‘Govt did not consider citizens’ views on Metro’

Civic activists and citizens' groups have criticised the state government and the Pune Municipal Commissioner, claiming that they have not taken their objections and suggestions in consideration before implementing the Pune Metro plan.

"The state government has recently approved DMRC report for Vanaz-Ramwadi Elevated Metro. We have been writing to the PMC chief and the government (Chief Minister and Principal Secretary, UDD) for past two-and-a-half years regarding our apprehensions, suggestions and objections about the Metro plan. Unfortunately, there has been no response," said Prashant Inamdar, convenor of Pedestrians First.

Inamdar said, "We are not insisting that the government should accept what we are saying, but it should at least pay heed to our demands, which were fairly reasonable."

The activists have demanded an appraisal and study of DMRC report by third party experts. Secondly, citizens' groups that have submitted their views to the PMC or the government should be given adequate opportunity to explain their viewpoint to the expert committee, which should take cognizance of the suggestions and objections while preparing its report. Thirdly, the activists have demanded a study for techno-economic evaluation of alternatives with cost-benefit analysis and a final decision in consultation with public and based on the independent studies.

Inamdar said the state government took two years to approve the DMRC report after it was approved by the PMC general body in June 2010.

"This period could have been fruitfully used for conducting the above-mentioned independent studies and hold public consultation. However, the government wasted time and finally approved the DMRC report," he said.

The activists said the Metro project was expensive and would have a long-term impact on the city.

"Hence, the decision regarding the Metro project needs to be taken rationally and responsibly. If a decision proves wrong at a later stage, it would be disastrous for the city. Spending a little more time on proper studies before taking a decision won't hurt. Considering the implications of the decision, it's better to be late than being sorry," he said, adding that they have prepared a Pune Metro presentation for public awareness and information regarding viability, feasibility, utility and impacts of DMRC's Pune Metro plan.

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