Security China eyes Pune for smart city projects

January 6, 2015

Chinese Government Officials today visited Pune to explore opportunities to collaborate on the Smart City project announced by the government of India. A team led by Senior Chinese Government Officials participated in a conference organised by Unique Delta Force Security.

Pune based Unique Delta Force Security, today also inked a 50:50 joint venture with China-based Security China to market their products and concepts. Both the companies declined to share financial details of the JV.

According to Alan Chow, CEO Security China, firm providing security solutions and services, said that the security solutions market of India is of $ 2.5 billion which is 5 per cent of the global market.

“India has a huge potential for security solutions. The Government of India is keen on developing smart cities, our company will create a cluster to provide security solutions. We are beginning with Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporations in association with Unique Delta Security. We will provide techno commercial assistance to develop such initiatives as a part of “China – India Mutually Beneficially Co-operation Plan,” said Chow.

The company has established a smart and security cluster in Shaoxing District in China. The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) in China has set up 90 smart city demonstration areas and more applications are under review.

The company focuses on three sectors- business, production and service and targets to build a global network of permanent resource providing centers globally through its National Premier Partners.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has focused India’s attention on the urbanisation imperative and got the “smart city” concept buzzing. The agenda includes urban renewal of 500 cities, rejuvenation of heritage cities (like Varanasi), and the implementation of 100 smart cities; understood to be both “greenfield” and “brownfield”.

Several countries like Japan, Germany, Sweden, Singapore, Israel, United Kingdom, the United States of America, Hongkong and the Netherlands besides multinational corporate have shown keen interest in partnering in building smart cities in India. Many private players like Microsoft, IBM, Essel Group and Prince of Qatar have shown interest in developing smart cities in India.


Source:Business Standard

Smart cities’ draft note highlights parking needs

January 5, 2015

Pune: Among the benchmarks for smart cities, besides an efficient public transport, water supply, electricity, and wi-fi connectivity, there is also a need for civic bodies to formulate building and parking standards.

A draft note for ‘smart cities scheme’ of the union urban development ministry dwells on the pillars of institutional infrastructure including governance, physical, social and economic amenities, and how the centre of attention for each of them should be the citizen.

The note observes that the first pillar of institutional infrastructure including governance itself, the current structures do not focus on citizen participation. “People do not get the feel of ownership of city. There is a need for involving citizens in decision-making processes. Procedures are cumbersome and citizens often find it difficult to secure public services they seek,” it says.

Citing an example, the ministry says that when it comes to handling the basic traffic and transportation system, issues of parking arrangements, traffic lights, street lights, and fleet of buses are handled by various departments. It makes the situation more complex for the citizens.

While the Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporations as well as the mayors and elected representatives have demanded the inclusion of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad into smart cities’ plan, NGOs have often complained to the civic bodies that citizens are not taken into confidence and have no participation in civic issues including the transportation system where more flyovers and subways are being built instead of improving the public transport system.

Like other cities, Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad can learn from the draft note, say experts. The note says that many policies governing urban areas are old and need to be reviewed in view of changing needs of the city. It says that provisions like parking space requirements, building bylaws are archaic and do not meet the demand for the present-day requirements.

“Rapid urbanization of cities has resulted in unplanned development and urban sprawl. Cities are marred by congested central business districts and are deteriorating at the core. While planning smart cities, emphasis needs to be given on planned development and decongestion of CBDs,” the ministry says.

The trend of urbanization that is seen in the country over the last few decades will continue for some more time, says the ministry. While the urban population is currently around 31% of the total population, it contributes over 60% of the country’s GDP.

It is projected that urban areas will contribute nearly 75% of the national GDP in the next 15 years. Reforms in how cities are governed are necessary as high quality governance, with a strong citizen say in decision making, is critical for smart cities, the note adds.


Source: Times of India

Governor seeks action on roads in fringes

October 7, 2013


PUNE: Governor K Sankaranarayanan has directed the state Urban Development (UD) department to take appropriate actions to widen roads in the 23 merged villages in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) limits.Despite the civic administration approving the road widening proposal, the PMC standing committee continues to let it gather dust. Ujjwala Dandekar, under secretary to the governor, in her letter to the state UD has said, “As per the orders (of governor), the letter submitted by corporator Aba Bagul is being forwarded for necessary action.”

In March 2011, Congress corporator Aba Bagul had proposed that the roads in the merged villages be widened by 50% anticipating the increase in the number of vehicles. Bagul had forwarded the proposal to the standing committee, which had sent it to the civic administration. The villages have a 1,000-km road network. The civic administration agreed to the proposal saying that the plan was feasible and can be implemented.

“Since then the proposal is pending with the standing committee. I requested the municipal commissioner to go ahead with the proposal and start widening roads using his special powers. However, there has been no response on the matter, so far. I approached the governor and urged him to direct the UD to take appropriate action. I hope the PMC will take serious note,” said Bagul.

The Development Plan (DP) for 23 villages merged in the civic limits was prepared in 2000 and the vehicular movement has increased considerably.

The standing committee has to decide and then implementation is possible. The panel’s members said the Congress has to take a stand and support Bagul. “The Congress should take a concrete stand and only then the committee will be able to take decision,” said one of the standing committee members.

However, only one faction of the Congress has expressed opposition to Bagul’s proposal. “I don’t know why some people are opposing the proposal and whose interests will be hampered if it is approved. However, road widening is necessary as merged villages are facing traffic congestion,” said Bagul.



Higher fines on cards for parking violations

August 14, 2013

PUNE: Parking in no-parking zones or straying into bus rapid transit system (BRTS) lanes in Pimpri Chinchwad may soon attract heavy penalties ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000, with a new proposal from the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) awaiting the nod.

The traffic police and the civic body will share the fine amount equally if the proposal comes through.

The civic administration has tabled the proposal for the city improvement committee’s (CIC) approval. The proposal explains how motorists park their vehicles haphazardly on and along roads, obstructing vehicular

traffic and causing congestion. It states how the traffic police have the right to impose fines on such errant individuals under the Motor Vehicles Act, but the fine amount is significantly low to act as a deterrent for repeat offences.

With rising vehicle numbers, such offences are only expected to increase. The traffic police has been long demanding that the PCMC grant powers to them on the lines of Pune Municipal Corporation, under Section 208 of the Maharashtra Municipal Act, which allows them to impose fines on all vehicles that are parked without authorisation, parked in no-parking areas and are driven in BRTS lanes. The Pune civic body had granted such powers to the traffic police in 2004.

The Pimpri Chinchwad civic general body had approved a resolution in August 2009 to grant powers to the traffic police to take action against only commercial vehicles. The traffic department has been seeking the powers to take action against all types of vehicles. The approval of the city improvement committee, standing committee and general body are necessary to grant such powers to the traffic police.

A PCMC official said that the proposal was kept pending by CIC, since its members have sought more information from the traffic police.

Vikas Patil, president, Paryavaran Sanvardhan Samiti said, “The fine is not a solution for disciplining people; it might increase corruption. The civic body must remove all vehicle repair, washing and selling centres located on pavements. Banks, ATMs and shops facing roads must make adequate parking arrangements for their customers to prevent roadside parking. Basements must be used only for parking vehicles.”



Maharashtra to stand by DMRC’s elevated metro proposal

August 14, 2013


PUNE: The state government will stick to the elevated metro plan proposed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for Pune, setting aside all the objections raised by NGOs, civic groups and the state finance department, deputy chief minister AjitPawar said on Saturday.


He was speaking during an interaction with the media at the Pune Union of Working Journalists.


Pawar said, “It is a fact that the metro project has been delayed. We have heard all the suggestions made by NGOs, experts, citizens and political parties. For the last few years the city has debated about (the merits and demerits of) underground and elevated metro. However, the fact is the city cannot afford an underground metro and hence we have decided to go ahead with the original plan (proposed by the DMRC).”


Pawar said, however, the state was not in a position to announce an exact date of completion for the metro project.


He added, “Recently, a delegation from a citizens’ group headed by Vijay Kelkar submitted a memorandum saying Pune should have an underground metro. We need to understand that an underground metro project is unaffordable and the resultant fares will also be high. The motive to have public transport will be defeated if citizens refuse to use metro because of high fares.”


Pawar said the state finance department has raised objections to the financial model for the project. “The state government will overrule objections raised by the finance department and go ahead with the project. The finance department has its own views, which are not binding on the cabinet. (For instance), the proposal of pensions for MLAs was opposed by the finance department, but the cabinet approved it.”


Finance department officials have suggested that the municipal corporation’s share in the total project cost be hiked to 20% from the existing 10%, while the state and central governments should put in 20% each. The rest should be raised by the Special Purpose Vehicle.



Transfer of govt land for metro made easier

August 14, 2013



PUNE: The Central government has approved a proposal to facilitate smooth transfer of government land for speedy execution of metro projects across the country.State urban development department officials said the decision means that metro projects in cities like Pune could be extended to fringes in the future and seek government land for the same. “The process to get government land was technical and required many clearances. Now, if the state government and the local governing body want government land for metro project, the Centre will approve the same without any delay,” said a state UDD official.

According to the proposal, metro companies formed by the state and local governing bodies will be treated under rules that are applied in the case of Central Public Sector Undertakings (PSU). This will allow transfer/ alienation of land including defence land to metro rail companies having 50:50 partnership with the government of India and the state government concerned, on the same pattern and terms and conditions as applicable to PSUs / statutory bodies.


As per this decision, ongoing and future metro rail projects will be facilitated to get completed within the approved cost and time with subsequent project benefits to the people.


“The state cabinet, in June 2012, gave its nod to the Pune metro project, approving the 14.925-km elevated route from Vanaz to Ramwadi. The cabinet also decided to form the Pune Metro Rail Corporation (PMRC) for the implementation of the metro project. The government decision on land will definitely benefit the city as there are plans to extend the metro in Pune Metropolitan Region,” said the UDD official.


However, land acquisition, which has often stalled several projects including the Bus Rapid Transit System in Pune, will not be a problem for the 14.925-km elevated route of the Pune metro rail project from Vanaz to Ramwadi.


About 18.44 hectares land is required for 15 elevated stations and a depot in Kothrud.


Of the total land requirement, 14 hectare belongs to the government and the PMC and four hectare is held by private owners. The 14.925 km stretch is planned on roads that are 30m wide and hence no more land acquisition is necessary to construct this metro route.





Pune Municipal Corporation needs Rs 25,000 crore to implement development plan for old city

August 14, 2013


PUNE: Preparing a new development plan (DP) for Pune city comes with a challenge of raising Rs 25,000 crore, a sum which will be required to improve infrastructure and meet its social obligations in the years to come.

This DP will be for a duration of 20 years (2007-2027), with special provisions for the Pune metro rail, a transport hub, expansion of main roads, schemes for housing for the needy and cluster development of old dilapidated ‘wadas’.

The PMC had earlier admitted that implementation of consecutive DPs drawn up in 1966 and 1987 was “pathetic” as a majority of the plans have remained on paper. In fact, only 40% of the 1987 DP has been implemented so far. Reservations for basic amenities like public urinals, play grounds, hospitals have not been developed. The 1987 DP reservations covered an area of around 1,000 hectare, of which only 134 hectare has been developed.

With bitter experiences of the past, the civic administration has worked on details of the financial feasibility analysis for the new plan.

The civic body has drafted a DP applicable to the old city area comprising 17 Peths and surrounding areas spread in a diameter of 147.85 sq km. It proposes 921 reservations covering 1,080.79 hectares for amenities like health, education, recreation, etc. The 1987 DP had 587 reservations for the purpose.

The civic administration, however, cites financial constraints, besides procedural delays, as a major reason for failure to implement the DP. City engineer Prashant Waghmare said, “The total cost of the draft DP is Rs 25,806.07 crore. The civic administration has made a detailed study on its financial aspects and has incorporated these conclusions. It is a must for any planning body to have a financial plan ready and the PMC has worked out the possible revenue resources which will help us carve out an implementation budget.”

A financial assessment document of the PMC incorporated in the draft DP states: “A detailed cost of acquisition and development of reservations, roads, tunnels, flyovers, buildings etc. has been worked out. Adequate deductions were then made for provisions made in the Development Control Regulation, such as accommodation reservation, Transfer of Development Right (TDR), amenity spaces use of (Floor Space Index) FSI of reservation and development TDR, mechanism of Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) etc”.

The total provision in the PMC annual budget has worked out to Rs 3,570.96 crore over a period of 10 years. This implies that every year a provision of Rs 357.96 crore has to be made in the PMC budget to meet the cost of acquisition and development of amenities proposed in the DP.

The reservation have been worked out based on the projected population of Pune by 2017 while the land use and zoning proposals have been planned based on the projected population by 2027. The cost required for land acquisition has been worked out by referring to values of land that is land cost, as mentioned in the Ready Reckoner 2011.

“The PMC’s revenue sources are shrinking. Pune is sixth in the list of big emerging cities in India and earlier the administration had categorically stated that an ideal annual budget for the city should be Rs 9,828 crore. However, elected representatives are against any tax hike. It is a fact that the city is falling short of funds for new projects and maintenance of the completed projects. If the city wants DP implemented, citizens should be ready to pay from their pockets and politicians need to stop playing to popular tunes,” said a senior official in the civic accounts department.

Expedite implementation of ITS, Rajan tells PMC

June 24, 2013


PUNE: State additional chief secretary (home)AmitabhRajan on Wednesday directed the civic authorities to expedite implementation ofIntelligent Traffic System (ITS) in the city.Rajan was here to preside over a meeting to review the progress of all proposed traffic improvement works in the city.

During the meeting, he discussed issues concerning encroachments on footpaths and roadsides, procurement of additional buses by PMPML, smooth functioning of all traffic signals, and implementation of the pay and park system for vehicles.

Municipal commissioner Mahesh Pathak, police commissioner Gulabrao Pol, deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Vishwas Pandhare, and PMPML chairman and managing director Ramchandra Joshi were also present at the meeting.

The implementation of the intelligent traffic system has been delayed for over four years. The system, to be developed at a cost of Rs 16 crore, was to be made operational before the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008. However, it has failed to take off due to various reasons.

The system, which is ready for use, can detect traffic signal violations. It can also help in operations of bus rapid transit system. It has a surveillance system.

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) officials said it has decided to appoint a private agency for managing the ITS. PMC has already invited bids for the same.

“The process of appointing the agency should be completed as soon as possible,” Rajan said, adding that authorities should also expedite the proposals of construction of flyovers at Ghorpadi and Lullanagar.

A proposal to decentralize the operations of the state transport bus service also came up during the meeting. The officials also discussed whether the open spaces of all octroi posts should be given for state transport bus operations.

Rajan has directed the civic authorities to expedite the proposals of construction of flyovers at Ghorpadi and Lullanagar.

The review meeting with officials of all concerned departments is held every month as per the directions of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.

The buses move from busy arterial roads in the city, thus, causing traffic congestion at the Swargate and Shivajinagar terminals.

Pune mulls Mumbai model to speed up metro project

June 17, 2013

Radheshyam Jadhav, TNN |

 PUNE: The Pune metro project may follow the Mumbai model of public private partnership (PPP) which means increased involvement of the Centre in the funding process.

The Maharashtra government and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) are mulling over Mumbai metro model of Public Private Partnership (PPP) involving central funds to expedite the Pune metro project.

The recent meeting of the state urban development department (UDD) with PMC officials concluded that the Union government’s PPP model would help the Pune metro project raise the required funds.

A PMC official said that urban transport is inter-twined with urban development and is under the purview of the state government. The concerned state and the city implementing urban transport project need to work on financial model and hence the state government is tapping options for Pune metro funding. The PPP model involving central funding has been adopted for the Hyderabad metro project (71.16 km) and Mumbai metro line 1 with length of 11.40 km and line 2 with length of 31.871 km. According to the state and PMC officials this model would help to avoid any further delay to start the project.

In June last year, the state cabinet gave its assent to the much-awaited Pune metro rail project, approving the 14.925-km elevated route from Vanaz to Ramwadi. The cabinet also decided to form the Pune Metro Rail Corporation (PMRC) for implementing the project, which is planned to be completed within the next four years. The cabinet nod for the metro project had come close on the heels of the union urban development ministry’s decision to consider metros in cities with a population of more than 20 lakh.

The overarching model for Pune metro will be Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) proposed model, where 10% of the project cost will be contributed by the PMC while the state and Centre will contribute 20% each.

The remaining 50% will be raised by a special purpose vehicle (SPV) using various options like build-operate-transfer (BOT) and public private partnership (PPP).

The PPP model opted by Hyderabad and Mumbai has helped these cities get substantial Union government funding along with the PPP investment, said the state officials in the meeting. The PMC has been asked to work on a proposal to be submitted to the Union government.

The Metro Story


In 2006, Union minister Sharad Pawar told the PMC and the PCMC to submit a plan for a metro. DMRC’s expertise was sought and the corporation recommended its model.


The corporation suggested setting up of a Pune Metro Rail Corporation to oversee all options. Completion target set for 2014-15 at a cost of Rs 8,401 crore for the first corridor from Pimpri-Chinchwad to Swargate and Rs 9,534 crore for second corridor from Vanaz to Ramwadi.


10% of the total project cost to be contributed by the PMC while the state and Centre to give 20% each. The remaining 50% will be raised by the special purpose vehicle (SPV) using options like Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and Public Private Partnership (PPP).




Mumbai sea link banks on ultra-high traffic flows

February 23, 2008

Reliance Energy has quoted a concession period that has taken even MSRDC by surprise.

The Reliance Energy-led consortium’s ambitious bid, which helped it emerge the preferred bidder for the Rs 6,000-crore Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, has set a new performance benchmark in the infrastructure business.

The consortium has offered to build the 22-km six-lane bridge, which will connect Sewri and Nhava Sheva (see map), by 2013, recover the costs from revenues and hand it back to the nodal agency, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), in just nine years and 11 months.

In technical parlance, this is known as the concession period.

To put this in context, the Mukesh Ambani-controlled Sea King Infrastructure, which was the only other bidder, quoted a concession period of 75 years.

Significantly, in 2004, MSRDC itself estimated a 35-year concession period for the sea link project. For the Mumbai-Pune expressway, the period was 30 years.

Indeed, Parvez Umrigar, managing director of Gammon, said his construction engineering company had decided to opt out of the sea link project because of the “frightening equation of risk and return”. Umrigar declined, however, to comment on the Reliance Energy bid.

So what made the Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Energy quote a concession period that has taken even MSRDC by surprise?

Reliance Energy declined to comment on the issue.

In its 2004 study, the MSRDC had projected a traffic of 50,000 passenger car units (PCUs) a day when the bridge was completed.

But back-of-the-envelope calculations show just to break even, the Reliance Energy consortium would need a minimum of 1,09,589 PCUs a day paying an average toll of Rs150 for around 10 years.

A passenger car unit considers one truck as 2.5 passenger cars to calculate the overall traffic.

An industry expert said the operational cost for the project will be at least Rs 500 crore over 10 years.

Besides, the usual debt-equity ratio for such infrastructure projects is 70:30. Assuming a conservative 5 per cent interest rate on the debt, the interest cost for a 15-year loan would be around Rs 3,000 crore.

If the consortium wants just a 10 per cent return on its investment, the traffic requirement on the bridge would easily be around 250,000 PCUs a day — five times the MSRDC’s traffic estimate.

MSRDC, however, said the traffic demand has changed a lot since 2004 and the figure is expected to be much higher in 2013, when the bridge is operational.

“The construction of the special economic zones (SEZs) by Reliance and the new airport in New Mumbai will increase traffic demand hugely,” said Vijay Garva, chief engineer for the link at the MSRDC. He, however, did not give any fresh traffic estimates.

The MSRDC officials added that a lot of traffic on the Mumbai-Pune route would also be diverted to the bridge. The sea link will also ease pressure on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, National Highway-4 and Mumbai-Goa Highway, where traffic is expected to increase.

The MSRDC is asking for a Rs130-crore performance guarantee to be kept with MSRDC so that the bidder sticks to the construction time schedule of five years.

Nitin Gadkare, state BJP president and former public works minister, said Reliance Energy is obviously banking heavily on the new airport at Panvel and the SEZ.

However, the calculations may go awry if any of these projects gets delayed, he said.

Gammon India, however, is not expecting an exponential rise in the traffic from south Mumbai to Nhava Sheva, which is the gateway to traffic from Mumbai to Goa and Pune. Besides, there is already a link bridge in Vashi connecting south Mumbai to New Mumbai.


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