Amit Paranjape’s Blog

Pune’s development – A strong need for lobbying!

Posted in Current Affairs, Pune by Amit Paranjape on December 1, 2014

Pune is the largest city (metro area) in the country, which is not a capital city. It is very strategic and important for the state and the country from multiple standpoints – Manufacturing, Software, Education, Defense, Research, Heritage, Culture, etc. Over the past three centuries, it has played a key ‘thought leadership’ role for the country in politics, social reform, culture, industry and education.

And yet, we find that Pune’s development and planning is in a complete mess. Delhi gets a lot of attention, thanks to it being the capital of the country. Other metros (e.g. Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad) get some attention from the state governments. Unfortunately, Pune hasn’t really fit well in the priority schemes of the state or the center.

Ideally if the metro areas have their own governance (and budget allocation) mechanisms (like in many countries), the Pune metro area can take care of itself. Unfortunately in India, cities are not autonomous. They have to rely on the state and central governments for budgets, planning, approvals, etc.

How do we fix this situation? PMRDA is a good step…but not enough. Basically, what we need is strong city-centric lobbying with the state and central governments for all tactical and strategic issues!

Take the example of Pune Airport, Metro, PMRDA itself… pending for such a long time with no clear decision making and urgency. There are plenty of examples. The city doesn’t even have a ring road, even though it has been under discussion for decades. Public transportation is a mess (most probably the lowest percentage of commuters travel by public transit in Pune, as compared to other metros).

Given that Pune is not a capital city, the lobbying needs to be much more than that is being done by other metros. We have a much steeper slope to climb. Lobbying needs to happen at all fronts, across all levels – across sectors of industry, across levels of government and bureaucracy, etc.

Organizations like the Pune International Center, MCCIA, Local Media, Local Industry Leaders, and Education Leaders can play a big role in regularly highlighting the city’s issues. Ultimately, every Punekar should take this up as their responsibility to lobby for the city’s development agenda. I am trying to do my small bit via the social media (twitter). The effectiveness of social media is increasing day by day, and provides a good option for the ordinary citizen to highlight their issues.


4 Responses

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  1. Manoj said, on December 1, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Sir, no doubt city need lobbying to get the things done. I support your thoughts. May be priority need to set in terms of infrastructure and business growth balance. In last few years our definition for infrastructure in the city means road work expansion, bus stops, BRT with no downstream utilization and big housing projects to accommodate increasing population. May be few steps like no new private cars lics. for a year and improving PMMPL buses, utilize already built routes. Parking mandate for private commercial vehicles to avoid parking on roads etc.

  2. Uday Phatak said, on December 1, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Very true.
    The process should have commenced along with the development of Hinjewadi,but it is never late to start.
    Uday Phatak

  3. Sandeep Patil (Mindblogs) said, on December 1, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    I think you have said it in your second line “….Manufacturing, Software, Education, Defense, Research, Heritage, Culture, etc.”

    This has rendered Pune in “Jack of all…” situation. To this add the disadvantage of not being a capital city. All the same it is the 7th largest metro of India and in terms of population it would be ahead of most of the international capitals, let alone Indian state capitals.

    It’s high time Pune should focus on what were its’ core competences – education, cultural heritage (read as potential in cultural tourism) and thought leadership. Sadly, I do not see name of Pune anymore in these areas. And what once was a charming town has become a mass of concrete which is not able to bear its’ own weight (similar to Bangalore)

    It needs to free itself from the excessive burden that it has taken in last couple of decades like software and sports and outsource it to other suitable places in Maharashtra. This will restore regional imbalance, and stop the influx of people.

    It doesn’t matter when anybody doesn’t take steps to reduce the influx, I think in few years people will start moving out of the heavy-weight metros.

  4. Dhananjay Nene said, on December 2, 2014 at 10:14 am

    One point to look at would be to contrast with PCMC. PCMC faces the same constraints you describe. Yet in many ways, it ensures a far superior infrastructure (the latest road from aundh to the entrance of the expressway is one fantastically well developed road). So is it lobbying that is helping PCMC? Or is it just plain governance? Or something else.

    I get the nagging feeling the issue is governance, but you might be better informed than me

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