Shivajinagar, 10th February 2024: In response to protests by students at the College of Agriculture (CoA) opposing the opening of the internal road to public use, authorities have announced a modified plan.
On Friday, officials revealed that a 1,100m long ‘kaccha’ road, situated behind CoA’s main heritage structure, will be developed within a fortnight and made accessible to the general public. This decision aims to reduce congestion on University Road and facilitate the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (PMRDA) Metro works.
The newly proposed alternative road will connect Sinchannagar to the road near Sakhar Sankul, serving as an alternative to the initially planned internal road. The students argued that the original route would have disrupted their open field research activities on campus.
Deputy Chief Minister and Pune’s Guardian Minister, Ajit Pawar, finalized this change during a meeting with PMRDA, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), CoA, Pune Police, and other authorities at the Circuit House, according to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Shashikant Borate.
As part of additional measures, starting Saturday until further notice, all private luxury buses will be prohibited from traveling between Sancheti Hospital and University Chowky from 8 am to 10.30 pm. This decision, made after discussions with the Pune district luxury bus association, aims to streamline traffic. Violators of the ban will face a fine of Rs2,000 under the Motor Vehicles Act.
PMC took further action by clearing encroachments on a 300m stretch at Sai Chowk behind Khadki railway station, transforming it into a four-lane stretch to enhance mobility. This modification aligns with PMRDA’s efforts to expedite the construction work of casting pillars capable of supporting the Metro’s weight.
Luxury buses will now be rerouted through the old Pune-Mumbai highway, Harris Bridge, Holkar Bridge, New Khadki, Yerawada, Ahmednagar Road, Kharadi bypass, and Pune-Solapur Road. This alteration aims to address congestion at SPPU junction and ensure smoother traffic flow.
The revised plan also directs vehicles coming from Bremen Chowk in Aundh to take a left turn to Ambedkar Chowk and proceed towards Sai Chowk behind Khadki railway station. From there, a right turn towards Range Hills and Abil House, followed by a left turn, leads to Shivajinagar.
Balasaheb Khedekar, president of the Pune district luxury bus association, expressed their agreement with the police’s request to use an alternative route, acknowledging the challenges posed by the reduced road width during PMRDA’s pillar construction.
A CoA student, who participated in Thursday’s protest, expressed satisfaction with the government’s consideration of their concerns. An MBA student highlighted the potential impact on research work and campus security posed by the earlier proposed road. However, with the new road starting behind the boy’s hostel and running along the crime branch unit office towards Range Hills, students are content, emphasizing the need for a barricade on their side to prevent unauthorized access.
An official disclosed that they have requested PMRDA to construct a wall or barricade to safeguard the campus from unwanted intrusions by road users.