Pune: Puneites on Friday took to social media to vent their ire against the pathetic condition of the civic infrastructure following heavy rain. The scenario in Baner was particularly highlighted. A flood-like situation was witnessed in several parts of the city. Netizens criticised the government for the ‘unplanned development’ and encroachments on nalas that led to inundation of several areas.
With the hashtag #Punerains, Pueneites residing in Baner, as well as those commuting on Baner Road at that time, shared photographs and videos on Twitter. They clearly showed waterlogging of up to two feet depth, overflowing on the road dividers in some places.
Bashing the government on its Smart City Mission, citizens questioned how the government can claim to make Baner Smart City when just about an hour of rainfall threatened to wreak havoc there. Some humorously pointed out to the disaster, which struck on the infamous Friday, the 13th.
“#punerains are behaving like #bjppolicies..you never know what will come next..,” said a Twitter user going by the name @bharatoswal.
Another Twitter user by the name Vedvrat, pointed out towards the roads in the city resembling mini rivers by tweeting “Why is #Pune the Oxford of the East when we can easily be the Venice of the East? #Rains #FridayWasted #punerains #TrafficAlert #Baner”
Twitterati also posted pictures and warned fellow citizens not to take the flooded roads.
Speaking to Sakal Times, environmental activist Ameya Jagtap said that when Baner Road was concretised at the time of Commonwealth Games in the city, the stormwater drains weren’t managed properly. “While earlier, the water discharge was easily done in the area through the drainages as well as streams and Ramnadi river, encroachments on the river and the runnels in the area have affected the flow of water leading to flooding for the past few years,” Jagtap said. He also talked about the flooding on JM Road and pointed towards the latest beautification project that is in process on the road, as the cause of the sudden floods in the area. He added that it’s high time that the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) takes the issue of flooding seriously and adopts preventive measures.
Namita Gupta, daughter of activist Indu Gupta, who works in Baner, also posted a video of the dangerous situation in the area in the afternoon. “In the afternoon, one side of the road in Baner was completely flooded, so the vehicles could just use the other side. This caused major traffic congestion on Baner Road,” Gupta said.
While the passersby posted heavily on social media, a resident of the area, Seema Agarwal, who is also the Secretary of Baner-Pashan Link Road Vikas Samiti, said, “The residents fear to step out of the house every time there is heavy rain in the area, as the Baner Road always gets flooded. Baner has become like Mumbai, this happens every year, but nobody seems to care. The root cause is, of course, the unplanned development and illegal yet rampant constructions on the river. Even the stormwater drainages here aren’t cleaned before the monsoon.”
While the citizens and activists pointed fingers towards infrastructural limitations as the cause of the flooding, Sandip Kadam, Assistant Municipal Commissioner, Aundh-Baner Ward Office, refused to admit this saying that it was just the excess discharge of rain that led to the water-logging. He insisted,
“The flooding took place only in the low-lying areas, which is bound to happen given the amount of rainfall at that particular time. There was no other