Pune's flood-prone areas gear up for 'rain' of terror

At least 12 places in city are susceptible to heavy waterlogging, with water making its way into homes; residents are resigned to living in relatives’ houses or even on the street

With the monsoons on their way, for most of us it is time to get new raincoats or repair our umbrellas, but there is one big section of society which has to suffer a lot when it rains and people actually need to make arrangements for their survival.

According to the Fire Brigade, there are as many as 12 sensitive areas in Pune which are hit hard by heavy rains and a flood-like situation occurs there every monsoon. mid-day undertook a review of some of these areas, spoke to the people living there (see boxes below) and tried to find out the arrangements they have made in response to this natural threat.

YOU SHALL NOT PASS! The PMC hopes this wall will keep out river water from the Patil Estate slum area in Sangamwadi. Pics/Mohan Patil

“In the last rainy season, we had many cases in the city when people were trapped after river water flooded their housing societies and houses. In such situations, our firemen rush to the spot to begin rescue operations. We use rubber boats, but our firemen need advance training for such operations. Basic training was given to one team of firemen three years ago but no more training has taken place since. We want every fireman to be trained in dealing with such eventualities,” said chief fire officer Prashant Ranpise.

“Rescue operations need to be undertaken not only during the rainy season, but also when sudden rains occur or a water pipeline bursts. We are in talks with the National Disaster Rescue Force and we are taking their help to arrange advance training for our firemen for rescue operations during the monsoon,” he added.

The riverbed areas in the city where water gets into homes during the rainy season include Anandnagar on Sinhagad Road, Ambil Odha slum near Dandekar Bridge, Patil Estate slum at Sangamwadi and Shanti Nagar slum in Vishrantwadi area. There are also a large number of tree falling incidents during the monsoons, which also lead to injuries and accidents.

Pune Fire Brigade’s Assistant Divisional Officer D N Nagalakar told mid-day, “We are prepared for the upcoming monsoon and all the rescue equipment have been repaired. Our firemen are well trained in rescue operations in areas where water gets into residential zones and we have already sent warning notices to residents of these areas to be alert. Generally, when above 30,000 cusecs of water is released from the Khadakwasla Dam or in case of continuous heavy rains for 2 or 3 days, levels start increasing and water enters into residential areas near the rivers Mula and Mutha. Also, on an average, we get about 50 calls of tree falling from different parts of the city during the monsoons.” Prepared?

Currently, there are a total of 487 firemen in the city and nine rubber boats for water rescue operations are available with the Pune Fire brigade, which are distributed among 11 fire stations across the city. The PMC also forms a special ‘flood control’ cell during the monsoon season, which is manned round-the-clock by six firemen and a vehicle in shifts.

Flood-prone areas

>> Patil Estate slum, Sangamwadi
>> Shantinagar slum, Vishrantwadi
>> Poolachi Wadi slum, Deccan
>> Anandnagar, Sinhagad Road
>> Kamgar Statue slum, Shivajinagar
>> Khillare Patil slum, Yerawada
>> Ambil Odha slum, Dandekar Bridge
>> Shivne and Uttamnagar areas
>> Katraj Lake area
>> Old Aundh Bridge area
>> Baner and Pashan areas
>> Bopodi slum area

Safety in numbers?
The Pune fire brigade has the following arrangements to help during flood or tree falling situations:

487 firemen at 11 fire stations
9 rubber boats
109 lifeguard jackets
125 lifeguard tyre rings
35 pumps to suck out the water
23 electric saws to cut trees
2 vans with rescue equipment

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