The incessant rains in Thane district over the past two days has washed away part of a bridge over the overflowing Ulhas river in Kalyan region and breached a small dam belonging to the railways in Ambernath. While the damaged bridge has cut off 35 villages from Kalyan, the district administration assured that water from the railway dam was not going to enter Ambernath city.
The bridge near Raite village on the Kalyan-Murbad road over the Ulhas river was submerged till Sunday morning. “When the water started receding, motorists alerted the authorities that a part of the bridge had been washed away,” an official said. “The Titwala police were informed, who have cordoned it off. People are being asked to take the Ambivali-Titwala road,” he added.
The Raite village was one of two villages in Kalyan taluka where NDRF teams were sent for rescue, sources said. “Close to 35 villages in the region have been affected by the overflowing Ulhas river. At least 500 people have taken shelter on higher ground in the region. Once the water level recedes, our medical teams will go to the villages. As of now, while some animals and cattle have been washed away, no human deaths have been reported in the region,” an official from Kalyan tehsil said.
Kalyan tehsildar Dipak Yedke said, “The bridge has been washed away due to the rains. We will immediately start repair work and till it gets completely repaired, commuters can use other roads in the region.”
In Ambernath near Kakole village, part of the wall of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIPR) Dam, used for Rail Neer production, breached and water gushed out. “It’s not a dam but a small ‘bandhara’. We have alerted the nearby MIDC industrial plots which are in danger of being submerged, but the wall is being repaired and it’s not a breach as much as a leakage,” said Rajesh Narvekar, Thane collector. However, he acknowledged that water has entered an area close to 25 acres, flooding paddy fields. “Tomorrow our officials will go and do panchnama and we will start the procedure of calculating compensation,” he said.
Residents of Ambernath, however, refused to believe it was just a leak.
“The dam was built during the British time and has suffered severe cracks in the past, which we have reported to the railways and district authorities as late as earlier this year,” Ambernath Citizens’ Forum member Satyajit Burman said.
“The dam stores water to produce 2 lakh bottles of water every day. If it spreads, the water will enter nearby areas and flood the region even more,” he added.