Overflowing Ambil Odha in one-hour rainfall brings back tragic memories of 2019 flash floods in Pune
Heavy rainfall leads to flooding of low-lying areas of Bibvewadi, Sahakarnagar, Katraj, Dandekar bridge area from where the water body traverses.
Fears of flooding were back among residents of Dandekar bridge and adjoining settlements as Ambil Odha, an upstream, overflowed again with heavy rainfall in the city on Saturday.
According to the India Meteorological Department, the Shivajinagar centre recorded a rainfall of 36 mm during Saturday evening. Heavy rainfall led to the flooding of low lying areas of Bibvewadi, Sahakarnagar, Katraj, Dandekar bridge area from where Ambil Odha traverses. The administration had to stop traffic flow on Shaneshwar Temple bridge for some time as the nullah was overflowing with rainwater, eyewitnesses said.
Heavy rains lashed the city on Saturday and post lockdown many residents who stepped out for shopping were caught unaware in the hour of rain which led to flooding in several parts of the city. According to Bibvewadi-Sahakarnagar ward office, residents living in the adjoining area of Ambil Odha were shocked to see the nullah overflowing in just a span of one hour.
Nitin Kadam, area resident and NCP president of Parvati constituency said, “We have been warning the residents and PMC about the impending floods for a long time. The PMC has not completed the fencing wall work and it is one of the main reasons that the low lying areas get inundated during heavy rains. Yesterday, the nullah overflowed and water was quite rough. We appeal to the PMC to install flood sensors and warning sensors for the citizens on a permanent basis.”
Due to waterlogging, the ward officials, staffers and local residents stopped traffic flow at different spots as a precautionary move to prevent commuters from being washed away.
Kanhaiylal Harilal Lakhani, ward officer, Dhankawadi- Sahakar nagar ward office said, “We had cleaned Ambil Odha pre-monsoon which led to the smooth flow of rainwater. The construction of the retaining wall work will be taken after monsoon season as per the policy decision. However, with heavy rains there are strong chances of flooding and commuters must be cautious while crossing the bridge.”
Another resident Pradeep Raote from Parvati said, “Heavy rain for an hour created a flood-like situation here. This rekindled last year’s flood memories among locals.”
The PMC had appointed a private agency PriMove which identified 77 illegal constructions along the Ambil Odha (stream), which caused the flash floods on September 25, 2019 wherein 26 people died in the floods.
The Pune-based firm was given the task to carry out the survey of Ambil Odha and the reports were submitted to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) The PMC later issued notices to all the owners of these encroachments. According to PMC officials, PriMove has considered 20 metres as the width of the stream while conducting the survey.
According to the city’s development plan of 1987, the width of the Ambil Odha was fixed at 18 metres and permission of construction was given accordingly.
The PMC Engineers department later demolished some illegal settlement but it was described as eyewash by citizen activists. A section of area residents also claimed that they had legal documents to prove property ownership and the PMC action was aimed at spreading fear amongst the poor slum dwellers.