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Pune canal breach: Panic grips the area, fuelled further by social media

Sensing the gravity of the situation, nearby youth rushed to the spot to assist in the evacuation of the children and senior citizens.

pune Updated: Sep 28, 2018 16:53 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune,maharashtra,canal breach
Affected families were shifted to Sane Guruji Smarak on Thursday. (Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

There was panic in the area as most of the men and women had gone out for work leaving the children and the elderly at home. Sensing the gravity of the situation, nearby youth rushed to the spot to assist in the evacuation of the children and senior citizens.

“The force of the water was tremendous and it was not easy even to walk. We called the fire brigade, but they came quite late. Till then we had evacuated most of the people. At some places, we literally broke the tin roofs and pulled out people, as the doors were jammed by the debris,” Datta Kasbe, a local resident said. Kasbe and his team rescued around 15-20 people and also admitted a senior women to a nearby hospital.

“We have been reporting about leakages in the canal since 2007, but our complaints were ignored. When we pressed with our complaints, some patchwork was done to block the leakage. Such a disaster was bound to happen and PMC and irrigation department must take responsibility for the damage,” said Rajlaxmi Shinde-Patil, a local resident and activist.

As the roads were closed to traffic, Sinhgad road witnessed a chaotic situation with people trying to rush to the spot to get glimpse of the disaster. Several videos and photos went viral on social media .

Water trouble ahead

PMC city engineer Prashant Waghmare said, “Water supply will get affected for the next one or two days. Irrigation department and PMC are working together and the situation will get normalised soon. Areas dependent on Cantonment water works will not be able to get water.”

PMC is currently accessing potable water from Khadakwasla dam. Water flows through two closed water pipelines, as well as through the open canal, the wall of which was breached. .

P B Shelar, executive engineer of Khadakwasla irrigation division said, “Though the water supply has been stopped, it would take time to bring down the canal’s water level as the length from the broken spot to the dam is almost 11 km. Once the water level comes down, we will close the broken patch of the canal and restart the water supply.”

Heavy evening downpour adds to woes

As if the flood waters from the canal was not enough, residents faced heavy downpour in the evening. Many had put their clothes, beds, furniture and other belongings outside the house for drying. The unexpected rain added to their frustration.

Affected families shifted to PMC schools

With their homes destroyed by the floods from the breached canal, the affected families were shifted to the Raosaheb Pathwardhan School and PMC school number 17 at Navi Peth.

Some residents were also put up at the Samaj Mandir erected by former Mayor Mauli Shilwalkar and the Ramakrishna Math on Sinhagad Road. A few Ganesh mandals stepped in to make food arrangements for the affected families. Many people continued to search for their utensils near the canal.

First Published: Sep 28, 2018 16:39 IST