PUNE: Pune has an advantage by virtue of the fact that it has been able to add to its borders by means of surrounding villages. This has served to decrease the pressure on the central city and encouraged an outward growth pattern. However, there are challenges related to Pune’s infrastructure, particularly its road network and these have more to do with the speed of this growth. While there are various proposals for road widening, these have to be translated into real time, to be effective, as infrastructure is pivotal in making real estate development feasible and newer areas inhabitable.
“The first master plan for the city designated a much more progressive ‘roadmap’ for the city’s road network. However, even today, key roads leading to new growth areas are not being put in place with the speed necessary to ensure that these new areas have the requisite connectivity; thereby, acting as a bottleneck to the holistic growth of Pune, in terms of real estate viability,” informs, Anil Pharande, chairman, Pharande Spaces and vice president, CREDAI (Pune Metro).
Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd, shares, “The availability of huge parcels of land in the periphery of the city, allows it to grow horizontally. However, merely opening up new areas for real estate development is not sufficient. The city’s road system needs to support the growth of these areas. Lack of proper access roads not only create problems for people but also make creation of other supporting infrastructure difficult. This impacts the overall demand for residential projects developed in these new regions. The speed with which they are implemented will more or less dictate the speed with which newer areas can be developed.”
Sanjay Bajaj, managing director – Pune, Jones Lang LaSalle India, points out that “The success of township developments on the periphery of Pune is very much dependent on the availability of proper access roads. Though, the internal infrastructure such as roads, drainage and water connections, as well as social infrastructure, have to be provided by the developer, the external linkage to the main city’s infrastructure backbone is imperative.”
Speaking about the importance of road network, Sumeet Bhatia, office head – Pune, Cushman and Wakefield, says, “A healthy and robust road network is essential for the socio-economic development of a city. Good connectivity is the basic criteria set by all companies before exploring the possibility of investing in a particular city. The lack of proper accessibility and poor road network would not only discourage investors but will also have a negative impact on the city’s image.”
According to Pharande, the pockets of infrastructural under-development are the result of both, the developers and government, concentrating on existing growth areas and sidelining those with a high future potential. “It is a known fact that no area can grow in terms of residential, commercial and retail real estate, unless the necessary infrastructure is first put in place. This is quite a common phenomenon that is the result of the principle of fastest returns, almost instinctually followed by both, developers and the government. Since this kind of growth in no way follows a master plan, the result is haphazard pockets of growth. This naturally leads to the neglect of areas that have not been so favoured,” he states.
The lack of upgradation of roads not just hampers development in newer areas but also makes traveling within the main city very tiresome. The inner city of Pune is already challenged with numerous traffic bottlenecks, as the number of vehicles on roads is growing exorbitantly every year. There are some initiatives taken by the authorities in this respect. The ring road project which will connect various areas in the Pune Municipal Corporation and PCMC will be a game-changer, believes Arvind Jain, managing director, Pride Group.
“The proposed 170-km ring road around Pune city and Pimpri-Chinchwad is a good example. This massive infrastructure undertaking will provide an unprecedented level of inter-connectivity to Pune and the PCMC and beyond, vastly elevating the real estate profile of every location it touches. The 90-meter wide ring road, is an important key in the town planning, mapped out for Greater Pune and will play an important role in connecting the PMC and PCMC in a way that will vastly improve commuting as well as transport of goods. Areas like Charoli, which lie squarely along this ring road, will be easily accessible from the development hot-beds of Nagar Road in PMC and the manufacturing hub of Chakan in PCMC.”
The PCMC has been proactive in terms of a proper road network. “There has been a spurt in growth and corresponding real estate values in PCMC due to its road network. Even within Pune, there were earlier precedents wherein languishing areas were given fast-paced infrastructure upgrades because of a new market catalyst. For instance, the Youth Commonwealth Games brought with them the fast-track enhancement of Baner Road and Pashan Road,” adds Pharande.
Bhatia agrees, “The PCMC in the western corridor has been very proactive in creating an excellent road network which has improved connectivity for locations like Wakad, Pimple Saudagar, Pimple Nilakh, Ravet, etc., to CBD, Mumbai Pune Highway and other IT and industrial locations like Hinjewadi, Chakan, among others, which has resulted in a multifold increase in residential property demand in these locations. The PCMC Spine road which connects two major highways has relived a lot of traffic in the area and has drastically improved connectivity to industrial, commercial and residential pockets in PCMC.”
To sum up, Vivek Shesh, CEO, Sairung Developers, says, “There is lack of easy accessibility and good road network but this is akin to the issues faced by any city growing at a fast pace. A longer horizon has to be considered and project timelines have to be cut down drastically.”