Friday, November 6, 2015


Hola!   This is my first writing. I am quite new to Pune, this is my 5th month here and I am already in love with the city…During my stay in Delhi, I never thought I would like another city as much as Delhi ; But Pune excites me with its liveliness, colorfulness at the same time the calmness! The lively streets, active urban spaces, friendly people, street food, the cool mornings all makes the city a heaven. The city’s rich heritage and unique blue – green network gives it a special charm.

After the initial honeymoon period, as the hole in my pocket began to grow, I shifted from Uber to city buses and to my utter disappointment I realized bus service in Pune is shockingly bad! (No wonder Pune has the biggest number of 2 wheelers and arrogant auto drivers!) Commuters have to wait minimum 20-30 min for bus and when it arrives, so full that many have to stand on the steps and travel. Is the city only for private vehicle owners or for Uber and Ola users? How do daily workers, low and middle income commuters travel?  Also are the footpaths meant for motorcyclists in Pune? Even if people are walking on the footpaths, they come behind and honk as if we are on wrong side. It’s not just civilians, I have seen policemen in their uniform ride on the footpaths.

Pune’s wonderful microclimate is attributed to the 3 surrounding hills. Due to rampant encroachment of these hills and disruption of natural processes, city is becoming hotter not to forget the climate change impacts. When I came in June, it was relatively cold in the morning and I feared Oct- Nov would be chiller. But what we experienced in Sept- Oct was soaring temperatures.  What Punekars never imagined was a water shortage which is reality now. Once abundant, now redundant  Mula – Mutha river is a shame to Punekars.

Simultaneously I hear the SMART – Pune campaign. The buzz around ‘SMART’ is so much that I wonder am I ‘STUPID’ not to understand what everyone else has easily understood! What is SMART?  Is this our Smart future?

Unless otherwise there is a Comprehensive Smart Villages plan along with Smart Cities plan, the solution is unsustainable. A technology driven city without equity ensures an unlivable city!

Coincidentally, I got this wonderful opportunity to work with Dr Priya Maam on Sustainable Smart Pune Study Project focusing on low carbon and equity.  We are evolving a study on how an equitable city should be? What are the limits to growth? How much is enough?

We are exploring new concepts and is open to suggestions, comments, ideas n more….

Anu Kuncheria

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