Daily Gridlock Nightmare: Pune’s University Chowk Faces Traffic Management Crisis

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Varad Bhatkhande

Pune, 1st February 2024: A sense of frustration looms over Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) Chowk as citizens endure daily traffic disruptions, causing widespread tardiness and angst among the populace. The lack of effective traffic management, compounded by ongoing road and metro work and inadequate planning, has resulted in extensive delays for commuters, with many reporting being stranded for up to an hour on Thursday morning.

The situation is exacerbated by the conspicuous absence of traffic police personnel, particularly evident at the crucial traffic signal stretch from Abhimanshree Society to Pune University, where only one traffic policeman was observed attempting to manage the chaotic flow.

The repercussions extend beyond mere inconvenience, impacting the routine of school-going children and office-bound employees. Numerous school vans found themselves ensnared in the traffic quagmire, leading to substantial delays that translated into lost classroom hours for students and tardiness for employees reaching their workplaces.

Both roads leading from Aundh and Baner witnessed the same gridlock, further intensifying the citizens’ ire. Frustrated by the ongoing issues, citizens are calling for immediate action, urging the commencement of the road from Pashan to alleviate the traffic bottleneck. Additionally, there is a collective demand for the deployment of multiple traffic police personnel during morning hours to streamline vehicular movement.

The mounting traffic predicament has not only disrupted schedules but has also contributed to increased noise pollution in the vicinity, eliciting additional concerns from the affected locals. Compounding the issue, the Pune police and administration appear disengaged from the matter, leading to a growing sense of discontent among citizens who feel their concerns are being overlooked.

Students’ Attendance Suffers Amid Congestion

The Pune police and administration exhibit a lack of concern for the situation. The prevailing university norms mandate a fixed attendance percentage, and students failing to meet this requirement may face academic repercussions. University Chowk contends with daily traffic challenges, causing significant delays for students commuting from various locations like Pimpri Chinchwad, Aundh, Baner, Khadki, Dapodi, Bopodi, etc. to their respective colleges in Pune City.

Achieving the required 75% attendance for SPPU becomes a challenging task due to traffic-related delays at both University Chowk and Subhash Chandra Bose (Sancheti) Chowk. This creates a dilemma where the Pune administration and city police seem indifferent to the traffic issues, while educational institutions maintain stringent attendance policies, placing additional burdens on students without considering the external challenges they face.

In light of the prevailing traffic-related challenges at University Chowk, a resident of Pimple Saudagar and a student of D.E.S. Navalmal Firodia Law College said, “Daily, I traverse this route to reach my college early in the morning. Being a third-year student, my post-college hours are dedicated to working as a legal intern in Hinjawadi. This Square is pivotal for my daily commute, and on average, I spend an hour travelling through it. Unfortunately, both my academic instructors and senior colleagues at work seem oblivious to this problem. The persisting issue of traffic has been in my memory, extending back for as long as I can recall. It is important for the administration to thoroughly assess and address this concern promptly, as it is negatively impacting both my academic pursuits and professional commitments.”