Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Wishlist for Pune

Have you read Sidin's wishlist for the next government here yet? If not, Please do.

Here is my wishlist for the next candidate in Office for a city I have come to love very dearly. Pune will be my kids home town and it better be a good one.

Improved Infrastructure.

1. Roads - The last 3-4 years the one story any local paper could carry and thrash the
government was about the condition of our roads. Lack of any new news, pressed for
time, any journalist could click a few shots on their way to work and an article can be
ready just like that. Come monsoon and every well laid road (so to speak)
start to wither away like leaves in fall. So the one thing I expect to see in the next term of
the Pune corporation is WIDE ROADS. Build the infrastructure for better connectivity
between places. And I am sure there is a quicker way to build a 1 km stretch of an over
bridge without the construction spanning over your term in office and inconveniencing us
poor commuters everyday of our lives. In the last couple of years the work done on the
bombay-pune stretch in the PCMC area is commendable. That was neat. What once took an hour takes just about 20-25 mins now. How cool is that? The Pune muncipal corporation needs to pull up its socks and get going. A lot of internal roads are in a pathetic condition as well.

2. Pedestrian path - Roads should not just end where the mortar stops flowing. Build
concrete pathways on either side of the roads for people to walk. We don't want vehicles to spill
over on to the sideways and nor do we like the idea of walking on the roads praying nothing hits us. Give it a little structure, paint it yellow/black - white/balck whatever is the colour code. So that we know for sure who needs to stay where.

3. Bicycle lane - Add a bicycle lane EVERYWHERE. We have way too many people
riding bicycles on our roads and they are so not safe what with lack of any safety
measures. When you decide to build bicycle lanes, make sure you give them continuity
because the city does have bicycle lanes on some roads and then it simply dissappears on
the next road. Not sure what that was suppose to mean - hop , skip and cycle, is that what
you meant?

4. Public transport - We live in a rental but we have 2 cars. The only reason people like
us have 2 cars before we buy a house is because that is the only convinient and
economical way to commute in the city. Cannot afford to trust the "once in a while"
buses on the route or the rickshaw wallas who will ask for a full return/double return
without blinking an eyelid. You have talked about the metro for 8+ years now. I first read
about it when I was single and very new to Pune. It gave me a lot to dream about this
city. I moved from single to married to 2 kids and that metro is still a very very distant
dream. It gets dusted and restyled with a new fancy photo everytime anybody uttered the
word mordernization. I really don't care if its the metro or the extension of the railways or
a few hundred new buses on the road. Anything that can ensure safety and are quick and
economical way to reach my destination. I have read that your teams are done visiting
Ahmedabad(BRT) and Delhi(metro) and are now visiting foreign locations to study a
good transport system for the city. I say stop wasting my money. Tour the city to give it a
good transport system.

5. Parks and Gardens. I am not sure if there is a rule regarding the proportion of gardens/
parks to the population in x km radius. If there is, it is a very skewed one in Pune. The
real-estate business is booming and builders are busy selling tall towers with really no
space for kids to run around. The little space that they sell as the garden is quite
insufficient and is pretty only in print. The PMC & PCMC should ensure a healthy ratio
of general Garden/Parks to Population in a given area. We need something of a garden
city movement in Pune before its too late. I really feel very strongly about this. A Park
should be available at 10-15mins walk from anywhere in the city. Is that too much to
ask? Our kids need to play and where else can they kick a ball high enough so that it isn't
hitting someone's car or bike or not breaking into people's house and also not subjecting
older folks to a lot of yelling and shouting every evening or every holiday.

6. Rivers - The mula-mutha rivers flow through out the city. Many bridges in the city are
Mula-Mutha river
built over it. Clean them up. Stop using them as dumping grounds even for the ganesh
festivals. It would be such a wonderful sight to see them all cleaned up with walls built
tall to demarcate the banks. How beautiful would that make this city. A riverview address
wouldn't then necessarily mean foul smell and mosquitoes but indeed the view of the
serenely flowing mula-mutha river. Another tourist attraction maybe. A girl can dream right.
Have seen half-hearted efforts in many pockets in the city but that isn't enough.

7. Protect our hills and trees of Pune - Pune is very well located admist the ghats. It is
Purple Sunbird
surrounded by hills and there are many roads that are well shaded by trees that are atleast
a 60-100 years old. We need to preserve our greens and our hills. Do not let the crazy real
estate guys, greedy to make a quick buck, raze down trees and the hills without a good
reason. Pune is home to a variety of birds and also has seen quite a number of migratory
birds fly in and out. Morning on our balcony is quite a treat where we can sip on tea/
coffee and watch birds in all sizes and colours come dance around on the tree in front of
us. I regret not having a decent SLR camera to capture them.  We need to keep the
synergy of of the green and concrete alive.

Efficient Systems

8. Waste management - There is filth running over many roads of Pune. We need a whole
lot more fixed dustbins on the roads and a system and process where they are collected
every single day. Even in prominent areas of the city garabage is found overflowing from
dustbins right at the gate of many huge societies. The term 'Waste management' also
involves the process of whatever happens to the waste that is collected and dumped.
Again I wonder if privatization is an option here. The way it works now, it isn't in the
least bit sufficient or efficient.

9. Need a grieveance addressal number - A number that I can call to report overcharging
rickshaw-wallas. A number I can call to report a pot hole in the middle of a road. A
number I can call to remind officials to switch off the street lights in the morning and to
report street lights that aren't working. A fallen tree should not take a week to be
dismantled and cleaned up. A system that can track a problem/issue to closure.

10. Stray animals - The one thing that gets me mad is foreigners asking me about
elephants and camels walking the streets of India making it sound like a scene right out of
Indiana Jones. A lot of this we take for granted when we live in India but ideally these
animals are not supposed to be on the roads. Why the hell is an elephant or a camel
walking city roads?? Is there no law against that? Don't we need one? Why are herds
crossing city roads and shitting all over as they parade? I think the corporation needs to
start addressing them and I hope the solution will not require herds of cows and sheeps
and goats cross city roads at all and specially during peak hours.

Mula mutha picture courtesy - http://rummuser.com/?p=6182
Purple Sunbird picture courtesy - http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/category/birds/


Anonymous said...

This is my wishlist for Chennai as well!Except perhaps the metro ..we are on our way to ahve it..a nd literally living the saying ,no pain no gain :)

Sunita said...

Lucky you. It is argued that maybe Pune does not need a metro. Just a good Bus system should suffice. Whatever it is ...just get it going. We can't be discussing this for the next elections as well. We have already spent 2 terms discussing just the same.

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Risha said...

I feel the need of a lake (Clean) or a fountain actually a lake coz ocean cannot be built here :) to sit and relax

Naresh said...

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Keep writing. You are good at it.

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Priya said...

You know, I like the idea of Pune having wider roads; but I can't help fearing that wider roads means more potholes! By the way, the picture of the Purple Sunbird is really beautiful. I highly doubt Pune is going to stay surrounded by the famous hills for long, with the rate at which tearing down the nature! We really need to do something about that, don't we. Great post, I agree with you on every point!