Encroachments, concretisation lead to floods in Pune’s Aundh and Baner areas
Aundh, Baner which fall under Smart City were never known to suffer from waterlogging due to heavy rains. However, rampant development, channelization of nullahs and encroachment on Devnadi and Ramnadi rivers has led to waterlogging in these otherwise upmarket localities of west Pune.
During the recent floods in parts of the city caused by heavy rains and release of water by the Khadakwasla dam, areas along the Mula river banks were affected. Prominent localities that were affected included Aundh, Baner and Bopodi in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Sangvi and Pimple Nilakh which comes under the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) jurisdiction.
River activist from Baner, Anupam Saraf blamed the encroachments and channelisation of nullahs for the flood situation. Saraf said, “We have never heard of Baner and Aundh as flood-affected areas. Then why all of a sudden these areas got affected? In the name of development, both the corporations channelised the nullahs and allowed constructions around them.”
“On the other hand, the land reclamation happened at the Mula river in many places. After the water was released from Mulshi dam, the river started overflowing and could not accommodate water coming from nullahs. Naturally, the nullah water was spread in many areas near Jupiter Hospital in Baner,” said Saraf.
The official sources from the irrigation department on condition of anonymity said that both PMC and PCMC are responsible for the flood-like situation in the Aundh, Baner, Sanghvi and Pimple Nilakh. The municipal corporations have ignored the dumping and encroachments in the riverbed and nullahs.
The irrigation department did not release excess water. The water released from all the dams are at normal levels then also the city areas got affected, said the official.
Rajendra Jagtap, chief executive officer, smart city, accepted that there are various reasons for the floods in Baner.
Jagtap said, “Smart city is not the planning authority, but we are executing some projects in this area. There are various reasons for flooding in this area. The main reason that the dams reached full capacity due to heavy rainfall in the catchment area and so water was released into the rivers.”
“A lot of concretisation happened in this area which stopped water percolation. The runoff of water increased due to cement concrete roads and water is directly coming to the river, but as the river was overflowing, it did not accommodate the water which spread in low line areas,” said Jagtap.