Fear of flash floods still haunts residents of Tangewala colony in Pune
We are living under constant fear over the last two weeks as the water level has climbed up high and at night we had to run out of our houses. As we don’t have any other option, we have to stay here, says one of the residents in the areaUpdated: Sep 24, 2020, 16:08 IST
On Friday, it will be a year since the flash floods struck the city on September 25, but the victims who are still picking up pieces of life have not been able to stabilise themselves. The flash floods of 2019 claimed 26 lives in Pune. For residents of Tangewala colony in Sahakarnagar, the flash floods were a nightmare as seven people from the colony lost their lives.
Fears of flooding were back among residents with the city witnessing heavy rainfall over the past few days. With the rising water levels in the area, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) sent a notice on September 13 to all the 85 houses of the colony to evacuate the premises.So far the Pune district has received 154.9 mm of rain, 56.2 mm more than the normal average (98.7mm).
However, the residents say since the flash floods, nothing has improved in the area. “We are living under constant fear over the last two weeks as the water level has climbed up high and at night we had to run out of our houses. As we don’t have any other option, we have to stay here. The government and PMC had promised us that they will give us new houses and also build a safety retaining wall near Ambil Odha, but nothing has happened over the past year and we are staring at floods again,” said Sunil Shinde, a resident of Tangewala colony. Tangewala colony is located behind Gangatirtha society in Sahakarnagar. There is a canal located behind the society and it has 125 slums in close proximity to each other.
Last year the flash floods occurred right before the state assembly elections and all political parties tried to take advantage of the situation by dolling out lofty promises to the residents of the area, including giving them compensation, repairing and restoring the Ambil Odha, among others. However, on ground, things remain the same. The Pune Municipal Corporation and district collectorate helped the flood victims by giving them compensation. The PMC also allotted Rs 300 crore for the repair of the Ambil Odha, which is yet to be completed.
Another resident Nanda Kailash Shinde, whose entire house collapsed in the flash floods, said, “Our entire house was damaged in the floods and we had to rebuilt it. It cost us Rs 2.5 lakh. Also, all our important documents were damaged due to the water and we have not been able to get any help from the PMC or the state government. We are worried about the future of our children and so, PMC should at least give us proper homes for safety.”
PMC commissioner Vikram Kumar, said, “We are taking all the necessary measures for the safety of citizens who had been affected due to flash floods last year. I have personally visited the areas over the past week. We are currently working on their rehabilitation project.”
Revisiting the horror
One hundred mm of rain in two hours in September 2019 set the Ambil Odha up to burst its banks and overflow. 2.5 lakh- People affected by floods and 800 animals killed, including cattle in local dairies. Also, 2,700- Vehicles on the roads and parking lots were found submerged in the waterlogged areas of south Pune in localities such as Katraj, Bibvewadi, Padmavati and Sahakarnagar.
What was promised- On ground situation
A private firm surveyed the stream and identified 77 illegal structures along the stream which aggravated the floods- Illegal structures still stand. Spend Rs 300 crore on building retaining wall along Ambil odha and repair sections where the bank and barriers had collapsed- Work on the retaining wall hasn’t begun