Khadki, 11th January 2024: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is actively pursuing the acquisition of 1.4 acres of defence land to facilitate the widening of two railway underpasses in Khadki Range Hills, aimed at alleviating persistent traffic congestion issues.
Daily traffic through these underpasses has led to frequent snarls, impacting both the old Pune-Mumbai highway and Range Hills within the Khadki Cantonment Board (KCB) limits. Following a joint survey conducted by PMC and KCB officials last year, the civic body tentatively agreed to undertake the project, contingent upon the availability of defence land at no cost. Despite being within the KCB’s purview, budget constraints have prompted the PMC to intervene, as stated by civic officials.
A senior official from the PMC’s engineering department emphasized the need to assess the project’s feasibility. Special permissions from railway authorities are required, considering the presence of a natural stream in the area that needs to be strategically channeled. Additionally, traffic diversion plans need to be developed, and final approval must be obtained during the PMC’s general body meeting.
Abhijit Ambekar, executive engineer at PMC, confirmed the land demand through official channels, highlighting that a conclusive decision on the project is pending.
Robin Baleja, CEO of KCB, suggested that the PMC explore the option of obtaining land on license for a specific period, eliminating the need for payment.
A senior official from the Defence Estates Office, Pune circle, acknowledged receiving a formal request from civic authorities but stated that detailed project information is awaited.
The existing British-era underpasses, comprising decades-old stone structures, were not designed to accommodate the current high volume of traffic. Over the years, increased citizen movement through Range Hills to access the old Pune-Mumbai highway and KCB areas has intensified traffic congestion, according to officials. The proposed widening project aims to address this long-standing issue and enhance the flow of traffic in the region.