Saturday, June 23, 2012


Musings on Urban Town Planning

I love walking. So I go for a long walk every evening.

I have four main choices of walking routes.

From my house in Rohan Tarang, I can walk towards the south through Wakad Village, cross the Mula River over the old barrage-cum-bridge (that separates PCMC from PMC) and keep walking on the track towards Balewadi and then onto Baner. It is a tranquil undisturbed walk through the woods and fields.

Or I can walk northwards towards Wakad Chowk and turn left and walk towards the west on the Pune – Hinjewadi Road towards the Mumbai – Bangalore Bypass Highway.

I can turn right at Wakad Chowk and walk towards the east along the Hinjewadi – Pune Road towards Vishalnagar and Jagtap Dairy and onward to Aundh.

Or I can cross the Pune – Hinjewadi Main Road and walk straight ahead (due north) towards Datta Mandir and onto Dange Chowk in Thergaon towards Chinchwad. Of all the four routes, this is most difficult to walk on. The Wakad – Dange Chowk Road is narrow and congested and passes through a thickly populated area. There are no footpaths, no pavements and most part of the road is in a state of disrepair and perpetually dug up with debris scattered all over. As I said, since there are no footpaths and you have to walk on the road, which is dangerous in view of the heavy traffic on this narrow road. Of course, Pune is the most pedestrian-unfriendly city with non-existent footpaths and obstructed pavements, but this road in Wakad is particularly dangerous since there are a large number of Hinjewadi IT Techies commuting by vehicles or walking down this road.

This evening, as I walked down the Wakad – Dange Chowk Road, I was quite bemused to see the large number of fast proliferating high rise large-sized residential “townships” coming up on both sides of this narrow congested road. Looking around at the vast and dense concrete jungle being constructed, the following thoughts germinated in my mind:

1. As a guesstimate, let’s say there are about 20 Residential Societies coming up on this road and there are around 200 residential flats in each society that means there are likely to be a total of around 4000 dwellings (maybe even more) on either side of this narrow crowded road. (I feel that this is a conservative estimate and there may even more units coming up).

2. Wakad is hyped as a “posh” locality inhabited by cash-rich well-off Techies who normally have a car. Many are double-income couples and possess two cars. Most have two wheeler motorcycles and scooters too. So let’s assume there is likely to be an average of 1 ½ (one and a half) cars per household. This adds up to a total of 6000 cars in these new residential apartment colonies alone. This is in addition to the existing vehicles of residents who have been living here in the older colonies for a long time plus the traffic passing through towards Chinchwad via Dange Chowk and the IT company buses which ferry employees to Hinjewadi. Total all this and you will realize that soon this road is going to have a huge amount of traffic.

3. There is hardly any scope for widening this congested road since both sides of the road are packed chock-a-block and are densely populated.

So, like the traffic chaos in most parts of Pune, are we heading for another traffic nightmare in North Wakad…?

Am I the first person to think of this?

I don’t think so.

Isn’t all this a part of urban town planning?

Isn’t infrastructure (especially roads) supposed to be in place well in advance before the area becomes populated and the traffic suddenly increases and becomes unmanageable?

Does “horse” come before the “cart” or does the “cart” come before the “horse”?

Well, I don’t have the answers to all that.

But do remember one thing before you book your house – one look is better than a thousand reports.

So, Dear Reader, in case you are thinking of buying a house in Pune in this “posh” area of Wakad, take a walk on this road and see things for yourself and make your own assessment. And remember to wear a good pair of walking shoes, for should you sprain your ankle, there are hardly any doctors around here. You may also notice the woeful lack of social infrastructure (food, shopping, entertainment, amenities etc) and get an idea of the quality of life to expect. But that is another story.

Choosing a house is all about location – and a location within a location.

Happy house hunting.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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