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Flooded houses: Indian Airlines colony sees a repeat

Tuesday brought back memories and fears in the Indian Airlines Staff Colony,Kalina,one of the worst-hit areas in the deluge of July 26,2005.


July 15, 2009 3:55:35 am

Tuesday brought back memories and fears in the Indian Airlines Staff Colony,Kalina,one of the worst-hit areas in the deluge of July 26,2005. The colony on the periphery of the Mithi river was on “alert” following a rise in the river water level.

The colony — which has 800 houses — had got submerged in the 2005 deluge after the adjoining Mithi River overflowed,with seven persons,including a child and three woman,losing their lives.

Balu Nitnaware,general secretary of the colony and head of its disaster management cell,had to rush back from work on Tuesday. A team of colony staffers went to inspect the Mithi around 2 pm after the water level inside the colony began to rise,the cause being high tide and continuous downpour. Inside the colony,the families in the ground floor had already begun packing.

Bhaskar Khandibharande,a cashier with Indian Airlines,returned home early to help his family prepare for the annual exercise after he got reports of waterlogging. “By 2 pm,my bathroom and toilet had flooded and hence we decided to start packing. Though,with the tide easing and rain slowing,the water level went down. For us,this is the most painful part of the year.”

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Khandibharande’s home was fully submerged during the 2006 floods,after which he had to redo his house. His house wasn’t spared last year either.

The colony’s immediate emergency infrastructure was already in place — 30 life jackets, rescue boats,bottles of mineral water,1,200 biscuit packets,emergency lights,gates equipped with inverters in case of electricity loss,ladders to help rescue people from top floors and ropes. The colony’s children had also made indigenous efforts by making makeshift floats out of the fibre tray that is used for loading and unloading at the airport.

By 4 pm,rain stopped and Mithi water level came down,but the colony was still knee-deep in water.

“Every year,since 2005,we ask the civic administration to come up with some solutions. They do not share with us any measure they might be undertaking,” says Khandibharande.

“They have not learnt any lessons. We are helpless even today.”

Inside the colony,the residents were also debating on getting tankers to supply them drinking water after their water tank was fully submerged by 1 pm.

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