FROM COMMUTERS and students to top officials and political leaders, the industrial hub of Pimpri-Chinchwad is eagerly waiting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to open the new Metro rail line extension that will bring them closer — and faster — to the heart of Pune city. PM Modi will also unveil a clutch of big-ticket development projects for the area.
The Prime Minister is slated to start his day in Pune with a visit to the iconic Dagdusheth temple in the city at around 11 am after which he will be conferred the Lokmanya Tilak National Award. The award function is politically significant since Modi will share the dais with chief guest Sharad Pawar whose NCP has split, with the breakaway faction led by Ajit Pawar aligning with the ruling BJP-Sena coalition in Maharashtra.
The Metro lines will be opened thereafter, at 12:45 pm, following which the Prime Minister will flag off trains on the extensions from Phugewadi to Shivajinagar Civil Court and Garware College to Ruby Hall Clinic. Modi will also inaugurate and lay the foundation of several projects, including a Rs 300-crore waste-to-energy plant in Pimpri-Chinchwad and over 11,500 houses across the city under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Singh said, “The waste-to-energy project signifies that the PCMC is heading towards being the cleanest and greenest city in the country. The project is the first of its kind in Maharashtra. We will be converting nearly 70 per cent of our dry garbage into electricity for our use. We will be saving Rs 20 crore every year. The project will ensure that there will be no more mountains of garbage at our depot. In effect, it means residents have no reason to complain.”
Officials and commuters said the opening of the two Metro stretches, with a train available every 10 minutes during peak hours, will be a “gamechanger” in light of the endless traffic jams witnessed in and around areas such as Shivajinagar and the Pune railway station, which are key hubs of the city.
While those living in Pune city will reach the station area in just 15 minutes on the Metro, compared to nearly an hour through chaotic road traffic, those in Pimpri-Chinchwad will be able to make it to Shivajinagar in just 20-25 minutes. Currently, it takes more than an hour or even two amid heavy traffic jams to reach the Shivajinagar area.
“The new stretches will be a gamechanger for commuters heading towards Shivajinagar and the Pune railway station area,” Shravan Hardikar, chairman and managing director of MahaMetro, told The Indian Express.
The PM will inaugurate various projects during his visit. In a statement issued on Sunday, the Centre said, “The PM will hand over more than 1,280 houses constructed under PMAY by PCMC. He will also hand over more than 2,650 PMAY houses constructed by Pune Municipal Corporation.”