The Pune-Mumbai Expressway (E-way) is the best thing to have happened to road travel in India. However, efforts are currently underway to spoil this remarkable stretch of road, with a private contractor making a connecting road from it to the new cricket stadium coming up in Gahunje.
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) told Pune Mirror that they have not permitted the contractor,
Shapoorji Pallonji and Co, to make a connecting road, with two bridges, from the E-way to the stadium.
The distance of this illegal road is not known, but should be around 500 metres.This could eventually obstruct traffic or even lead to accidents. Already, the superhighway is notorious for fatal accidents.
The Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) is constructing a new cricket stadium at Gahunje, about 35 kms from Pune and a concrete wall was constructed by the MSRDC around the stadium to prevent vehicles plying to and fro from the stadium from intruding on the E-way.
However, the contractor hired by MCA for the construction of the stadium is allegedly demolishing the protective wall time and again, ostensibly to make the construction site easily accessible from the E-way.
Ashok Kumar Abrol, executive engineer of MSRDC, said that the ‘shortcut’ was being made without MSRDC’s permission. “This road is illegal. Our contractors repair the wall each time it is brought down. Somehow, despite this, vehicles carrying construction material for the new stadium continue to make their way through the broken wall,” he said. He added that MCA authorities have not asked for permission to transport construction material via this ‘access road.’
MSRDC officials say that the E-way falls in the National Highway category and, therefore, no vehicle is allowed to enter or exit mid-way. As per the agreement signed with the MSRDC, the contractor is responsible for the upkeep of the wall. Hence, the contractors have to bear the cost of building it.
MCA office-bearers feigned ignorance about the unauthorised access road, made by demolishing the side wall. “I do not have any information about the demolition of the boundary wall through which vehicles are going to the stadium. If it is happening, then individuals responsible for the construction of the stadium must have obtained permission from the authorities,” Riyaz Bagwan, MCA’s honorary secretary, told Pune Mirror.
When contacted, Hariharan, project co-ordinator for the new stadium, told Pune Mirror that he did not “have any information regarding the issue”. When this correspondent informed him that he had photographs to prove that the safety wall had been broken and an access road, with two bridges, had been made, he said, “Can’t say anything.”
The new stadium will house the headquarters of the MCA and will be the homeground of cricket teams from the state. It will also be the home of the Sahara Pune Warriors T20 team. The Warriors are likely to play all their home matches here, provided it is ready before March 2011.(with inputs from Devidas Deshpande)
ABOUT THE STADIUM
MCA has appointed Hopkins Architects to design the MCA Pune International Cricket Centre with 44,000-seat stadium. Earlier, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium near Sarasbaug was being considered for being re-fitted for Pune, but as the stadium was owned by the Pune Municipal Corporation, conflicts arose which led to the decision to build a new stadium.
The cost of building the stadium is expected to be around Rs 300 crore ($65 million). The stadium will admeasure 125,000 sq m. The levelling and excavation work began at Gahunje village in 2008. According to MCA, 75 per cent of the work is complete and all IPL matches will be organised at the stadium.