Mahesh Pathak, Municipal Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation
Once famous as the power centre of the Maratha Empire, the city of Pune is the second largest metropolis in Maharashtra. The Pune Municipal Corporation constitutes various departments including transportation, roadways, water supply, sewerage, building construction, etc. As the executive head, Mahesh Pathak, Municipal Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation, supervises the diverse departments. In conversation with AHLAM RAIS, he elaborates on various upcoming projects in the city.
How has Pune evolved since you took over as its Municipal Commissioner?
In my tenure since two-and-a-half years more than one lakh houses have been added to the city. Also, we have been able to improve the solid waste management process for which we have received many awards.
Elaborate on the CCTV camera network that has been planned for the city.
Since, Pune witnessed a bomb blast in 2008; we felt the need to install cameras around the city. The CCTV camera network is a government project and is being planned by the Police Commissioner as he heads the committee that has been formed to implement the project. The CCTV camera network in the city will comprise more than 1,200 cameras. This includes fixed as well as vehicular cameras, which are automatic number plate recording (ANPR) cameras. Currently, we are receiving feeds from 60 cameras for security and administration purposes. By May, 2014, the entire network is expected to be complete at a cost of about Rs 125 crore. This is the first city in the country to have such a wide camera network.
What is the current status of the city's water recycling projects? How can this address the city's water woes?
We are undertaking two projects - the closed pipeline project from Khadakwasla to Parvati and another river water recycling project for irrigation purpose. At Khadakwasla, work on the jack well has commenced and the pipeline will be completed in another six months. For the river water recycling project, work on the jack well and laying down of the pipeline on 3.5 km is in progress at Mundhwa.
It is expected to be completed by August, 2014. Through this project, we can provide water for irrigation purposes and subsequently use more water from the dams for the city.
Highlight the other ongoing projects in the city.
There are many ongoing projects in the city, some of these include the construction of 200 million litre per day (MLD) capacity of water purification centre in Warje; developing bridge in Pashan and Someshwarwadi; flyover project from Hadapsar-Saswad road; construction of subways from Sai Baba mandir-Satara road, which is expected to be completed by March 2014 and work on the Shivajinagar court subway will be completed by end of March 2014. This year, we are not planning many new projects but our aim is to concentrate and complete the existing projects.
The Pune metro recently received the state government's approval. What are the opportunities for contractors, vendors, suppliers, etc?
The proposal for the Pune Metro is with the Central Government for approval. In the meantime, we have started the planning process; the total length of the Pune Metro will be 32 km of which about 5 km is underground. It will connect both the cities - Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. The first corridor will be from Pimpri-Chinchwad to Swargate with a length of 16.9 km and the second phase from Vanaz to Ramwadi with a length of 14.92 km. Work on the first corridor is expected to be completed by 2019-2020. Work on both the corridors will go on simultaneously. The total investment involved in the project is more than Rs 10,183 crore.
The Pune Metro is a huge project and is almost three times of our budget. In the next four years, we are nearly doubling our budget and many construction activities will be in progress including the corridor densification. Due to the metro project, real estate will also get a boost in the city. Hence, this will be a great opportunity for contractors, vendors and suppliers.
A pending project for the last six years, the Pune airport plan received the Centre's backing recently.
The airport project is not under our department but if an airport is developed in the city, it will prove beneficial for the special economic zone that is located nearby and bring in a lot of industries to Pune.
The pilot Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) was not as successful as perceived. What are the lessons learnt and how will this help in implementation of other projects?
We introduced the first BRTS system in India and this has been a learning experience for us. Now, we are coming up with another 16 km section in RMV through Shantawadi Nagar road that will be much better than the existing one. We have also carried out a safety audit by IIT-Bombay, which has been termed as satisfactory.
Highlight the landmark projects as well as any JNNURM funded projects.
There are a lot of iconic buildings that the corporation has built; these projects have also received awards. For instance, the underpasses that we have constructed have helped ease traffic conditions. Also, the e-learning project is one of the major projects that we have completed.
From JNNURM, we have received a sanction for about 11 projects, of which seven are completed and four are yet to be completed. These include the approach road to Sangamwadi, the RMV road, an underpass at Baner, pilot BRTS, BRTS Phase-I, storm water drainage projects, an underpass at Ramwadi junction, sewage treatment plants and a few other projects. With these, we are the first city to be sanctioned new projects worth Rs 670 crore and the only city that has received maximum funds in the second round of JNNURM in the country.
What is the budgeted support you are getting from the government and other agencies or is it raised from the corporation itself?
Under JNNURM, we have received projects worth Rs 1,500 crore and have obtained an additional amount of Rs 670 crore. Out of the total amount of Rs 2,170 crore, 30 per cent will be funded by the corporation. The remaining Rs 1,500 crore has been received from the Centre and state governments. We have always received support from JNNURM and with continued help, we will carry out more JNNURM projects in the city.
Several German companies have been setting up their business in Pune. How many companies are there at present and what is the effect?
At present, there are 200 German companies in the city. Mostly, these companies are into electronic or automobile ancillary. These companies are located near Pimpri-Chinchwad and many of their executives reside in Pune, which has also added to the demand of housing in the city. All these factors have generated a lot of employment opportunities within the city of Pune.
How is infrastructure development having an impact on the city's real estate segment?
In the real estate sector, all the cities are experiencing a recession except Pune. The Pune market is still going strong; we are adding 50,000 houses every year. The hotspots are all around the city of Pune, which is another advantage Anywhere you go in the city, you will find good housing projects.
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