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Initiative in Aundh, Baner, Balewadi (ABB) has failed on certain specific fronts - resident engagement, public transport and smart parking initiatives

While there was much excitement when Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Smart City Mission in Balewadi in 2016, many of the residents today feel that despite all the publicity razzmatazz, several things are missing from the big list of promised projects.

“It was great initiative by PM Modi to incorporate Smart city project with people engagement. We were looking forward for the things which were lacking in Aundh Baner Balewadi to come under Smart City. Footpaths have been done great and walkable that’s only the plus point we have. Smart city have failed on several points like the monthly meeting of Citizen engagement with smart city have been called off for past year.

So no update or suggestion are welcomed from any forums and individual,” said Rupesh Junawane, resident of Aundh

Most disappointed were the residents of Balewadi for none of their suggestions were included. “I was member of citizen participation before Smart City began in Balewadi, but when we raised questions over their way of working in the area, especially with road infrastructure, parking and water recycling, we were not invited again for citizen participation. Instead, they took up projects like place making and gardens which were of least importance when then road infrastructure was important,” said Vijay Varangaonkar, resident of Balewadi.

People’s feedback and concern of current changes on roads should have been looked into, said Junawane adding that private land have been acquired without concern of owner and are asked to go to court and after 2 years, no TDR or simple process made separately to society’s who have handed over land in Sanghvi nagar.

He added that roads with commercial interest have been revised to 24 meters from 30 meters passed in PMC, local corporator have field case against same in court.

Many of the residents feel that the roads have less carriageway and big footpath adding to the increasing traffic on all five roads: Mahadji Shinde, Parihar Chowk, ITI Road, Ambedkar chowk, Nagras road, Bhale chowk.

The residents also said that three different gardens were supposed to be built in ABB plans for which were shared by Smart City, yet after 2 years nothing has happened.

Ranjit Gadgil, working with NGO Parisar said, “Overall the whole mission has been a disappointment. As per the Smart City Plan for Pune, we were to expect a substantial increase and improvement in public transpor and NMT along with so called “smart parking”.

We were promised 100 e-buses and 100 e-rikshaws, 8 km BRT to Hinjewadi and “smart” bus stops, but none of this has materialized. While the Smart City boasted about the Public Bicycle Scheme (PBS) that had been launched by private operators (with no assistance, financial or otherwise) from it, now that the operators have departed, the Smart City has failed to intervene and ensure the service for people. The Smart City Plan has a provision of 10 crores for 1200 bicycle and 112 cycle stations, but there is no sign of it. In the Pan City proposal we were to see “real time tracking of buses using GPS”, which would have enabled people to use smart apps to know when the next bus is arriving, but again this is also a non-starter.”

Some interesting projects, innovations have been taken up, such as street design, public bicycle share, environmental sensors, Zero Waste (which is to start shortly) etc. “The PSCDCL staff have also been open to discuss many innovations. Many discussions, hackathons, conferences and events have been arranged which surely help bring new ideas. There is a lot more to do with IT support in public services.

Structured and inclusive participation processes of the citizens should also be enhanced with IT support, beyond social media and complaints management. Improved communication about project details would be helpful.

For example there are 12 to 13 projects on mobility. How these will help reduce private vehicle use, reduce emissions and improve sustainable mobility and improve our quality of life - if this can be communicated by PSCDCL it would help to bring public support for the projects,” said Sanskriti Menon, resident of Aundh.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Prachi Bari

Quelle/Source: Hindustan Times, 03.08.2019

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