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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

21 mm rainfall brings Pune to standstill: Who is to blame?

Waterlogging, power cuts, traffic jams, tree falling reported due to 21mm rainfall on Wednesday

pune Updated: Oct 11, 2019 16:45 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
A tree fell across a road near Natubaug road, after heavy rains lashed the city on Wednesday night.
A tree fell across a road near Natubaug road, after heavy rains lashed the city on Wednesday night.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

For residents, Wednesday evening was a deja vu moment as heavy rains lashed the city, leading to waterlogging, power cuts, traffic jams and tree felling. A tree fall incident also claimed the life of a Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) bus driver, Vijay Nivangune.

It just took an hour of downpour for the roads to be submerged in several areas of the city and the residents to dread the repeat of September 25 flash floods that claimed 26 lives.

The people living in areas that are under constant threat of inundation are now asking the civic authorities of waterlogging and frequent rain-related incidents.

According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), Lohegaon received 1.88 mm rainfall and Pashan 44 mm on Wednesday. Shivajinagar recorded 21.3 mm rainfall, yet many areas were flooded and overflowing drainage submerged roads.

According to the fire brigade department of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), at least 60 trees were reported uprooted or fallen during the heavy rains that lashed the city last evening.

Prashant Ranpise, chief fire brigade officer, PMC, said, “We began receiving calls from 6.30 pm on Wednesday until 10.30 am on October 10, 2019. We have cleared at least 60 trees with most of them falling in Prabhat road and Law College road. Even the trees in peth areas and Kothrud were not spared.” He said that several old trees were uprooted due to strong winds and water pressure as these areas were flooded.

Vedant Sanjay Chavan, an intern at a private company and learning German, was attending German classes on Tilak road where he got stuck due to heavy downpour. “Last night (Wednesday), public transport on Tilak road was cancelled and I had to walk to Swargate from Navi peth. Fallen trees on roads led to traffic moving at a slow pace. In certain parts of peth areas, people were wading in knee-deep water,” he said.

‘Fault lies with PMC’

Activists feel PMC failed to take cognisance of IMD alerts and showed lack of monsoon preparedness by not improving storm water drainage lines.

“Storm water drainages were not cleaned regularly as it can be seen with last night’s flooding. Rainwater had no outlets but to flow along the roads along with overflowing drainage and added to the mayhem,” said Vivek Velankar, an RTI activist.

He said the newly built roads have no proper alignment with storm water drainage system and most of it were not connected. “There is also no space left for water seepage due to heavy concretisation even in bylanes,” said Velankar highlighting illegal construction on canals and storm water drainage that has led to flooding of roads in an hour’s rainfall in the city.

“PMC needs to wake up and take action against concretisation of small lanes (less than 12 metres) and make it a policy decision to leave it alone,” said Velankar.

Sarang Yadwadkar, an activist, said, “It is the utter failure of infrastructure like stormwater drainage where PMC has spent crores of rupees. This is also due to the vanishing natural streams by allowing and promoting illegal construction on these streams.”

“There is a total lack of planning and implementing infrastructure projects on PMC’s part and it has been proved innumerable times,” said Yadwadkar.


First Published: Oct 10, 2019 19:22 IST

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