August 15th, 2011, 07:52 PM
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Will it finish, al-RDE?
PMC’s work to widen the Vishrantwadi-Dhanori Road has hit a snag halfway as the Research and Development Establishment refuses to do away with a crucial piece of land, citing security concerns
The Vishrantwadi-Dhanori Road construction has been completed halfway. The RDE land (wall on the right), which it claims houses sensitive defence research offices, is crucial to the last leg of the widening process
The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) ongoing process of widening the Vishrantwadi-Dhanori Road has suffered a setback as the Research and Development Establishment (R&DE) laboratory of the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has denied permission to use their land for completing the remaining stretch of the road. This stretch is too narrow and causes traffic jams and accidents during the peak hours.
According to the PMC’s engineering department, the R&DE authorities have made it clear that they can’t hand over this piece of land for road widening purpose as it houses sensitive defence research offices and residential quarters. The PMC has submitted five proposals to the R&DE since 2006, all of which have been rejected by the authorities.
R&DE director S Guruprasad said, “We have written to the PMC and are awaiting their response. This is a government land and I don’t own it. The decision has to be taken at the headquarters level and nothing can be done here. We have to follow the rules laid down by DRDO. We have responded to each of the queries put in by the PMC, but they haven’t replied to ours.”
However, denying the allegations, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) Officer on Special Duty, Vinay Kumar Deshpande, said “We have replied to each and every query raised by R&DE and are even ready to pay compensation.
I have visited their office a number of times, met the Pune Sub Area Commander but they are not ready to hand over the land citing national security. They say they are controlled by the home department. We have been following the issue with the defence department for the past three years and have submitted several proposals to them but to no avail.”
The narrow part of the road has been causing many accidents as it creates a bottleneck
Deshpande said that the issue needs to be sorted out at the earliest as there are traffic bottlenecks on the road.
The proposal put forth by the land acquisition department of PMC states that the civic body requires 10362.09 square metres of land from the R&DE as traffic has increased significantly on the road. The number of military vehicles plying on the road has also gone up. Widening of the road would be beneficial to both civilians and defence personnel, the proposal said, and also offered compensation at the rates decided by the Defence Estate Office.
Corporator Rekha Tingare said that the narrow road has witnessed a number of accidents. “Residents have been facing traffic problems for long, and they just want the road work to be finished soon. Time and again, the defence authorities cite ‘national security’ as the reason behind not giving the land to the PMC. Completion of the stalled construction work is imperative considering the rapid urbanisation of Dhanori,” Tingare said.
Saubhik Mahajan, a resident of Ambanagri Residential society on Dhanori road said that the pending road work was causing serious problems for commuters.
“Several bikers have crashed against the R&DE wall and sustained serious injuries. The PMC should take up the issue with the DRDO headquarters and sort out the matter immediately. If not, the citizens will be forced to step in and take up the matter directly with the DRDO,” Mahajan said.