“Funds have been made available for land acquisition by the state government. The road width has been finalised according to the land that can be acquired based on government aid,” said Vikas Dhakane, additional commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). According to the civic officials, the state government has approved funds worth Rs200crore, which would be sufficient for building a 50-metre road. If the 84-metre road had been built, it would have cost the PMC around Rs360 crore.
The road covers areas like Rajas Society to Khadi Machine Chowk to newly merged Pisoli. The PMC has spent around Rs48crore on the project till now.
About 45% work has been completed so far, however, the PMC is still to get possession of about 40% of land. The authorities said that talks with landowners are underway and various compensation options are being explored. The work has been initiated in spots where the PMC has got possession of land. The civic administration needs around 2.88 lakh sq metres of land of which 1.60 lakh sq metres are in the possession of PMC, while 1.28 lakh sq metres of land are yet to be acquired.
“The majority of these landowners are demanding cash compensation. The civic administration has been pressing for options like transfer of development rights (TDR) and floor space index (FSI) for acquiring land without much response. So, the civic administration has been left with no option but to reduce the width of the road,” said a senior PMC official.
“The road should have been completed by now. The leaders of the ruling party at that time had pressed for a bigger road as they had vested interest in tenders. So, the whole project got stuck. Now that the decision to reduce the width has been taken, the road should be implemented at the earliest,” said Dattatreya Dhankawade, former mayor. Vasant More, former local corporator, said that other infrastructure projects like flyover, being planned in Katraj, will also help in reducing traffic problems. “The flyover being built near Katraj should be extended, and more area should be covered,” he said.