The process of development and progress is a never ending one. For a city like Pune, a uniform and ‘beneficial for all’ urban development is a necessity. To address concerns related to such urban planning, Surendra Pathare organised the Pune Urban Development Conclave 2022 on 22nd July. The conference was organised on the occasion of the birthday of Deputy Chief Minister and visionary leader Devendra Fadnavis.
The conference received phenomenal response from the participants and witnessed healthy discussions and dialogue around urban planning of Pune from a range of industry experts. The primary themes of this conclave included challenges and opportunities regarding policy making, planning and implementation and proposed innovative solutions.
The conference began with City President of BJP Jagdish Mulik, MLA Siddharth Shirole and Secretary Rajesh Panday who inaugurated the program with Saraswati Pujan. This was followed by Surendra’s addresses where he discussed the purpose of the conclave. He explained that involving citizens in the process of urban development is necessary. He further stated that the aim of the conference was to churn out the next and best practices for modern urban development with a more positive approach towards reinventing Pune.
In his address, Chief Guest Jagdish Mulik said that urban development needs to grow from just water, road, electricity and drainage. “Pune city has the potential to create a different identity on the global platform as the most progressive city,” he added in his address. Siddharth Shirole also commented on how Pune needs collaborative efforts for growth. He further suggested that programs such as improved public transport like EV, and slum rehabilitation can be implemented in Pune city so that Pune not only achieves higher urbanisation but also higher happiness index. Rajesh Panday also shared his thoughts on the topic stating that such conclaves should be encouraged to give a direction to development. Pune is also known as a cultural, educational and IT hub in India, so it needs visionary thoughts to support urbanisation without losing its identity.
The panel in the conclave consisted of visionaries and leaders with expertise in their industry and the discussion was carried out in two sessions. The first panel discussion began with Prof. Archana Thosar, Professor and Dean, Research and Development at COEP. She explained how the Centre of Excellence, established in partnership with PMPML has constructed IoT based solutions, integration of renewable energy, programs for public transport and capacity building through technical and behavioural training of the staff. Some of their solutions such as automatic ticketing system and route optimisation are already implemented in Pune.
Mandar Deogaonkar, President of BJP Infrastructure Cell then led the discussion panning towards how initial ideas can be transformed into deliverables. He further added how the urban planning is different according to different areas and positive response received from PMC in the urbanisation of Pune. Moreover, he also talked about the ‘Mula-Mutha Sushobhikaran River Project- well known as Riverfront Development Project.
Aditya Javdekar, Chief Executive Director at VJ Developers steered the conversation further by stating, ”Problems in the suburbs are the birthplace for future problems in urban areas.” He emphasises the need for public private partnership to solve problems like illegal construction, transportation problems in suburban areas. He also added that Migration is the powerhouse of Pune economy so the rate of development should be increased up to the rate of migration so that development would not lag behind infrastructure. Indraneel Chitale, Managing Partner, Chitale Bandhu Mitahaiwale talked about a significant topic that is not much talked about when it comes to urbanisation. He mentioned that 30% of the GDP of India comes from MSME, small and medium sized enterprises. If the urbanisation of Pune is done in an efficient manner, it will be beneficial for supporting the growth of such MSME and the infrastructure creation cost and land acquisition cost will not be higher. The panel further discussed the environment and healthcare system and its relation with urban planning.
The second panel was focused on the role of media in the process of urbanisation from participation, communication to collaboration. The panel had editors of various reputed newspapers in Pune namely Samrat Phadnis, Editor at Daily Sakal, Sanjay Awate, Editor at Daily Lokmat, Shridhar Loni, Resident Editor at Daily Maharashtra Times, and Sunil Mali, Resident Editor at Daily Pudhari. When describing what progress is, Shridhar Loni said that true progress is where basic necessities are provided to the citizens along with opportunities to prosper, & of education and healthcare. Sunjay awate on the other hand explained how Pune has always been the epitome of progress since independence. However, Pune might be losing its pace of development in the past few decades. Sunil Mali emphasised that progress and regional plans for Pune were laid out; however they were never implemented efficiently. Thus he urged that for effective urban development, plans like satellite township can be applied to inclusive all the economic classes in urbanisation. Samrat Phadnis when talking about media stated that media is a conduit for activism for city progress.
The conclave hosted some thought-provoking discussions and concepts that educated not just the audience but also all the dignitaries present on the platform from different industries. Everyone supported the aim and purpose of the conclave, stating that they are looking forward to more politicians like Surendra Pathare to take such initiatives towards urban development. Moreover, the intellectual dialogue inspired in the conclave has helped in giving a levelled direction to the urban planning of Pune.