Pune: Traffic Jams Threaten Hinjawadi’s Reputation as IT Hub, Prompting Company Exodus

Pune: Senior Police Officers In Wakad, Hinjawadi Areas Now On Duty Weekends As Well
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Reported by Varad Bhatkhande

Hinjawadi, 30th May 2024: Once known for its pleasant atmosphere and cultural significance, Pune was often referred to as the ‘Oxford of the East.’ However, today, the city is plagued by crime and traffic, which have become pervasive issues.

The congestion is particularly severe around the Hinjawadi IT park, home to major companies like Infosys, Wipro, Tata, and Mahindra, where thousands of employees endure daily traffic jams. Commuters waste one to one and a half hours every day stuck in traffic. Frustrated with these problems, 37 companies have relocated from the area. The Hinjawadi Industries Association has reported that another company is on the brink of moving out of Pune.

The potential emergence of youth unemployment in Pune due to companies relocating from the IT Park is a growing concern. Employees are urging the Hinjawadi Gram Panchayat to address this issue, while Maharashtra’s Minister of Industries, Uday Samant, has pledged to investigate in response to media reports.

Hinjawadi IT Park accommodates approximately 150 companies, providing employment to around 500,000 people. With 100,000 cars entering and leaving Hinjawadi daily, each vehicle spends one and a half to two hours on the road, resulting in significant fuel wastage and financial losses for companies, amounting to $25 per hour (Approx. Rs 2,084).

Currently, Bhujbal Chowk and Bhumkar Chowk in Wakad are the primary access points to Hinjawadi, but the upcoming Shivajinagar Metro line towards Hinjawadi is expected to alleviate traffic congestion. Urgent attention from local authorities is crucial, as Maharashtra cannot afford the exodus of IT companies. Additionally, plans for a Metro station in Hinjawadi IT Park, connected by SkyBus, are underway, alongside the commencement of underground metro and ring road construction. However, the timeline for these projects and the relief they will provide to Pune residents remain uncertain.

Regarding this, NCP Leader and Baramati MP Supriya Sule has also reacted. She wrote on X (formerly Twitter), “While Maharashtra’s rightful jobs are going out one after another, the state government is just watching. Even before this, important industries have gone out, and the youth’s right to employment has been taken away. But the government has no time to pay attention to this. Now it has come to light that 37 companies have moved out of Hinjewadi IT Park in Pune. When an industry goes out, so do jobs and the future of the youth. The youth of Maharashtra are struggling to find employment, and the government is responsible for this situation because it is careless about sustaining the industry.”

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Shiv Sena (UBT) official X handle tweeted, “While the extra-constitutional Mindhe government is busy courting Delhi, as many as 37 IT companies have migrated abroad from the Hinjewadi IT Park in Maharashtra. Even when one industry after another is moving out of Maharashtra, the Mindhe government is sitting idly by. This is sheer inaction by the government. By tying the future of the youth of Maharashtra at stake, the government is only busy eating the fruit of power.”

Kasba MLA and Pune Lok Sabha Mahavikas Aghadi candidate Ravindra Dhangekar shared a video on social media stating, “The news that 37 companies have moved out of Hinjewadi IT Park is alarming. The government is not making any effort to bring new employment to Pune, and existing companies are leaving due to traffic jams. Over the past decade, Pune has suffered from poor infrastructure planning. Commuting takes two hours in the morning and up to three hours in the evening. The Municipal Corporation has wasted money on unnecessary projects instead of addressing real issues like building flyovers and grade separators at key intersections. The traffic police are also neglected, with no officers present during peak hours. If Pune residents are concerned, the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, Guardian Minister, and Industry Minister must take immediate action.”

However, Yogesh Joshi of the Hinjawadi Industries Association clarified that these companies left during the COVID-19 pandemic or earlier, and no companies have left recently.