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Rain, swollen Mutha play havoc with pipes worth Rs 51 lakh

Several of 300 pipeline units kept along river for use in storm water project damaged

The swollen Mutha gave rise to a flood-like situation last week when the city experienced heavy showers for three consecutive days. And this damaged 300 pipeline units that were kept along the river to be used later to cover a 9-km stretch along the bank.


Swept away: Some of the pipes that have been displaced, and possibly
damaged, by the force of water. Pic/Vivek Sabnis


The installation of the 300 pipes -- worth Rs 51 lakh -- for storm water clearance was part of the River Improvement Project of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), for which the civic body had allocated Rs 27 crore in its annual budget.

The PMC is also getting an additional Rs 100 crore from the JNNURM for the complete project, which covers an 11-km stretch of both the Mula and the Mutha rivers. Installing the storm water pipelines on both sides of the Mutha was delayed as Jal Biradari, an NGO, had gone against the PMC to the Bombay High Court.

Jal Biradari had objected to the construction works undertaken by the PMC near Dev Nadi in Baner in April, and the court gave an order to stop all construction works near all rivers in the city, including the Mutha.

As the work was stopped, the pipes that were to be installed lay unattended and bore the wrath of the recent heavy showers. "The PMC should have taken proper care of public property. It is our money which is going waste," said Vaibhav Gandhi, a social activist.

Shrinivas Bonala, head of the River Improvement Project, said: "We can't do anything till the court allows us to install these pipelines. We were planning to complete the pipeline work before the onset of the monsoon but were unable to do so as the court asked us to stop all work along the riverbed. We will check what is the condition of the existing pipes and will resume work after the monsoon."

Officials from the River Improvement Department of the PMC said that the condition of the pipes would be assessed immediately after the floodwaters go down. "We are sure that there will not be many problems with these pipes and that none of these are missing. These pipes have only been dislocated and gone a little away. They all are heavy in weight," said an official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

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