After the success of the Kochi metro, Pune may soon follow suit. Come 2021, and this city will have its own metro system. As the current public transport system fails to be efficient, the metro is being welcomed with open arms. However, there are several implications of this massive development project. The construction of the metro will impact the environment severely as several trees will be cut down to be replaced with state-of-art metro stations and facilities for citizens.
Pune365 speaks to Brijesh Dixit, Managing Director, MAHA Metro, to find out more about the city’s infrastructural needs, the metro and its environmental impact.
The main conversation surrounding the Pune metro project has been the environmental impact that it’ll have on the city. You have stated numerous times that afforestation will take place and that for every tree axed, 10 trees will be planted. Is there a specific plan ready to roll out this initiative to enhance the city’s green cover?
According to the Development Project Report (DPR), 685 trees are likely to be cut in the process of construction of the Pune Metro. It is a statutory requirement to plant five trees for every tree cut. MAHA Metro Pune is targeting to plant at least ten trees for every tree that might be impacted. The trees that we will plant would be across Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad and will bring down the emission of carbon dioxide by 137 tons per year. We are committed to protect our environment and provide citizens with the most sustainable transport solution. Recently, on ‘World Environment Day’ we kick started the plantation drive in Akurdi by planting 25 saplings most of them being indigenous. We are planning to further beautify this five acre land with various species of trees.
Apart from tree plantation Pune Metro has various other green initiatives like solar energy that will fulfill almost 65 per cent of power requirement, rain water harvesting, water recycling plant at stations and depots, reduction in carbon footprints, green building techniques, bio-digester technology for waste management. Pune Metro plans to adopt Bio-digester technology with an objective of keeping eco-friendly clean environment and make use of organic waste and waste water. It has been planned to use this technology for all proposed stations and depots and Pune Metro buildings. It has been planned further to implement the project with utmost human approach and the least adverse social and environmental impact.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) put an interim stay on the construction of 1.7 km of the metro line along the Mula-Mutha Rivers. This stay was lifted by the Supreme Court. The next hearing of this case by the NGT is on July 20. Are you worried about the NGT’s decision? Will the wetlands be affected by the metro project?
The Honourable Supreme Court has clearly specified that the work of the metro can continue along the river front. MAHA Metro is extremely sensitive to environmental impact and is taking all efforts to conserve environment. We have already appointed a consultant to carry out an environmental impact study on the river bed and suggest all mitigation efforts that the metro needs to take to safeguard the environment.
How will this metro project benefit Pune?
MAHA-Metro’s Pune Metro Rail Project is the 205th metro in the world and ninth in India. It is one of a kind project which will be safe, reliable, efficient, comfortable, easily accessible, commuter friendly, environmentally sustainable and affordable for each and every citizen of Pune. Travel needs of the differently abled and all sections of the society – senior citizens, children, expecting mothers, etc. will be catered by Pune Metro. Following are the benefits of Pune Metro Rail Project; it will help curb usage of personal transport vehicles, minimizing air and noise pollution, reduction in fuel consumption and in road accidents, faster mode of transport; ease of travel and comfort of travel, optimize public transport, will reduce traffic woes.
Are you confident that this project will be completed by 2021?
As it is rightly said, ‘Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.’ Pune Metro Rail Project is blessed to have unwaivered support from the government of India, government of Maharashtra, local bodies and citizens. With such immense backing and our highly dedicated staff, we are pushing ahead to complete the project well in time.
Will the metro ticket prices be affordable to all?
Yes, it will be very much affordable to one and all.
Public transport in Pune has been highly criticised for its inefficiency. How do you see the metro solving this problem?
As per the Urban Development Ministry of the central government, every city crossing 20 lakh of population must have Mass Rapid Transit system (MRTS) and MAHA-Metro’s Pune Metro Rail Project is one such initiative. The project is adhering to exhaustive use of technology to get the best output within sanctioned cost, in a time bound manner, with highest quality and safety. Pune Metro will incorporate first mile-last mile connectivity by feeder service and have multimodal integration for easy and hassle free travel experience.
The Delhi metro is the parent project. What are the learnings you have gathered from that project that you will implement in the Pune metro project?
Having good ridership declares the success rate of any Metro Project. Hence as per our learning, we have incorporated first mile-last mile connectivity by feeder service and multimodal integration for easy and hassle free travel experience. All stations of the Pune Metro Rail Project will have FOBs which will aid passengers/public for road crossing along with ease of access to the station and it will be accessible even to the non-ticket holder.
How will this metro project represent Pune’s cultural, historical and social glory?
Pune Metro will have state of art and thoughtfully designed stations focusing on the needs of every segment of the society. The stations will have distinctive architecture reflecting Pune’s rich history and cultural heritage and vibe. Open spaces around the stations will be beautifully landscaped keeping in view the traditional green ethos of the city.
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