PUNE: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has now succeeded in acquiring around 85 per cent of the land needed for the Chandni Chowk flyover project. The work on the project will start in the beginning of the next year before the elections.
PMC Deputy Municipal Commissioner Santosh Bhor, who is handling the Chandni Chowk land acquisition, said, “National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) requires 11.3 hectares land to start the work of Chandni Chowk project. The PMC has acquired 9.44 hectares and we have started the process of handing it over to NHAI. The documents have been given to NHAI project incharge and we are showing the acquired land to NHAI officials.”
On August 27, 2017, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari performed bhoomi pujan of the project.
Traffic congestion at Chandni Chowk is a long pending issue and the PMC planned a Rs 200 crore project during the Congress-NCP government tenure. However, the project did not take off. After the BJP-led government came to power, Kothrud MLA Medha Kulkarni took up the issue and sought help from Gadkari to get it done under NHAI. Finally, the plan was approved by Gadkari at a cost of Rs 400 crore inclusive of an underpass, a flyover and a service road. However, the PMC was asked to acquire land to implement this project.
As per the agreement in 2015, the PMC would provide land to NHAI for the project. NHAI divided the project into two phases so that the PMC gets time to acquire the 11.4 hectares land for the project.
The PMC conducted a survey of properties in Kothrud and Bavdhan which included residential complexes, bungalows and commercial places which will have to be demolished. Some open plots will also be acquired.
The PMC started land acquisition process in 2017 and found that all project-affected people (PAP) wanted cash compensation and land acquisition cost reached nearly 60 per cent of the total project cost.
As the PMC did not have enough funds to acquire land they diverted Rs 88 crore earmarked for development projects for the land acquisition. Due to lack of funds, the project got delayed. Finally, the State government approved Rs 185 crore funds to acquire land for the project. The PMC formed a special team for speeding up land acquisition.
Speaking to Sakal Times, NHAI Pune Project Manager Suhas Chitnis said, “The PMC is yet to hand over the required land to NHAI. The process will take a few months. The plan is ready. Whenever the land is handed over to us, it will take another 3 to 4 months to start the project.”