Waterlogged roads, fallen trees bring traffic to a halt

Heavy Shower Throws Life Out Of Gear
The same old story played out on Friday after 45 minutes of hard rain led to inundated roads across the city . Traffic moved in single file to avoid the knee-deep water, some vehicles broke down causing snarls that stretched for kilometres and for hours, and utter confusion prevailed on most roads.Citizens blamed waterlogging and called all the premonsoon work carried out by Pune Municipal Corporation asham and took pot shots at its smart city hopes when less than an hour’s rain could bring the city to a standstill.

Shankarsheth Road approaching Swargate was under one foot water. Vehicles were forced to get one behind the other forming a long queue till the grade separator. At Dias Plot, some youths had opened manholes by lifting the heavy lids with chains or propping them with bricks for water to flow into the drains.

The sudden damage of a patch of road near Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati temple in Budhwar Peth on Friday , added to the misery of commuters and shoppers, already hit by the downpour.

Budhwar Peth residents said the road was badly damaged after the heavy rain, throwing traffic in the core city area completely out of gear.The traffic department and PMC put up barricades over the caved-in portion and diverted traffic.

“Most roads in this area are asphalted. The intensity of the rainfall on Friday was very high. The upper layer of the road was probably damaged causing it to cave in. The civic administration started repairs as soon as the rain stopped,“ Rajendra Raut, head of PMC’s road department, told TOI.

In Aundh area, it started drizzling at 2.15pm and the intensity increased suddenly . People took shelter under the BRTS bus stop at Jagtap Dairy .Down the road, a massive traffic jam started as people with their vehicles took shelter under Jyotiba Phule bridge near Aundh Chest Hospital. Their vehicles were parked on the middle of the road as the side margins were inundated.

“This careless behaviour caused a jam with only one vehicle passing against the normal of four,“ techie Rohit Surve, returning home from his office in Hinjewadi, said. An hour later, the rain eased but the resultant mess caused a huge traffic jam from Rajiv Gandhi bridge to Bremen Chowk and further on to University Road. Sand accumulation on the road’s shoulders created a risky slush for twowheelers and cyclists.

There was chaos on FC Road and the roads leading to it, as water-logging and wrongly parked vehicles created an unprecedented traffic situation.“To top it, there were two-wheeler drivers on the wrong side of the one-way . Common sense is so low that Pune is far from becoming a smart city ,“ Preeti N, who had come to FC Road for shopping, said.

Branches of trees falling on supply lines led to power failure in Padmavati, Bibvewadi and Sahakarnagar areas. Several areas in Deccan Gymkhana experienced a three-hour power cut after two feeders tripped. Supply was restored to all the areas by 8pm.

A fire brigade officer said there were 20-25 incidents of trees falling from across the city. “More trees fell in Aundh, Sahakarnagar and Katraj. Water entered slums on Ganeshkhind Road and another at Gokulnagar Chowk on KatrajKondhwa Road,“ he added.

Tough time for traffic cops

Deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Ashok Morale told TOI that vehicular traffic was disrupted because of heavy rain, waterlogging, breakdown of vehicles and trees falling between 3.30pm and 5pm in various parts of the city.

He said, “Severe waterlogging was reported at the underpass in Khadki on PuneMumbai Highway , Baner Road near Hotel Green Park and near Balewadi phata signal.“

There was a breakdown of PMPML buses and trucks at Patil Estate slums on PuneMumbai Highway , SG Barve Road, National Poultry at Khadki, Vaiduwadi, Wanowrie and Vishrantwadi Chowk. Two cases of tree falling were reported on FC road and Sahakarnagar which affected smooth flow of vehicles.

Source : TOI



Ahmedabad Road Chaos – Commuters caught in traffic jam near underpass take to wrong side driving

The huge traffic snarls on Ahmednagar Road due to the temporary closing of the Ramwadi underpass has led to rampant wrong side driving.

Two-wheelers and fourwheelers take the one-way from the main road towards Kalyaninagar. The absence of a traffic policeman to check such violations has led to indisciplined driving and also traffic jams. Wrong side driving has been an issue at this junction for a long time. With the main Ahmednagar Road choc-a-block during peak hours, commuters often take short cuts towards Kalyaninagar to avoid a two-km ride and the agonising wait in slow-moving traffic. Rashmi Thorat, a shop ow ner at a commercial complex near the underpass, said, “Due to wrong side driving, traffic is being blocked. People driving on the right side have to wait till the wrong side driver passes. It’s a single lane so it creates a lot of problems.“

Another resident, Soumit ra Bose, said, “If a traffic policeman is deployed at the turn then these problems would be solved. The traffic department has set up barricades on the road, but people still flout rules and drive on the one-way . It’s utter lack of civic sense.“

Residents meet officials

Residents of Kalyaninagar met Srinivas Bonala, chief engineer, Pune Municipal Cor poration, senior police inspector (traffic) Bhagwat Misal and all the four corporators at the site.

Rachana Aggarwal, a Kalyaninagar resident and member of the group who met the officials, said about 10-12 residents gathered on Thursday to meet the officials. “Bonala explained the map of the underpass being constructed and we understood why both the lanes of the underpass were closed.They are actually widening the Ahmednagar Road above the underpass as well because of which it had to be shut down for traffic. We told them how residents suffered the aftereffects and how citizens have been neglected while planning,“ she added. Many told officials how they have to go through the Shastrinagar junction mess every day . The residents also proposed two immediate, easy to implement solutions. They suggested that the U-turn signal time at Shastrinagar be increased and secondly , the opening of the right turn from Kalyaninagar at the Shastrinagar junction which would lead commuters directly to Ahmednagar Road.

Aggarwal said, “The civic authorities were receptive to the ideas, but have sought a week to think about it. According to him, it usually takes a week for the changes to settle down.“ The residents have planned to meet the authorities again on October 23.

Other steps taken

A full-time traffic policeman has been stationed outside The Bishop’s School junction, Shastrinagar Chowk and also at the exit where the road joins Ahmednagar Road, adjoining the underpass touching Gera 77 complex.

The civic body has promised 25 jammers for Kalyaninagar to be given to traffic department to take action against no-parking offenders

Source : TOI


EXEMPTION PLEA – Compulsory power cut to hit healthcare services

The three-hour compulsory power cut introduced in the city from Thursday rattled the healthcare providers, prompting pleas and protests to exempt hospitals with an undertone of surge in patients’ expenses otherwise.

Authorities at the staterun Sassoon General Hospital requested higher-ups to exempt it in view of the huge patient load it caters to everyday, while smaller private hospitals have decided to fight tooth and nail against the move. The big hospitals stressed the additional cost incurred on running generators for three hours every day would increase the healthcare cost.

“The power cut in snatches will affect our emergency work and patient-care services will take a beating.Hence, we have requested our higher-ups to make efforts to exempt Sasso d on hospital from the daily load shedding ordeal,“ said senior spine surgeon Ajay Chandanwale, the dean of B J Medical College attached to Sassoon General Hospital.

Sassoon hospital has 29 operation theatres and every day around 180 different types of surgeries are performed. Besides, there are 123 beds in different types of intensive care units collectively having 61 ventilators and they are always occupied.

Every year, over seven lakh patients avail healthcare services at Sassoon hospital and over 70,000 hospitalized patients avail indoor healthcare services.

Praveen Shingare, the director of Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) that oversees the work of 16 governmentrun medical colleges attached to hospitals in Maharashtra, said, “We have asked the respective deans of all our medical colleges to approach the local authorities concerned for exemption.Besides, we are also trying to bring this issue to the notice of Union power minister to avail the exemptions for our hospitals and medical colleges.“

Bomi Bhote, the president of Association of Private Hospitals in Pune, said, “It is unfair on hospitals because they are completely dependent on power for various life-saving procedures and running life-saving equipment. Smaller hospitals without uninterrupted power supply (UPS) and generators will have no option but to shut down. Those hospitals which have UPS and generators will always be under stress because if backups fail it may lead to loss of life.“

Bhote said, “Big hospitals will incur additional cost for running generator, which will eventually have to be passed on to the patients by increasing the healthcare expenses.“

Source : TOI


Littering in public spaces?Get ready to shell out a fine

PMC Set To Crack Whip On Offenders
It’s not also residents of villages skirting Pune’s municipal limits, but also its citizens who will have to be more careful about where they dump their trash.If a Pune Municipal Corporation proposal is cleared by its law committee, litterbugs will have to pay hefty fines ranging from Rs2,000 to Rs25,000 for a variety of offences of which littering in public spaces is one.

The other offences set to go on the radar include dumping waste on roads and in rivers.Even real-estate developers will face the music if they prove thoughtless in their disposal of construction debris.

On September 23, TOI had reported that dumping garbage in municipal limits will prove costly for fringe villages, whose committees would be told by PMC to cough up as much as Rs1lakh per infraction.

This tough stance is a part of the PMC’s `Health and Sanitation Guidelines 2017′.

The law committee is expected to take call on this proposal on Monday .“A presentation regarding the pros and cons of the fines system, and dumping of garbage was made to us,“ said law committee chief Gayatri Khadke, “We have yet to get the minute details of the fines to be imposed. They will be available to us on Monday .“

Khadke, a BJP corporator, welcomed the move as “it will create awareness among citizens on the need for proper disposal of garbage“.

She said: “We all keep our homes clean. The public spaces nearby our houses should be kept clean too. This initiative will help us achieve that purpose,“ she said. The administration had stopped dumping waste at its Uruli-Phursungi garbage depot after a major fire spread over five acres. The villagers had blocked any further dumping of garbage, and only relented after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis assured them that a comprehensive garbage disposal plan would be formulated.

A plan was drafted after deliberations over two weeks, and submitted to the mayor’s office in May . It was during this period that the problem of villages dumping garbage in city limits had come to the fore.

“A number of steps have been taken to deter people from dumping garbage on the road or defacing the city ,“ said a PMC official, “but it has not yielded any result. Currently , the fine imposed by PMC is not enough of a deterrent. Now the civic body aims to introduce a heavy fine. It will go up to Rs25,000.“

The civic administration has the power to draft rules and laws in the larger public interest, per Suresh Jagtap, head of PMC’s solid waste management department.

“Even fines can be imposed on those engaged in unlawful activity,“ he said. “This move was taken keeping in mind the health and hygiene of the city ,“ Jagtap added.

According to official data with the PMC, the city generates nearly 1,600 metric tonnes of garbage every day .

Source : TOI


With five deaths in state, dengue turns more lethal

Pune Still The Hotbed Of Disease
Dengue sting is getting more lethal.As per the state health department, 1,047 dengue cases and five deaths have been reported from 26 municipal corporations in the state between January and August this year. In the same period last year, 1,672 cases were reported from the same locations, but without any casualty .

Five deaths due to dengueinduced complications have been reported from Pune (2), Mumbai (2) and Kalyan-Dombivli (1) municipal limits.

When it comes to the disease burden, Pune city continues to top the list with 320 cases, followed by Mumbai (295 cases). Besides, municipal corporations of Nashik, Nanded, Solapur and Kolhapur are also hit hard by the mosquito-borne disease.

Activists working in the field said the state health department does not make enough efforts to educate people about early warning signs of the disease. “Community involvement is almost nothing when it comes to preventing mosquito breeding,“ they added.

Health activist Abhijit More said municipal corporations could have involved mandals in educating people about the disease and its prevention during the recently concluded Ganeshotsav.

“During the Ganesh festival, the health authorities could have used audio-visual and other mass media tools to reach a large number of the population. Besides, municipal corporations need to set up dedicated fever clinics, especially during the monsoon, to identify patients suffering from the disease at early stage. Early detection and treatment hold the key to ward off the menace that dengue has become,“ More said.

When contacted, state health department officials blamed the prevailing weather conditions for the rise in dengue cases.

“The intermittent drizzles followed by sunny days as seen during August and September created conducive breeding grounds for Aedes Aegypti -the mosquito that causes dengue,“ M S Diggikar, joint director (vectorborne diseases) of the state health department, said.

Besides favourable weather conditions, increased storage of water, rise in construction activity , piling up of garbage, lack of public awareness and inadequate mosquito management have aggravated the situation, he added. When it comes to Pune city, it continues to be the hotbed of mosquito-borne diseases and swine flu. “The wide fluctuation in temperature provides fitting ground for all types of viruses, including that of dengue and swine flu, to breed and propagate. We have initiated rapid survey .People should also be alert about preventing mosquito breeding on their premises,“ Vaishali Jadhav, assistant medical officer of health, PMC, said.

However, health activist Sanjay Dabhade said PMC health officials failed to implement the anti-larval measu res effectively due to a manpower crunch, which snowballed into an outbreak-like situation in August. “The situation may spiral out of control if not reined in soon.Not just private properties, PMC-run hospitals were also found facilitating breeding of mosquitoes. This shows how badly the city is affected this year,“ Dabhade said.

The seasonality of transmission of dengue with increased activity has been observed in the post-monsoon season ­ September to November ­ with peak in the second and third week of October.

Source : TOI


Clearer skies make Sept feel warmer than usual

Pleasant September, which has grown a bit warm, feels a lot like October. This month is a transition period marked by the retreating monsoon before its complete withdrawal that brings on the heat.

The city’s day temperature was 32.8 degrees celsius on September 10, the highest maximum temperature recorded for the month so far, this year.

On Monday , the day temperature fell marginally to 32.1 degrees celsius, but turned out to be the second highest temperature recorded so far in the month.

Along with the rising day temperature, humidity is also on the higher side. Humidity is the amount of water vapour in the air which indicates the comfort level one feels when in the open. On Monday evening, the relative humidity too touched a sweaty 69, against a normal of 50.

The city’s temperature had crossed the 30 degrees celsius mark a few days ago.On Monday , the maximum temperature was 3.6 degrees C above normal. Sunday was even warmer when the mercury rose to 32.8 degrees C which was not only the highest day temperature for September so far, but a significant 4.3 degrees warmer than the normal.

AK Srivastava, head of the climate monitoring and analysis group of India Meteorological Department, told TOI that since rainfall has reduced significantly over a large part of central India, clear skies have resulted in more solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface.

Another official said during the days when cloudy skies prevailed over the city due to intermittent rain and thundershowers, humidity levels shoot up. “Whenever humidity levels go up, it feels hotter than it is,“ he said.

A K Jaswal, retired scien tist from IMD, said, “All of a sudden, clouding has reduced over Pune region. Hence, high intensity solar radiation has been reaching the earth’s surface due to the clear skies. Humidity levels have also increased because of moisture availability due to on and off rains as well as evaporation from wet surfaces. Hence, it feels very sultry these days. This phenomenon is usually noticed in October, but seems to have started a little early this year.“

Source : TOI


PMC has not ditched Ganeshkhind flyover

After Mirror report, potholes and ditches along arterial route have finally been covered up, much to the relief of commuters
Ever since the rainy season began, hordes of commuters regularly using the Ganeshkhind Road flyover had been troubled by a number of potholes that had cropped up on the stretch, which also happened to be endangering their lives significantly. However, fortunately for them, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) seems to finally have resolved the issue on the vital thoroughfare, soon after it was highlighted in a report on August 22 by Pune Mirror.Starting from the crowded University Chowk, the trenches and ditches that had formed on the road had rendered the stretch a nightmare -and, with no repairs in sight, citizens were clamouring for the immediate attention of the authorities to prevent a seri ous accident.

Narendra Salunkhe, assistant commissioner of the PMC projects department, told Mirror, “I instructed project department officials to visit the spot. The help of the road department’s mobile maintenance van was taken to clear the potholes immediately after the problem was identified.“

Motorists, meanwhile, were thanking their stars. Said Prashant Wagle, “At least PMC cleared the potholes immediately after the issue was reported -a huge relief indeed for thousands of commuters who use this flyover daily. Better protocols need to be set for road and flyover maintenance so that such a hassle does not take place repeatedly.“ Another commuter, Ashutosh Ubale, added, “I am happy the problem is solved as at least motorists can use this stretch safely now. We are all fortunate no major accident occurred during this time. There is always high risk during this season.“

If there’s a civic issue you know about or are suffering from, write to us on email at punespeakstomirror@gmail.com and we will try to get it resolved it for you.

Source : Mirror