Thursday, October 16, 2008

Before Games, it's BRTS in PCMC areas

Before the start of the Commonwealth Youth Games, the Pimpri-Chinchwad will have the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) ready and running on the 12-km stretch of the Mumbai-Pune highway between Nigdi and Dapodi. The system, however, will be implemented on an experimental basis.

According to municipal commissioner Ashish Sharma, the BRTS routes on the highway will be ready by early next month. "We intend make the BRTS functional before the Games. The work is nearing completion," he told reporters on Friday. When questioned about the buses, Sharma said that they will be outsourced from private agencies. "We plan to run buses only on the circular route between Nigdi and Dapodi as the BRTS route is yet to be integrated with the PMC's corridor," he said.

Earlier at the general body meeting, Sharma allayed fears raised by Congress corporator Shrerang Barne about the failure of BRTS in the twin townships, just as it had in Pune because of improper implementation. "We have studied the deficiencies of BRTS in Pune and have ensured that we do not repeat the same mistakes. The designs for BRTS on the Mumbai-Pune highway stretch and the 13-km Aundh-Ravet stretch are different," he said.

In response to a suggestion by Barne that the PCMC should implement the metro rail project instead of the BRTS, Sharma said that implementing the metro system would require huge amount of capital. "PCMC has planned to implement the BRTS on eight routes covering 90 kms. The construction cost of metro is Rs 200 crore per kilometre; the PCMC would require Rs 18,000 crore for the metro project," he said. Sharma however, added that the BRTS corridors can later be converted into metro routes. Barne maintained that he was opposed to the implementation of BRTS.

In another development on Friday, the Union government sanctioned an instalment of Rs 110 crore for development of the BRTS in the district. According to the city development plan, estimated cost of the two BRTS routes was Rs 312 crore.

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