Impact of proposed Metro on Pune’s heritage

The proposed Pune Metro routes traverse through the historic landscape of the city that is rich in its heritage value. Pune has 246 listed heritage sites. There are wadas, chawls, temples and other religious sites, market buildings, bridges, educational institutes, water tanks, streetscapes and many other structures. Of these listed heritage sites there are 77 Grade-I structures, 84 Grade-II structures and 85 Grade-III structures. The built heritage was mapped as an exercise under the Pune Metro Study. While mapping it was found that   around 36 sites could not be identified owing to vague or no location details mentioned in the list published by the PMC. Nonetheless all sites that could be identified were mapped.

Metro Corridors

Map of heritage sites by grade and the two proposed metro corridors            (credits: Prajakta Divekar)

In the above figure the two Metro corridors are mapped. The dotted line marks the Metro Influence Zone. Heritage sites are differentiated by color-coded grading. The above figure shows that 46 percent of the total listed built heritage of Pune is going to be affected by the Pune Metro. There are aspects of natural heritage such as the rivers and tekdis that also lie in the Metro Influence Zone.

Considering both the proposed Metro Corridors, the MIZ constitutes of 46 Grade- I structures, 36 Grade-II structures and 31 Grade III structures. A list of heritage sites for both the corridors is given elsewhere in this section. The corridor-wise classification is given in the figure below:-

No.of Heritage structures by grade graph

Large number of Grade-I & II structures that the Metro threatens to demolish should be of immediate concern for the city since as per the definitions in the draft DP Grade I comprises of buildings, and precincts of national importance, embodying excellence in architectural style, design, technology and material usage; they may be associated with a great historical event, personality, movement or institution. They have been and are the prime landmarks of the City contributing to the image and identity of the City.

An important finding of this report is that all three National Monuments in the city lie within the MIZ. Under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958 enactment these monuments are buffered by 100 meter of no construction activity zone and an additional 200 meters atleast, of restricted construction activity zone. Any construction activity, whether underground or over ground, will necessarily require a heritage impact assessment under the directions of the National Monument Authority.

Very often in the discussion on Metro the underground design is preferred for it mitigates the negative impact on the heritage structure and the visual character of the city. But as seen in case of Pune the development control rules do not make a distinction of design of metro and consider the entire metro influence zone for the implementation of 4 FSI. Thus it is the development control rules that will determine the extent and nature of transformation in the historic landscape and not merely the elevated or underground metro design.

National monuments have a somewhat of an advantage over the other heritage sites as they are atleast notified and protected under the National laws that supersede all other enactments and policies at the state and city level. A serious issue is that of safeguarding and preserving the local heritage and historic areas of the city that have a more immediate impact on the lives of the people.

The figure below shows the classification of heritage sites by their functionality. Majority of the heritage sites are of religious importance. 31 percent of heritage sites in MIZ are religious sites including temples, darga and church. Almost all major hospitals in Pune city are located in MIZ. 16 percent of heritage structures are heritage educational institutions. 11 percent of the heritage structures are residential properties. 8 percent of Mixed properties refer to mixed functionality.

Structures by function pie diagram

The impact on intangible cultural heritage is immense. Literature on socio-economic impact of Metro indicates that the Metro leads to gradual displacement of the original residents of the area, including the traditional populations and also the displacement of large traditional occupations out of the MIZ (Ghadge, 2013). The proposed Metro routes also coincide with the ancient pilgrimage path during Wari. The construction activities undertaken for Metro will impact the 350 year old Wari tradition.

The complete list of Heritage sites in the MIZ is given here. Below is a small stretch of Metro route from Shaniwar Wada to Mandai and the heritage sites that lie in the Metro Influence Zone:-


One comment

  1. Nice article

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