One of the critical issue faced by Pune is planning of PMR. We call it critical because if it is not resolved at the earliest, it will result in haphazard development all around PMC and PCMC area and it will be very difficult to rectify the mistakes. We will permanently loose the opportunity to plan our development in the right direction.
The declared area of PMR was 1500 Sq.km. as per the Regional Plan, sanctioned in 1997 of Pune district. Then it was revised to 3500 Sq.km. and now there are discussions of increasing it to 5000 or 7000 Sq.km.
The area of Bangalore Metropolitan Region (BMRDA formed in 2007) is 8000 sq.km, including 9 types of Development Authorities, (like Bangalore Development Authority [BDA], Bangalore – Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Area Planning Authority [BMICAPA], Ramanagar-Channapatna Urban Development Authority [RCIDA], Anekal Planning Authority [APA], etc.), one Municipal Corporation and two planning zones. And that of Hyderabad Metropolitan Region (HMDA formed in 2008) is 7000 Sq.km. covering five districts and three different authorities like the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA), Hyderabad Airport Development Authority (HADA), Cyberabad Development Authority (CDA) and Buddha Poornima Project Authority (BPPA). Here the area covered by the metropolitan region is not important, but what is more important is how it is planned.
In both the cases, i.e. Bangalore and Hyderabad, initially a Structure Plan was prepared, which is binding to the local authorities falling within the Metropolitan region (MR), i.e. the Municipal Corporation, Councils or Gram Panchayats. These Structure Plans clearly delineates the environment conservation zones, transportation or urban corridors, location of airport / s, agriculture area, green belt, development areas, metro or other public transportation system, etc.
Deciding on the area to be covered by a Metropolitan Region is the first and crucial step of preparing a Structure Plan (ST) of a MR. It is not a magic figure. In this process various factors like geographical conditions, natural features viz. rivers, lakes or hills governs the decision of delineating the boundary of the MR. It may also consider social structure, natural resources like rivers, dams that can act as a main source of water supply, etc. The delineation has to be such that the entire area when planned will acts as a system and will respects the environment or the socio-economic structure of a place. One cannot declare the area covered by the MR and then make the plan for it. It has to be vice versa. The ST should decide the area to be covered by MR.
The area of Pune district is around 15,000 Sq.km. The area identified for PMR falls entirely within Pune District, consisting of Pune city and Pimpri-Chinchwad and three cantonments. The jurisdiction of PMRDA covers Maval, Pune, parts of Haveli, Bhor, Daund, Shirur, Mulshi, Khed taluka of Pune district.
PMRDA should prioritize in preparing a Structure Plan to decide and delineate its area. Public consultation or preparing of base maps can be done simultaneously. The area outside the Municipal Corporation and within the current declared PMR area follows the Town Planning regulations, which are out dated, rather the zones identified are as per the Regional Plan which is about 20 years old. The after real estate scenario has drastically changed since 1997 when the plan was sanctioned.
Preparing a Structure Plan should be the first step in planning PMR followed by preparing of local area plans, where already the development has taken place, while the area which is still green field instead of Town Planning schemes, Land Pooling mechanism should be used for planning. TP schemes have proved to be a failure, because of its lengthy process. This is how the large area of 7000 Sq.km. can be broken down to manageable areas of planning and implementation. SP will be a guiding document. PMR needs a more contextual Structure Plan rather than importing alien concepts of planning in India.
It is imperative to PMRDA to first formulate its planning policy, which will give it enough strength to control development in 7000Sq.km. area.