READY FOR MONSOON? – Rains almost here, but 60% nullahs still to be cleaned

Come monsoon and heavy showers throw rail and road traffic out of gear, besides causing heavy waterlogging across the city.

Many localities go under water, basements of several apartments get inundated, roads submerge, water gushes into homes and shops, and underground cables malfunction, leading to power failure. With water all around, the city stops and citizens are left helpless.

Every year, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) claims that it is fully prepared to face the monsoon.And, every monsoon, the first heavy rain washes away this claim. This monsoon is not going to be any different, thanks to the civic body’s apathy towards pre-monsoon work. This is despite the provision of Rs 98 crore to complete these works, including cleaning of nullahs.

Prim-Move, an agency appointed by the PMC, has found a total of 234 nullhas -with a total length of 362.11km -in the city. Besides this, there are hundreds of natural streams in the city.

Of the 234 nullhas, a 15.93km stretch is fully obstructed, while 51.89km is partially encroached upon.

The PMC has neither touched these encroachments nor cleared the debris dumped into nullhas.

Over the last month, many citizens have dumped garbage in nullahs. “There are huge heaps of garbage in a nullah that runs from Katraj to mid-city areas. Developers have also dumped debris into this, which is going to block the free flow of water,“ said resident Ramesh Kathe. He added that instead of clea ring the garbage, PMC employees are setting it on fire.

PMC’s official document, the city development plan, states that the development along nullahs has not taken place in a scientific and planned manner, resulting in the emergence of areas, which are prone to flooding even when rainfall is of moderate frequency . “The demand for land has increased, which has affected natural drains.The width has been reduced at many places due to encroachment, seriously affecting the carrying capacity of many drains,“ the plan says.

Head of the PMC’s water department, V G Kulkarni, said, “ Nullah cleaning is the responsibility of ward offices“. When TOI contacted a few ward offices, they said they were struggling to carry out nullah cleaning as budgetary provisions have not yet reached them.

“The budget approval by the PMC general body was delayed, and we had no money to pay contractors till the last few weeks. Almost 60% of nullah cleaning is pending,“ an official from a ward office said.

Mayor Mukta Tilak told TOI, “ I am going to conduct a review meeting on Thursday .It is a fact that the delay in approval of budget has further detained some work. But due to the civic election process, the delay was unavoidable“.

Source : TOI