Flood of trouble

Despite PMC’s assurances, residents in certain areas are already facing major issues with water entering their homes; complaints to the civic body go unheard, they say
With the monsoon having arrived in earnest in Pune, dams have filled up and water troubles may have receded a little. However, flood-prone areas in the city are facing their annual battle against overflowing nullahs, safety walls being washed away, etc.As many as 12 sensitive areas have been identified by the Pune Fire Brigade and Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) disaster management cell that are disturbed by heavy rains and flood-like conditions every monsoon.While the last two days of steady rain already have residents antsy, PMC has now decided to run their Flood Control cell 247 from now on. PMC additional municipal commissioner, Prerna Deshbhratar, said, “We have identified 79 spots in the city where water logging can occur.Along with the PMC main building, our flood control cell will be open round the clock. We have also imparted disaster management training to 1,100 of our staff.“

However, when Mirror visited some of the spots, residents seemed less than confident.

VISHRANTWADI (ANAND PARK, TINGRENAGAR)

Anand Park in Tingrenagar has a nullah flowing right in the midst of its bungalows and residential societies. The main problem here is that the protection wall built by PMC is not strong or high enough to withstand heavy rain and the subsequent overflow of water. Anuradha Kokate, a homemaker and local resident, said, “Waterlogging is a major issue here every year. Last year, all the parking lots were flooded. Even now, after a few days of rain, we cannot walk on the roads or send our children to school till the water recedes. We have asked PMC repeatedly to clean the nullah and increase the height of the wall. But, nothing has come of it.“

The situation is equally grim in the residential area surrounding the Vishrantwadi Query Lake on Vishrantwadi­Dhanori Road. The Kasturba `B’ wing colony which lies right beside the lake has water entering the houses and buildings every year. Narendra Parkhi, a resident of this colony for the past 30 years, said, “During the monsoon last year, all our furniture, clothes and household items were damaged after water entered the house.We are living in fear that the water level of the lake will rise again. Two days ago, after heavy rain, the water in our parking lot was a foot deep. If the rains continue, the lake will soon overflow and there is no safety wall to control the water. We will have to go and stay with our relatives for a few days.“

Vinod Pawar, a local resident and social activist, said, “We have formed a group of residents living near the nullah and the lake. Cleaning the nullah and building a proper safety wall should have been done much earlier we had given it in writing in all our complaints.“

PATIL ESTATE SLUM NEAR WAKDEWADI

Well known as a flood-prone area, the slums here are a major obstacle for rescue operations during the rains. The area is just on the bank of the Mula river, with Sangamwadi Bridge on its other side. Though a safety wall has been built, rising water levels see the slums flood during the monsoon. This usually happens when over 30,000 cusecs of water are released from the Khadakwasla dam or if there is heavy rain for a few days.

Local resident Ashok Divte said, “We are completely helpless here. When there is continuous heavy rain, the water levels of the river increases and comes into our houses.As we are slum people, even the PMC does not bother to protect us from this problem.Many residents shift to other slums or go to relatives’ homes during the rainy season.“

SINHAGAD ROAD (VITTHALWADI, ANAND NAGAR

These neighbouring areas are also next to the river, making them easy targets for flooding during the monsoon. Also, several construction sites have come up on the flood control line set by PMC. This has led to many housing societies and houses not getting the completion certificate. Every monsoon, waterlogging is a major problem in this area, with the water remaining for several days.

Ballal Joshi, a senior citizen whose house is right next to the river, said, “PMC has set up water level markings on our houses. But, there are no arrangements to protect us. A concrete safety wall needs to be built and the river needs to be cleaned on a regular basis to avoid waterlogging.“

Another resident, Narmada Satav, said, “Some years ago, there was heavy rain and water level had come up to the first floor of our building. We were stuck for two days in our houses. Since then, every monsoon, whenever we feel like water levels may rise, we stock up on essentials. This way, even if we are stuck in our houses for days, we will not go hungry. But, PMC needs to take more responsibility. If they are taking taxes from us, is it not their duty to ensure our safety during emergencies.“

PULACHI WADI, DECCAN

Despite being in the heart of the city, this area, too, comes near the riverbed and is affected every year during the rains. Residents living here are then shifted to nearby schools by the civic administration after an alert is sounded by the irrigation department.PMC has built a safety wall right in front of Pulachi Wadi, next to Bhide Bridge over the river.

This year, too, local residents are preparing to move to other places. Sharnappa Kamble, a local resident, told Mirror, “Three years ago, our house was almost completely flooded and we did not even get time to move our things. Since then, we prepare in advance before the monsoon and shift our furniture and other important items.“ Another resident, Mahesh Kadam, said, “We all want good rain this year as we have been facing water cuts. But, PMC also needs to make proper safety arrangements for the thousands of people living near the riverbed. There are also hawkers near this bridge who need to be moved. The height of the safety wall needs to be increased, too.“

Source : Mirror

ICP

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