapsar, Mundhwa, Kalyani Nagar, Yerawada and Kalas areas.”
Uh, which of these areas, pray tell, qualify as “bypassing” Pune City? At least ten of them, if not more, ought now to be considered an integral part of our city. If you are on the HCTMR as currently proposed, you are bypassing nothing.
And you know why that is so? It is because this plan to “bypass” Pune City was drawn up in the period 1978-1982. I am not joking, dear reader, although I do not blame you for thinking that I am.
We’re well on our way to constructing a road that will bypass our city as it looked forty years ago. Every time I think about this fact, my jaw carries out an extremely intimate conversation with my ankles. Every time.
And it will not surprise you to know that this is only the hors d’oeuvres. If you wish to be further entertained by all that is wrong with the HCMTR, you might want to read more about it here. I have only scratched the surface. Go on, read – and if you are convinced, sign. And if tiny specks of outraged foam are to be found around your mouth, share.
I’ll say this much for our dear old PMC: it made me do something I would never have thought possible.
I willingly forwarded a change.org petition.
#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime