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17 dead as intense rain pounds Pune district

After incessant rainfall, partially submerged and damaged vehicles are seen near the KK Market area on Satara road, 4 km from Pune, Maharashtra on September 26, 2019.

After incessant rainfall, partially submerged and damaged vehicles are seen near the KK Market area on Satara road, 4 km from Pune, Maharashtra on September 26, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Mandar Tannu

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At least 15,000 people moved to safer zones as Baramati city faces prospect of deluge

At least 17 persons, including four women and a teenage boy, lost their lives in rain-related incidents across Pune district, while four others are believed to be missing after an intense spell of heavy showers on the intervening night between Tuesday and Wednesday.

According to the authorities, 12 persons were killed in different incidents within Pune city, while five deaths were reported in the outlying areas of the district.

The downpour disrupted electricity and water supply in several parts of the city.

Despite the city recording an average 53.1 mm of rain (in the past 24 hours) till 8.30 a.m. on Thursday, intense spells of rain over a four-hour period in some parts of the city and the district threw life out of gear besides causing severe damage to property.

Hundreds of animals, chiefly livestock, were killed as swiftly moving waters from overflowing lakes and canals wreaked havoc on the city’s residential areas, businesses, shanties, bridges and public spaces across a wide swath from Katraj to Dandekar Bridge.

Of the deaths recorded in the city, five were killed when incessant rains caused the collapse of a compound wall of a residential society in Aranyeshwar area around Wednesday midnight, while one person lost his life after his car was swept away from a bridge during heavy downpour.

Five deaths were reported from the Khed Shivapur village in Haveli Taluk, 25 km from the city.

Officials said carcasses of more than 60 livestock were found scattered at different points of the city, some even on top of wrecked vehicles.

Vehicles are piled up at Tangewala Colony after floodwater from Ambilodha Nala entered the Sahakar Nagar locality on Wednesday midnight, in Pune, Maharashtra on September 26, 2019.

Vehicles are piled up at Tangewala Colony after floodwater from Ambilodha Nala entered the Sahakar Nagar locality on Wednesday midnight, in Pune, Maharashtra on September 26, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Jignesh Mistry

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “Since Wednesday night, Pune has experienced a cloudburst-like situation, in which some people were washed away, while some unfortunately died owing to the collapse of a compound wall. Disaster management teams and NDRF [National Disaster Response Force] teams were rushed to the spot. Moreover, 15,000 people at Baramati in Pune district have been moved to safe zones after it was learnt that the city was facing the threat of a deluge.” He, along with Pune Guardian Minister Chandrakant Patil, was closely monitoring the situation, which was now under control, Mr. Fadnavis added.

Water entered the homes of a number of residential societies and chawls and shanties alike in the city’s low-lying areas like Sinhagad Road, Sahakarnagar, Parvati and Katraj after Wednesday midnight, while hundreds of four-wheelers and two-wheelers were either washed away or severely damaged. Intense rescue operations, including those of women and children, were conducted by the Fire Department teams and NDRF jawans throughout late Wednesday and the early hours of Thursday. In one incident, a 10-month-old, who was stranded along with his family in the city’s Parvati area, was rescued by Fire brigade officials.

 

Flooded parking lots

In some societies, the water levels rose as high as eight-nine feet as water flooded the parking lots. Hundreds of two-wheelers and four-wheelers were mauled by collapsing trees and were seen strewn about in a mangled state in residential societies in Bibwewadi, Sahakarnagar and Parvati. As the water levels receded, anxious citizens were seen searching for their vehicles, several of which were washed away.

Massive traffic snarls were reported along the Swargate - Katraj route on Thursday morning. Waterlogging caused the jamming of the Katraj highway on Thursday morning.

Rainwater caused the Pune Municipal Transport (PMT) depot in Katraj to remain completely shut, causing much inconvenience to the regular travellers.

A view of a flooded complex in KK Market area in Pune on September 26, 2019.

A view of a flooded complex in KK Market area in Pune on September 26, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Mandar Tannu

While the rains completely stopped in the morning, Pune Municipal Commissioner Saurabh Rao informed that rescue operations were on in around 30 locations across the city owing to waterlogging.“There are several areas in the city where floodwaters have damaged roads, destroyed pumping stations and disrupted electricity supply. Right now, we are concentrating on rescue and relief operations and restarting electricity supply,” he said.

IMD warning

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) warning of an intense spell of rain had come in only at 9 p.m. on Wednesday evening, he added.

Dr. Anupam Kashyapi, Head, Weather & Air Pollution Monitoring Unit, IMD, however, said, “The warnings of midnight showers had been put up on our website since Monday. Despite the intense spells of rain for a few hours, the overall rainfall over the city is moderate. The showers are the result of a local instability generated by a rise in the daytime temperature.”

According to IMD officials, more rainfall, accompanied by thunderstorms, was expected in Pune along with Konkan and Madhya Maharashtra between Thursday night and the early hours of Friday and that the intensity was expected to reduce only by the end of the week.

They further said the phenomenon was the result of rising daytime temperatures and high moisture levels during the day that were giving way to convective activities in the night. This, in turn, led to heavy and relentless showers for some hours in the night accompanied by lightning.

Vehicles wade through flooded Katraj road after the Wednesday night flash flood, in Pune, Maharashtra on September 26, 2019.

Vehicles wade through flooded Katraj road after the Wednesday night flash flood, in Pune, Maharashtra on September 26, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Mandar Tannu

“While the intensity of rain was tremendous for some hours in some areas in the city like Sahakarnagar, Bibewadi, Katraj, it must be noted that the total rainfall recorded over areas in the city and the district during the night was not really that much. The unfortunate wall collapse incident in Aranyeshwar was because of the water that was flowing from the upstream areas in tremendous force. The people who died were not residents of the society but unfortunate passersby,” said Pune district collector Naval Kishore Ram.

Thousands of persons in Baramati had been moved to safer zones following heavy rainfall in the Saswad area, which prompted authorities to discharge more than 80,000 cusecs of water from the Nazare dam. The discharge was eased to 35,000 cusecs during the course of the day following a break in the rainS.

Two teams of the NDRF have been deployed in Pune and three more in Baramati, while high-alert has been issued to residents living in the low-lying areas.

Given the grim situation, Mr. Ram had declared all schools and colleges in Pune city as well as the outlying areas of the district, including Purandar, Baramati, Bhor and Haveli to be shut.

Opposition hits out at ruling BJP

Senior Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar, who is the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Assembly, lashed out at the ruling BJP, saying the government had scant regard for human life and was only obsessed with the upcoming elections and staying in power.

Resident look at a damaged road at Padmavati area after the Wednesday night flash floods, in Pune, Maharashtra on September 26, 2019.

Resident look at a damaged road at Padmavati area after the Wednesday night flash floods, in Pune, Maharashtra on September 26, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Mandar Tannu

 

“At the time of the Sangli-Kolhapur deluge, all BJP leaders led by Chief Minister Fadnavis were busy wallowing in their ‘Mahajanadesh Yatra’. Now, when people have lost their lives in Pune owing to heavy rains, the Chief Minister and Pune’s Guardian Minister [Mr. Chandrakant Patil] are nowhere to be seen…instead of giving succour to the rain-afflicted by visiting the spot, they callously say that they are taking stock of the situation via vide-conferencing,” he said.

“Why isn’t he [Mr. Patil] present when Pune is reeling under a calamity of this magnitude? Why is he in Delhi to discuss seat-sharing and ticket distribution when he ought to have been directing relief operations here?”

NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, too, targeted the ruling party’s ‘’apathy’’ towards the rain-afflicted.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 2:48:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/pune-rain-five-dead-many-missing-in-wall-collapse/article29516479.ece

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