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Monday, July 19, 2010

Edition 25: Red Buses, Not Red Tapism Needed

The traffic problem is the worst of all vices associated with Pune. Even though the functionaries of late are speaking about channelling the problem through various means, notable among which is Metro project. However, these measures, if completed earnestly, would provide some sort of solace to the bulging populace of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad cities only at least after five years. Till then, the city has to make good with the only available public transport mean that is city bus run by Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML).
In the past, the twin cities of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad had two separate public transport entities which were managed by two separate committees of respective municipal corporations. However, three years ago, the two entities were merged promising better, concerted and co-ordinated service to millions of passengers who have to stick to the red boxes (Lal Dabba), as they are called in local parlance. The only alternative to PMPML buses are autorickshaws who have earned notoriety for breaking the traffic rules and harassing the passengers as well. Alas, the promised service remained as afar to the Puneites as it was in the past. Worse, the situation seemed to have gone out of hand as number of accidents by PMPML buses rose steadfastly, old buses were scrapped out regularly and those running on road caused more traffic snarls than flow.

In the meantime, there was no infusion of new fleet for the PMPML buses even as number of passengers on each route rose geometrically.
To start with, PMPML suffered most because it lacked an administrator. Last four managing directors of the company were replaced even completing six months of their terms. Obviously, the decision to buy new buses hardly came by. One year ago, Dilip Band, who is also divisional commissioner, was appointed to head the company. Since then, he and the Standing committee of PMC were entangled in bitter controversy over the purchase of buses. According to Central Institute of Road Transport, Pune needs 2800 new buses. However, no new buses were procured in the last five years. Bund announced PMPML decision to purchase of buses with doors on both sides of the bus. The elected representatives in PMC objected to the decision saying it was against the detailed project report sent to the union government.
The comprehensive Mobility Plan of 2008 had recommended that the new buses should be purchased on top priority. But the issue shuttled between the company and PMC, as if nobody wanted to keep it in own court. So much so, that the Union urban development ministry took note of the delay in purchase of buses for Pune by the Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) under JNNURM. The union government had called a meeting, in Delhi, of mayors, standing committee chairman and municipal commissioner of all civic bodies where the BRTS is being implemented, where the matter cropped up .
Last week, Vikas Mathkari, leader of Bharatiya Janata Party and corporator went on hunger strike demanding immediate purchase of buses. He was accompanied by Anil Shirole, fellow corporator. Following this, the mayor Mohansingh Rajpla announced the new 550 buses will be purchased immediately.
On Tuesday, the Standing Committee of PMC standing committee sanctioned Rs 47.5 crores for the purchase of 350 buses for PMPML after receiving a letter that buses with doors on the left-hand side will be purchased from the amount. According to Arvind Shinde, standing committee chairman, “A total of 550 buses have to be purchased for PMPML from the JNNURM funds. The PMC is supposed to pay for buying 350 buses from the funds and have sanctioned the amount required for the purpose to the public transport company."
Obviously, one will think that the money will be put to buy the buses and ply them on road. This is the need of the hour and not to indulge in the ego clash. The city has seen enough of red tapism, now it is time to move the red buses on roads. So that Pune can breathe easily!


  1. the need is a for a mordern public trasportation ..Metro or a ferry service which we could our dying rivers in Pune and give them a new life plus solve the traffic woes..

  2. provide our planners do plan property and avoid new disaster like BRTS