The actualization of Pune Metro dream took its first baby steps when the project was sanctioned by the Union Cabinet on 8th Dec, 2016 and its foundation stone laid shortly thereafter by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
The project being constructed by Maha-Metro consists two corridors (North-South Corridor and EastWest Corridor) and has total length of 33.645 Km, out of which 27.195 km is elevated and remaining 6.450 km is underground.
The corridor 1 (North-South) Pimpri-Chinchwad to Swargate is 17.904 km long and has 14 stations (9 elevated and 5 underground) while the corridor 2 (East-West) from Vanaz to Ramwadi is 15.741 km long and has 16 elevated stations.
Civil Court station provides interchange between the two corridors. The project also has two modern metro coach maintenance depots- Vanaz and Range Hill
This state of the art, comfortable, affordable, inclusive and sustainable metro rail of Pune will have operating speed of 80 kmph (designed speed 90 kmph), has ultra modern communication based train control system using Axle Counter system as secondary train detection for backup signaling arrangement so as to enable it to run a designed head way of . The automatic fare collection system is a combo based on smarts cards and computerized paper tickets.
The Priority Section – Chugging along to open by the year end
The team Maha-Metro is committed to complete Pune Metro project progressively within time and within cost. The adrenal of the team got further fillip by the promise given by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, earlier this year in a public meeting that a section of Pune Metro Rail shall be thrown open for use by Punekars before the year end.
Taking a cue from the conviction of PM, Maha-Metro team upped its ante and after careful examination decided upon a priority section of 7 km between PCMC to Dapodi to be opened before the end of the year. This section starts at the rear of PCMC station and ends at Dapodi station. First two stations to open will be Saint Tukaram and Dapodi at two ends. Other stations in between will open progressively
Not to be content, the Maha-Metro team has also carved out another 5 km priority section from Vanaz to Garware College that is scheduled for opening for passenger operations shortly after opening of PCMC-Dapodi stretch.
A Dream in Making for Last Two Decades
But tryst of metro in Pune has not come any sooner in the day.
It has been in making for two decades, Way back in 2001, M/s RITES in a report commissioned by Pune Municipal Corporation first mooted a MRTS network comprising 6 lines (91.278 km) with a corridor of Agriculture College at Shivaji Nagar ( 22.646 km) comprising Lines 1 and 2 to be commissioned by 2006. It also recommended Phase-II and Phase III of the network with corridor length of 68.632 km comprising Line 3, 4, 5 and 6 commissioned by the year 2026.
The action on the recommendations of M/s RITES did not commence any time soon and in between the city looks at various other options viz –
(a) Sky Bus as conceived by Konkan Railway Corporation Limited- KRCL in 2003 recommended construction of two corridors of Sky Bus system. But the project did not see light of the day after an accident related to proto-type experimental system constructed at Goa (b) Another false start was preparation of DPR for tramways system in Pune by German city Bremen (the sister city of Pune). The project did not materialize (c) The city based on a Master Plan for Bus Rapid Transit System prepared by CIRT in March 2008 embarked on a massive Bus Rapid Transit System having 22 corridors duly integrated with bicycle network and along with Riverside BRTS roads. The network could be completed only on few corridors and it did not turn out to be optimum solutions except in couple of corridors
Fresh Impetus to the Metro Rail Project
The journey of Pune Metro Rail in true sense began with two meetings in Municipal Corporation with city based law makers (MLA) in June and September 2006, resulting in DMRC being called upon to prepare the project DPR in 2008. The DPR report was submitted by DMRC in 2009 and the project approved by the state government on 2nd Sept, 2010. The central government gave its principle approval on 11th February, 2013.
However, even after the approval of state government in principle approval by the central government, to the project, it got further delayed because like any major city infrastructure project, Pune Metro rail project too went through intense stakeholder scrutiny. The roadblocks the project faced included the very rationale of having metro rail in the city, suitability of the chosen alignment and the classical binary debate of “Underground versus Elevated” Metro Rail.
The Meeting that CM chaired:
To resolve the issues and remove the road blocks a meeting was finally chaired by Hon’ble Chief Minister Maharashtra on 7th March, 2015 that threadbare discussed all the issues. The meeting was attended by key political figures including Shri Sharad Pawar; City Law Makers (MPs, MLAs and representatives of municipal corporations); Managing Director of DMRC; representative of Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India; Pune and Pimpri Chinchawad Municipal Commissioners; prominent citizens (including Mr. Vijay Kelkar, Arun Firodia and Mr. S.D. Limaye). The issues and roadblocks were finally cleared only with the recommendations of the Committee set up by CM on 7th March, 2015. Thereafter the Project DPR was updated in 2015, and the final sanction to the project was accorded in December, 2016
As the Project Took Off
By 2016 the population of Pune at 6.5 million had more than trebled as compared to that of 2001 when the Metro Rail project was first conceived. The city also had turned into a thriving metropolis and a key industrial, educational and IT hub of the country. But by now, Pune also had become a city where the urban transport gridlock had exacerbated considerably, where two wheelers accounted for more than 80% of the vehicular traffic, where public transport share has dwindled to less than 10% and finally where peak-hour vehicular speed down to horse carriage days (8 to 10 Kmph) .
But all this is set to change:
Punekars have patiently waited for two decades to get a rail based fast, comfortable, safe, secured, and inclusive environment friendly sustainable metro rail to end their commuting woes. Maha-Metro is committed to precisely give what the city needs and deserves. The opening of priority sector in next few months is just a beginning. Not to be content on its laurels Maha-metro team is fully geared to complete the entire elevated section by end of the year 2021 and full project by 2022