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People in building saved from electrocution in nick of time

Residents trapped on upper floors of building pulled out to safety by youngsters from colony even as water rose to level of electric boards; victims say civic body's poor drainage system caused water accumulation, leading to wall caving in after heavy downpour

A day after a 12-feet wall in Badshah Nagar Colony gave away in the torrential rains that lashed the city on Tuesday, residents in the area said poor drainage system had caused the disaster. The colony which is situated opposite Kornakpooram in Kondhwa got inundated as the second spell of rain intensified around 9 pm. Unable to take the pressure of the rising water level, the wall of an unreserved 50-feet plot on the rear end between the colony and Bhagyodanagar collapsed, said the residents. They said the plot had become a dumping ground for people living in the adjoining buildings outside the colony.


Rain pain: The wall between Badshah Nagar Colony and
Bhagyodanagar that collapsed on Tuesday, causing water to rush into
nearby buildings


"The 12-feet wall suddenly collapsed and the water seeped in within seconds into our homes and inundated the ground and first floor apartments in the block," said Abdul Ghia, a resident. Residents on the ground and the first floor apartments, mainly elders and children in block no A3, were trapped for nearly 20 minutes before they were pulled out to safety by the youth in the colony.


The gutter that was built near the buildings in the colony. Pics/Murtuza
Partapgharwala & Murtuza Bhanpurawala


"The water reached up to 6 feet and destroyed all our expensive furniture, including our televison set and refrigerator. The entire place was covered in muck," said a resident who had recently purchased a flat, renovating it at a cost of about Rs 10 lakh. There are five buildings each with about 12 flats and two row houses in the colony.


Trapping residents on the upper floors; the belongings of a resident
staying on the ground floor of one of the buildings were destroyed in
the water


Timely rescue
The timely intervention of the rescuers also saved the residents from getting electrocuted as the water had reached up to the electric boards. "Had it not been for the young students in the locality who pulled us out on time and switched off the main electricity boards, all of us surely would have got electrocuted," said 72-year-old Huseinbhai. Some residents blamed the improper planning by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

They said that every time water got collected at the Bhagyodanagar hill range, it flowed down the slope and got accumulated in Kondhwa's Badshah Nagar area. They said there was no proper drainage system in place and the gutters often overflowed seeping into their homes. In the last 10 years, it was the fifth time the colony was flooded, said a resident.

An official spokesperson from the colony said the corporators and the PMC officials had visited the area but were unable to find a solution. Residents of the colony said when the buildings were being constructed the corporation was unable to find a way to channelise water from the colony and had asked the society members to build a storm water pipeline to drain out the water, which they did. "But the 4-feet broad pipeline is unable to hold the water as water from the entire Kondhwa area gets accumulated there," said a tenant.

Complaints ignored
An irate resident Murtuza Bhanpurawala, whose ground floor flat was completely destroyed in the flood, said: "We have been facing this problem for the past 10 to 12 years, and unfortunately, our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. The main drainage pipeline in the society is fitted properly and the path for the water to be let out is not functioning properly. The wall which was built to stop the water from flowing into the colony collapsed because of the garbage heap and accumulation of water. My house is a wreck at the moment. At least 10 flats in the five buildings have faced the same issue. We have lost important documents, cash and jewellery because of this mishap. The PMC visited the colony in the morning and has levelled the ground, but we don't know what will happen now."

Madhav Deshpande, ward officer of Bibwewadi said: "The buildings were built even before the corporation was set up. The water flowing down the hill accumulates at this place. If you build houses there, then such disasters will always happen. However, we'll force the builder to build the wall again."

(With inputs from Akshata Shetty)

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