Pune: Despite a clear order from the district administration that the Khadakwasla dam area would remain closed for tourists, it was seen on Saturday (August 15) that citizens had gathered in the Khadakwasla dam area, defying the district collector's orders. This caused a traffic jam on the bridge behind Khadakwasla dam.
Currently, about 11,000 cusecs of water is being discharged from Khadakwasla Dam into Mutha river basin. Every year when water is released from the Khadakwasla dam, citizens and tourists come to the dam area to witness the scenic beauty in the area. This year, in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the district collector has ordered all tourist spots in the district, including Khadakwasla dam area, to remain closed. However, many tourists had crowded the narrow bridge at the back of the Khadakwasla dam in defiance of the order.
Vaman Bhalerao, Deputy Engineer, Swargate Sub-Division, Irrigation Department said, "Currently, the discharge from the Khadakwasla dam is 11,000 cusecs. Due to the increase in rainfall, the discharge will be increased. Citizens should not come to walk around in the dam area. We have contacted the Uttamnagar police station and demanded immediate security measures on the bridge behind the dam."
Tourists had parked their vehicles on the road, causing a huge traffic jam. Many tourists were seen risking their lives while clicking photos and selfies. The bridge at the back of the dam falls within the limits of Uttamnagar police station, but no precautions have been taken by the police administration for safety.
Tourist places such as Bushi Dam, Shahar pul, Lion point and Rajmachi garden in Lonavala and Maval area too had witnessed a large influx of tourists owing to the onset of monsoon. The Pune Rural police along with the local gram panchayat, municipal council and local volunteers of several villages have blocked and installed check posts at Lonavala, Khandala, Raiwood and Nausena bagh. More than 500 citizens have been booked for violating the lockdown norms.