Amit Paranjape’s Blog

Groups/Initiatives/NGOs working for a sustainable Pune traffic management

Posted in Pune by Amit Paranjape on April 30, 2010

Pune is one of the fastest growing cities in India. Over 500 new vehicles are getting added everyday. Clearly the roads and other infrastructure is not keeping pace with the growth. More over, basic lack of discipline amongst all kinds of road users (Trucks, Busses, Cars, 2 Wheelers, Cycles and Pedestrians) is further adding to the already bad situation.

Sustainable Development & Traffic Management in Pune are extremely important issues. Efforts are needed on multiple fronts:

  • Infrastructure Development (Roads/Bridges/Flyovers/etc.)
  • Public Transportation Improvement (Busses/Trains/Metros)
  • Improvements for Pedestrians & Cyclists (Footpaths/Safe Crossings/Cycle Tracks)
  • Better Traffic Management (Signals/One-ways/Parking Restrictions/etc.)
  • Traffic Rules Awareness, Compliance & Safety (Zebra Crossings/Helmets/Seatbelts/etc.)

Detailed Design/Planning/Evaluation and Citizens-Government Interactions are important. However it is also important to not delay the development for too long. This article attempts to list various initiatives/NGOs/other work groups that are active in this area (with links to their websites).

[Note –  1. I personally may not agree with all of their recommendations, but do agree that overall they are doing great work for Pune.   2. I have written a couple blogs on this topic:  2010 Wish List For Pune Traffic  , 10 Things I would like to see before Seat-Belts are made Mandatory in Pune  and will continue to write more in the future]


List of NGOs/Initiatives/Work Groups


Save Pune Traffic Movement

Vision: To achieve an orderly, chaos free and sustainable traffic system for Pune, which will be a model for the rest of India. Focused on driving awareness of traffic rules, compliance, etc.


Parisar is a civil society organization working on lobbying and advocacy for sustainable development. Here’s a good talk by Ranjit Gadgil about the various issues related sustainable traffic development in Pune:  (link credit: )

Intelligent Pune

Current focus on ‘Demystifying the Pune Metro Project’ – discussion on various issues pertaining the current proposed design.

Nirdhar Pune

A group of volunteers working on traffic management and pollution control issues.


Net Impact Pune – a professional chapter of

The group has worked to solve Hinjewadi Traffic problems in the past and is still trying hard to get results based on the research done by partnering with Hinjewadi Industry Association. Check for information on Hinjwadi Traffic Optimization and also the detail report…

Nagrik Chetna Manch:


Surajya Sangharsh Samiti:

Some NGOs which dont have a website (yet):
Pedestrians First (convened by Mr. Prashant Inamdar)
PMP Pravasi Manch


(Thanks Prashant and Salil for their inputs)



If there are any others that I have missed out – please add a comment with details, including a link to their website.

Welcoming Pune’s IPL Team – Sahara Pune Warriors

Posted in Cricket, Pune by Amit Paranjape on April 25, 2010

Sahara Pune Warriors

The ongoing controversy in IPL not withstanding, Pune cricket lovers enthusiastically welcomed the new team in town: Sahara Pune Warriors. Tens of thousands gathered at the S.P. College Grounds yesterday evening for the name and logo unveiling ceremony. The most valuable IPL Team (new franchise bought by the Sahara Group for $370 Million) got a great reception.

A quick poll across friends/colleagues and a look at twitter stream confirms that the name is “ok” – could have been better; but could have been a lot worse! [ E.g. Dare Devils?? Knight Riders?? , etc.] The same goes with the logo. I personally would have preferred something more modern. Though the city’s connection with the ‘Maratha Warrior’ in the logo, is well represented.

What does the team mean for Pune? For starters, it brings world class cricket to Pune. Local talent will get a big opportunity. Pune has never had its share of good cricket – for various reasons. Hopefully, that will be a thing of the past. And yes, IPL will also bring in some great entertainment with it. Cricket purists dislike the excessive focus on entertainment – I too would prefer more focus on cricket, than the peripheral action. But then it is this entertainment that brings the sport to the masses. Just look at how American Sports Leagues(NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) mix the two. The entertainment doesn’t take the focus away from the main sport. The real stars in the American Leagues continue to be the players: Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, or Alex Rodriguez. And the quality of the skill and athleticism are absolutely terrific.

Looking beyond cricket – the fact that Pune got this team, and with such a huge valuation means something else. Finally, Pune as a city is stepping out of the shadows of Mumbai. Pune has always been the cultural capital of Maharashtra – but the economic size and might of Mumbai have always overshadowed Pune. A look at all the original 8 IPL Teams will tell you that all of them are from capital cities. In India, capital cities have always received some ‘special treatment’ when it comes to infrastructure and other development programs – politics (at all levels) contributes to this. In a sense, Pune winning such an expensive franchise is a victory of ‘Economics’. The rapid growth and rising young affluent work force (driven by IT, Automotive and other Business Sectors) was a clear attraction for the various parties bidding for the Pune Team.

The new 55,000 capacity Pune Cricket Stadium (MCA Pune International Cricket Center)  being constructed at Gahunje (off Mumbai-Pune Expressway, near Talegaon) will be one of the best in the world. Take a look at the impressive proposed design:,135/ 

I can’t wait for next year’s IPL. The new auction will decide which players become part of this team. Especially the Mumbai-Pune games will be really interesting. Over the coming years, I am sure these games will develop into intense rivalries. With Mumbai likely playing some games at the D.Y. Patil Stadium and Pune playing near Talegaon, this will be one classic ‘Expressway’ Contest!



ISRO’s GSLV D3 Mission – A Failure? Or A Stepping Stone?

Posted in Science & Technology by Amit Paranjape on April 15, 2010


Lift-Off of GSLV-F04 (image credit: Wikipedia)

It’s a sad coincidence that today’s failure of ISRO’s GSLV D3 Mission happened virtually on the exact day, 40 years on, since Apollo 13! Post the safe splash-down return of Jim Lovell and crew in the Pacific Ocean, many dubbed Apollo 13 as NASA’s most successful failure. How will this first test flight of the ISRO’s indigenously developed cryogenic engine be viewed? Only time will tell.

Space missions are fraught with risks and failures. ISRO has had a reasonably good track record, especially if you compare it with the early days of the USA and USSR Space Programs. And ISRO has been able to achieve success on a literal shoe-string budget as compared to what the other space leaders have spent.

What is the big deal with the Cryogenic Engine? A Cryogenic Engine uses a liquid propellant (typically liquid hydrogen) that is stored at a very low temperature (below –200 C). The other engines that have been used in ISRO’s rockets (including the first two stages of today’s mission) are solid fuel propellant based. Cryogenic Engines deliver a longer duration and more powerful thrust, per unit weight of propellant. They can also be controlled more effectively as compared to solid fuel propellant engines. Hence Cryogenic Engines are critical, as the range and weight capabilities of space missions increase. GSLV rocket has been designed to put heavy payloads (communication satellites, etc.) into a ‘Geo-Synchronous’ orbit (36,000 km orbit around the from earth). It will also provide a basis for future ISRO Missions to the Moon and beyond.

A little after 4:30pm, Indian Standard Time, a huge cloud of gloom descended upon ISRO. The first two stages had performed per expectations. However the 3rd stage powered by the cryogenic engine failed and the flight deviated from its desired path. One look at the scientists faces on TV, said it all. The emotions were there to be seen. It is these emotions that highlight the passion of these scientists, in their quest for building a great space program. In the present age of every-hyped entertainment and sports heroes, it it these real heroes that we all need to be proud of.

I am confident that ISRO will bounce back successfully from today’s failure, with the 2nd test flight due later this year. The data and results will be analyzed and corrective actions taken. Let’s not forget the spectacular success of the recent Chandrayaan Mission!


GSLV Mission / ISRO – Some Useful Links

ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization)


Official Press Release from ISRO about the GSLV D3 Mission

Cryogenic  Rocket Engine

ISRO Wikipedia Entry

ISRO Chandrayaan Mission


Research Institutions in Pune

Posted in Pune by Amit Paranjape on April 5, 2010

Pune is well-known in India and internationally for being a hub of education and research. It has a wide range of academic & research institutions spanning various domains in science, technology, medicine, agriculture, arts, humanities, law, finance, etc. This blog article is an attempt to list out these various institutions. If you find any missing, please add a comment.

University of Pune (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Science & Technology

University of Pune

One of the top universities in the country, established in 1948.

College Of Engineering Pune (COEP)

One of the top engineering colleges in the country. Also, the second oldest engg college in India (Established: 1853).

National Chemical Laboratory

The top research organization in India that is focused on Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI)

A collaborative effort between the Government and Industry, focused on testing and validation of various automotive related technologies.

Bhaskaracharya Pratishthana (Bhaskaracharya Institute of Mathematics)

Educational and Research Institute in Mathematics

Inter University Center For Astronomy & Astro-Physics (IUCAA)

Focused on academics research in astronomy and astro-physics.

National Center For Radio Astro-Physics ((NCRA – TIFR)

A division of TIFR, focused on research in Astro-physics. (Also involved with the GMRT (Giant Meter Wave Radio Telescope) Project near Naranygaon.

Central Institute Of Road Transport (CIRT)

Research on roads and transportation.

Indian Mathematical Society

Indian Mathematical Society (IMS) is the oldest and the largest Mathematical Society of the Countrywith more than 1600 Life Members. The objects of the Society is the promotion of Mathematical Study and Research. Its central activity is to inspire and encourage researchers, educationists, students and all the mathematics loving persons .

Tata Research Development & Design Center (TRDDC)

Part of the Tata Group – focused on research in various engineering and computer science related areas.

Computational Research Laboratories (CRL)

CRL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Ltd. The company is into the R&D and business of High Performance Computing (HPC) services and solutions.

Center For Development In Advanced Computing (CDAC)

Focused on advanced computing related research. Renowned for developing India’s first supercomputer ‘Param’.

Systems Research Institute (SRI)

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research IISER

Research and post-graduate academics in Sciences

Indian Meteorological Department

Weather forecasting and analysis

Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology IITM

Weather forecasting and analysis

Central Water & Power Research CWPRS

Agharkar Research Institute

Bio-sciences, agriculture research

BAIF Development Research Foundation

Research in rural sustainable development – agriculture, animal sciences and bio-energy.

Vasantdada Sugar Institute

Sugarcane and sugar research and process development

Agriculture College

One of the first Agricultural Research Institutions, established over 100 years ago. Research in various types of crops, cultivation, seeds, etc.

National Center For Research In Grapes

Institute of Bio-Informatics & Bio-Technology (IBB)

Research in advanced bio-informatics and bio-technology.

BJ Medical College,_Pune   Academics & Research in the field of Medicine.

Academics and research in medicine.

National Institute of Virology (NIV)

Research in virology. WHO Collaborating Center for arboviruses reference and hemorrhagic fever reference and research. National Monitoring Center for Influenza, Japanese encephalitis, Rota , Measles and Hepatitis.

National AIDS Research Center

Various aspects of research on HIV and AIDS through infra-structural development, capacity building & research programs.

National Center for Cell Science

National Center For Research In Onion & Garlic


Arts, Humanities, Management & Law

University of Pune 

Deccan College  

Film & Television Institute Of India (FTII)

National Film Archives

ILS Law College  One of the top Law Colleges in India

Gokhale Institute

Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute

Bharat Itihaas Sanshodhak Mandal

Max Mueller Bhuvan

National Institute of Banking Management

Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA)

National Insurance Academy

International center of excellence in insurance training, education and research


Defense Related


Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC)

National Defense Academy (NDA)

Defense Institute Of Armament Technology (Previously: Institute of Armament Technology )

College of Military Engineering (CME),_Pune,_India

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