Pune, 10th June 2023: Pune, known for its narrow roads and bustling markets in the central city, is grappling with a new challenge – massive traffic jams caused by inadequate roads in the growing suburbs. The increasing population and the surge in vehicles have overwhelmed the existing infrastructure, leaving commuters stranded during peak hours.
The incomplete development of DP (Development Plan) roads, unclaimed land, and lack of funds have taken a toll on citizens’ daily lives. A recent study conducted by the Municipal Corporation sheds light on the severity of the issue, revealing that Hadapsar has 46 km of incomplete roads, while Dhayari has 40 km.
To address the problem, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had enlisted the services of a consultant to identify the missing links in the road network. The consultant’s report has recently been received, exposing some grave concerns. It has come to light that although most roads are ready, a mere 100 to 200 meters of land remains unacquired by the municipal corporation, rendering the roads unusable and forcing commuters to take inconvenient detours.
The municipal survey highlights daily traffic congestion at major gateways to Pune, including Hadapsar, Aundh, Warje, Karvenagar, and Kothrud. The report confirms that the roads in these areas exist only on paper, with Hadapsar accounting for 45 km, Aundh 25 km, Warje-Karvenagar 23 km, and Kothrud 23 km of non-functional roads. With limited alternative routes available, the existing roads bear the brunt of the traffic, resulting in never-ending gridlocks.
The gravity of the situation is further amplified by the fact that Pune ranks sixth in traffic congestion globally. This underscores the urgent need to improve the condition of roads, enhance the public transport system, and address the growing number of private vehicles.
Although new roads have been proposed in the municipal development plan, their progress has been painfully slow. The preference of landowners to receive Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) and Floor Space Index (FSI) instead of cash payment for land possession has hindered road construction projects. Unfortunately, negotiations have reached an impasse, as landowners insist on immediate cash payments.
Several factors contribute to the road blockage issue, including the lack of a comprehensive plan to develop a designated number of roads each year, inadequate follow-up by both politicians and citizens, insufficient budget provisions for land acquisition, and landowners’ insistence on cash payments rather than accepting TDR and FSI.
To alleviate the situation, it is imperative to hold frequent meetings to understand the concerns of landowners and find mutually beneficial solutions. The Municipal Corporation has initiated a study to identify the missing links and has discovered that 77 kilometers of roads are impeded by less than 100 meters of unacquired land. The municipality is taking proactive steps to connect these missing links and alleviate traffic congestion throughout the city, as stated by Vikram Kumar, the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation.
In the Dhayari area, only one road connects Dhayari Phata to Umbraya Ganpati Chowk. An alternative route, depicted in the Development Plan, has remained on paper for years. Despite spending lakhs of rupees annually on minor work, no progress has been made. Mahesh Pokle, a leader of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray Group), suggests that priority should be given to acquiring land and constructing the road after discussing the matter with landowners.