Protests by flood-affected slum dwellers in Pune to demand assistance

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Updated on Sep 27, 2019 12:05 PM IST
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ByAbhay Khairnar

PUNE: Flood-affected slum-dwellers in Pune staged an agitation and blocked the Aryaneshwar chowk on Friday morning to protest against the slow pace of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) in providing relief and rehabilitation in the aftermath of the devastation caused by the floods.

A large number of women from slums in and around Aryaneshwar blocked traffic at the chowk complaining that the civic staff did not help them clean up their homes which were filled with slush. They were angry as the electric and water supply to the area had been disrupted.

On Thursday night, the civic staff had begun cleaning the roads and clearing debris at Aryaneshwar and Ganga Tirth Society; however, slum-dwellers said that no attention was paid to their woes.

At least 18 people were confirmed dead in Pune after intense rainfall of 100 mm lashed the city on Wednesday night. While people died in wall collapses and gushing water in the dead of the night, more than 800 animals, including cattle in local dairies were killed. An estimated 2,000 vehicles on the roads and parking lots were found submerged in the waterlogged areas of south Pune in localities such as Katraj, Bibwewadi, Aryaneshwar, Padmavati and Sahakarnagar.

Pune municipal commissioner Saurabh Rao said that encroachments and the narrowing of the Ambil Odha stream had constricted the natural flow of the stream and had led to the destruction in the affected areas.

NCP leader and activist Nitin Kadam said that a large number of homes of slum dwellers suffered heavy water logging with their household belongings and furniture getting submerged in the water. Many did not have water to drink.

Kadam said that some voluntary organisations provided assistance with food and blankets but that was not enough. Many residents were forced to spend Thursday night on the roads.

On Friday morning, the residents were angry with the absence prompt assistance provided bby the civic authorities and blocked the Aryaneshwar chowk.

Slum dwellers rushed to water tanker filling points at Padmavati pumping station to fill up their utensils. Water supply was disrupted in areas such as Bibvewadi, Satara Road, Taljai, Dhankawadi, Padmavati and Market Yard.

While people in housing societies and bungalows managed with stored water and bottled water, the slum dwellers were worst hit.

The civic authorities operationalized one pump at Padmavati pumping station to enable filling of water in tankers.

Pravin Gedam, an officer from PMC’s water department said, “All the pumps at the Padmavati station had submerged in the floods and therefore out of order. We have managed to start at least one pump. But it will take at least four days to normalise the situation.”

The residents and PMC staff were busy pumping out water with diesel pumpsets from Treasure Park housing society where the entire parking lot with about 500 four wheelers and nearly 2,000 two wheelers had been submerged in the floods.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021