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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pune Traffic, Crime rise, Lavasa, Pune rural police on facebook

Ministers to help solve Pune's traffic MESS

PUNE: Minister of state for home Satej Patil and state home minister R R Patil will shortly meet the Pune traffic department to chalk out a permanent solution to the city's traffic problem.

Satej was speaking at the concluding ceremony of the Maharashtra state road safety drive, at the rural police ground in Pashan. "Several places in the city face serious congestion problems, especially during peak hours. This has resulted in increased travel time. Aba (R R Patil) and I will meet the Pune traffic police to chalk out a permanent solution to this problem. We will meet in the next 15 days and deliberate on the issue," said Satej.

Major awareness programmes were carried out during the road safety movement launched on January 1. It was found that during the 15-day road safety movement, there was a major drop in the number of accidents in the city. "The number of accidents reduced by 108, and deaths by 179 during these 15 days. If such a huge change can take place in 15 days, the awareness drive can make a great difference if it is implesmented round-the-year," he said. Transport commissioner Dilip Jadhav said there had been a steep decline in the number of accidents in 2010, thanks to the various awareness measures by the traffic department. In 2008, 75,000 accidents took place in the state, while in 2009, the number was 72,000. However, last year saw a major decline in the number, with only 65,000 accidents registered. "Our aim is to bring down this number by 25 per cent this year, and for this we require the support of citizens, students and senior citizens. We want safe drivers and safe vehicles in the state," Jadhav said.

Arup Patnaik, additional director general of police (state traffic) said major initiatives need to be taken statewide to improve traffic and make the roads safer. "It is important to construct a four-lane road on Mumbai-Goa and Pune-Nashik highways. A total of 114 accident-prone spots have been selected on these highways where more precautions need to be taken and warning boards are necessary."

More crimes in 2010

The city witnessed more rapes and murders in 2010, compared to 2009. This was revealed by the annual crime report released by the city police.

The city recorded 116 murders in 2009, of which 104 were solved. In 2010, the number of murders went up to 127, of which 116 were solved. There were 66 rape cases recorded in 2009, of which 65 were solved. However, in 2010, there were 89 recorded rape cases, of which 87 were solved.

The statistics reveal a considerable decrease in vehicle theft cases. In 2009, the number of vehicle theft cases was 3,261, whereas 2,948 cases took place in 2010. Giving details the assistant commissioner of police (crime), Anant Shinde said, “The dacoity and house-breaking cases have decreased. We solved all dacoity cases in 2010.” In 2009, there were 32 dacoity cases, while there were 29 cases in 2010. The number of house-breaking cases decreased in 2010. The city recorded 1,188 cases of house-breaking in 2010. In the year 2009, there were 1,245 cases.

The deputy commissioner of police (crime), Anant Rokade, said, “We solved 382 cases of house-breaking last year. Minor robbery cases also decreased in 2010.”

Lavasa can survive if it pays fine : Ministry

The Environment Ministry has handed the Lavasa Lake City a lifeline, even as it declared the project unauthorised.

If the Lavasa Corporation is prepared to pay a fine, set up an Environmental Restoration Fund and follow strict terms and conditions, the Ministry is prepared to consider the future of the housing project on merits, the final order issued by the Ministry on Tuesday said. In the meanwhile, the stop work order remains in place, so that status quo is maintained at the construction site.

The Ministry has been investigating the Rs. 3,000 crore project’s compliance with environmental norms since it issued a show cause notice and stop work order in November 2010, based on complaints by civil society activists.

The Ministry found that the project, involving the development of hill station townships near Pune, is in violation of the Environmental Impact Assessment notification of 1994, its 2004 amendment and the fresh EIA notification of 2006. A site visit by a Ministry team earlier this month also found that the project has caused considerable environmental damage. Despite these violations, the Ministry could allow the project to continue, thanks to the investments and labour which have already gone into the project, third party rights which are accrued, the employment generated, and the “claimed upliftment of the area”.

Zagade is certain about metro's takeoff

PUNE: There is some good news on the metro front. Municipal commissioner Mahesh Zagade on Friday said that the project was in 'positive' mode and the state government is expected to approve the project soon.

Zagade, who presented the annual draft budget for 2011-12 on Friday, said," We hope that the metro project progresses this year. The project is in positive mode with the state government. Electricity-based transport is the need of hour for Pune city and an elevated metro has been a successful model across the world."

The Pune Municipal Corporation's (PMC) general body has resolved to begin construction of the metro on the proposed 14.925 km corridor from Vanaz to Ramwadi. The project will cost Rs 2,281 (including taxes). The civic body plans to contribute 10 per cent, get 40 per cent from the state and Centre and the rest from private players. The proposal is pending with the state government and for further processing with the central government.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had recommended that its model for a metro railway be incorporated in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. The DMRC had also suggested that a company be formed to run the project. It was decided by the state government last year that a high-powered committee led by chief secretary will look into the project.

"This year the PMC will start the process to introduce monorail on DBOOT model. The civic build-operate- transfer committee has already approved the proposal to seek expression of interest for the monorail," said Zagade.

However, the civic body does not expect any provisions for the metro or monorail projects in the state budget. "We look forward to getting state and central assistance once the projects get started, " said Zagade. "The city also needs good public transport on the roads since the city's population is more than 42 lakh. Efforts are being made to strengthen the PMPML and more buses will be on the road in the next few years," said Zagade.

The state government has already endorsed the civic body's stand to build the 14.925-km second corridor of the metro railway from Vanaz on Paud road to Ramwadi on Ahmednagar road without waiting for the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation's go-ahead.

Pune rural police on Facebook soon

PUNE: Following the footsteps of the city traffic police, the Pune rural police also plans to be a part of the social networking site Facebook (FB) to interact with citizens regarding suggestions and complaints related to road traffic.

Speaking to mediapersons here on Thursday, district superintendent of police Pratap Dighavkar said that a number of initiatives are being taken to solve traffic problems, particularly in the area which come in the jurisdiction of the district police.

About 30 per cent of the municipal areas of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad come under the district police limits. Most of the fringe areas of the two cities, as well as the Dehu Road cantonment area falls under the district police limits.

Dighavkar said that the district police have already given training to 300 police personnel for traffic management. A requisition has also been made to the government for sanctioning additional traffic police personnel, he added.

He said that the district police would also be launching the trafficop project which was implemented in Pune city area for over an year on a trial basis. The trafficop helps in keeping a record of all the traffic violations making it possible to take action against habitual offenders.

The district police have also identified accident prone spots and have recommended traffic engineering changes to the government to reduce mishaps. As many as 108 spots have been identified on the state and national highways in Pune division, he said. Over a 1,000 people died in road accidents in the district last year, he added.

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