Less action, more paperwork at PMPML
With the PMPML’s help, the Sakal Media Group chalked out a three-year plan to ensure the PMPML becomes a good public transport utility. Though several good decisions were taken during last year to improve the bus service, not many of these have been implemented. The PMPML was formed in order to improve the public transport system. It has the power to make policy decisions, yet the PMPML’s functioning has proceeded at snail’s space. Whether it is purchasing buses or route rationalisation, there is a need to expedite the implementation which the PMPML has lacked the firmness to do. There is a lack of administrative willingness due to which only a third of the proposals have seen the light of day. If the PMPML concentrates on strict and time-bound implementation only then will the public transport improve. Within a span of a year we have been able to make some progress with the support and help of all stakeholders but we still have ‘miles to go.’ The need of the hour is to create public pressure to overcome all the hurdles and stumbling blocks and make PMPML an effective public transport.
Delay in GR to issue 2 per cent funds
The delay in issuing a Government Resolution (GR) for earmarking of funds by civic bodies (Viability Gap Funding) has been a major hurdle. The PMPML is a public transport utility and needs financial support from the two civic bodies. However, since the PMPML has been formed under the Companies Act, both the PMC and PCMC are unable to provide financial help to the transport utility. Recently, the State government instructed that both the civic bodies should earmark two per cent of their annual budget for the PMPML. Although both Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar have issued instructions, the State Urban Development Department is yet to come out with the GR.
2.5 FSI not yet approved by PCNDTA
Of the 10 depots under PMPML, seven are in the jurisdiction of the PMC, two are under the Pimpri Chinchwad New Township Development Authority (PCNTDA) and one falls in the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s jurisdiction. At present, all the depots have an FSI of 1. Both the civic bodies have approved 2.5 FSI for the PMPML depots and sent the proposal to the State government for approval. It will take some time before the State government does that. Moreover, the PCNTDA is yet to approve the proposal to give 2.5 FSI. If this proposal is approved, it will help the PMPML to develop these depots and lease out the commercial spaces and gain revenue.
Delay in implementation of Intelligent Traffic Management System (ITMS)
Bus information system, GPS, passengers announcement system etc are part of the ITMS system. The PMPML’s board of directors approved the proposal to set up ITMS. Both the Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporations were supposed to fund the project jointly. While the PCMC is ready to fund the project, the PMC wants the funding to be done under the Centre’s flagship JNNURM programme. A proposal has now been submitted to the Union government to implement the project under JNNURM.
Route rationalisation not completed
The route rationalisation report prepared by the Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT) and Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) has been approved by the PMPML’s board of directors. Under this plan, the PMPML will do away with unprofitable routes and instead increase the frequency on the routes where there are a large number of commuters. It is the responsibility of the PMPML to implement the route rationalisation in phases, which has been delayed.
Transfer of Octroi post land
As the State government has replaced Octroi with Local Body Tax (LBT), the land housing the octoi check posts have become vacant. The PMPML faces a problem of parking its buses. Since more buses are to be acquired, more space will required for parking. The PMPML had demanded the land at these 14 octroi posts—seven in each civic body- be handed over to it, but the PMC and PCMC are yet to take a decision on the issue.
Bus purchase process yet to begin
The board of directors approved the purchase of 500 buses on a hire-purchase model, three months ago, but the PMPML administration has not yet been able to start the process. Once the elected members approve it, the administration should start working on it. Earlier, the JNNURM approved buses for PMPML but it took three years to add these buses to the fleet. Considering Pune’s growing population, the PMPML will need a total of 3,000 buses.
Organisational restructuring on paper
With the help of the Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT), the PMPML has prepared a report on organisational restructuring, which is now being updated by its own high-level committee. The board of directors has approved the restructuring plan but the execution is yet to start. If implemented, this will help the PMPML acquire technical manpower. Under this plan, the responsibilities and functions of each person of the outfit—from the chairman and managing director to the lowest ranks —will be fixed.
Bus cleaning system awaited
Despite the approval from the board of directors to install a mechanised bus cleaning system at all the 10 depots, this is yet to start. This, despite the fact that one of the major grievances of commuters is untidy buses. The PMPML board of directors approved the tender proposal for the project under which the buses will be cleaned, both from the outside and the inside, so that commuters can travel in a hygenic environment.
Expert directors needed
When the PMPML was formed under the Companies Act, it was decided that the PMPML would appoint three directors to deal with finance, human resources and transportation, respectively but unfortunately, the government is yet to make these appointments.
Lack of administrative willingness
Though the PMPML is a separate company and the chairman and managing director have full powers to execute the policies, these powers are not being used effectively. The lack of willingness to act on the decisions taken has marred the efforts being made at various levels, to strengthen the public transport utility.
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