Pune: The civic administration’s decision to divert funds worth Rs 10 crore meant for the bicycle project to road sweeping has not gone down well with civic activists, especially those engaged in promoting non-motorised transport.
The move of diverting the funds, which were made available in the current fiscal for executing the cycle plan, is seen as a further delay in the execution of the bicycle plan to make Pune a cycle-friendly city.
The total fund allocation for executing the Integrated Cycle Project is Rs 40 crore. After realising that the project cannot see the light of the day, the civic body recently diverted Rs 10 crore for carrying out road sweeping in all the regional ward offices jurisdictions.
However, the PMC claimed that the funds were diverted because the preparation of the final draft of the bicycle plan is underway. Once the draft is ready, the actual implementation will start. When contacted, Pedestrian First convener Prashant Inamdar said the funds should not have been diverted. At least, they should be used for renovating existing cycle tracks and improving their quality.
“After taking much efforts and persuasion, the civic administration started making monetary provisions for promoting cycling. However, merely making monetary provisions in the budget is not enough. The civic administration should take the issue seriously and put it in its priority list,” Inamdar told Sakal Times.
“If the fund is kept unutilised for a long time then the possibility of it getting diverted for another reason arises. At least, the civic administration should start implementing the cycle project so that it becomes difficult to leave the project half-done,” he said.
Sanskriti Menon, who has been engaged in preparing the Comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan for Pune, said the preliminary draft of the Pune Cycle Plan was open for public comments and suggestions till September 30. The PMC received over 700 comments from citizens, cyclists, civic activists and experts. The major thrust of the comments is on substantial support to cycle plan, while some expressed apprehensions about actual implementation of the plan. “Once the suggestions by citizens are included in the draft plan, the PMC will approve it for actual implementation,” she said.