Incessant rains on Sunday disrupted power supply for two to four hours in several areas of the city like Bibvewadi, Kharadi, Mundhwa, Salunke Vihar road, Swargate, Kirkatwadi, Khadakswalsa, Bavdhan and Akurdi. The worst affected area was Wanowrie, NIBM road, where trees fell at three different places and damaged overhead lines, disrupting power supply. The supply was intermittent and residents had to suffer disruptions for more than 20 hours.
On 2 am Sunday, the supply was first disrupted due to a breakdown of the feeder at St. Mary MSEDCL sub-station. While it was restored Sunday morning, heavy rains uprooted three trees, thus damaging overhead wires. Residents of Fatimangar, Wanowrie, Sopanbaug, Jagtap Chowk and other areas had to suffer long power outage since the supply was restored only by Monday afternoon.
Beheram Katrak (74), a resident of Sacred Heart Society in Wanowrie, wondered how Mumbai, with five times more rainfall, hardly ever suffered such power failures. “It’s been over 48 hours now. The power supply has been intermittent to almost non-existent. The same happened four-five days ago when a light drizzle caused a black-out. Whenever we enquire about the reasons behind the failure, we are told by officials that some tree has fallen. It’s curious because almost all the electricity channels in our area are underground,” said Katrak.
Adding to the woes of the residents is the fact that MSEDCL helpline numbers are often switched off during the hours of distress.
“Whenever there is a major power failure and we try to report it to the helpline, it doesn’t work. Keeping residents in dark about how soon the problem can be resolved only adds to their misery,” said Katrak.
NIBM area resident Meena Patel said they had been facing power cuts after every half-an-hour in the area for the last two days. “With this continuous power cuts and low-voltage, there are chances of electronic goods getting damaged. The MSEDCL has been managing power cuts very poorly. Every monsoon, there are frequent power-cuts in our area,” Patel said. “Why can’t they strengthen the system and have a nodal point of operation where harassed citizens can call up to find out when the power-cut will end? The phones of the MSEDCL employees are kept off the hook.”
Ganesh Ekade, executive engineer at MSEDCL’s Rasta Peth division said their team was trying to restore the power supply. “Due to rains and gusts of wind, the branches of trees fell on overhead lines at Jambhulkar chowk, in Command hospital area and Tatya Tope society area. Phase-by-phase, the supply was being restored,” he said.
Sparks fly in civic body meeting
Meanwhile, the civic administration came under fire for waterlogging in several areas.
“The road work is incomplete in many parts of the city and potholes have emerged in two days of rainfall,” said BJP leader Ganesh Bidkar in the general body meeting of the civic body on Monday.
NCP corporator Ravindra Malvadkar said the road near Tarachand Hospital had got damaged and needed urgent repair. Congress leader Kamal Vyavahare said there was waterlogging because the civic administration had failed to get chambers of storm water drainage cleaned.
Additional City Engineer Vivek Kharwadkar said, “We would complete the repair work in a week and submit a detailed report.”
The city has also been witnessing traffic jams on several roads due to waterlogging. The traffic during the peak morning and evening hours was very slow in places like Satara road, Karve road, Sinhagad road, J M road and Solapur road.
62.4 mm rainfall in 24 hours
Pune city recorded 62.4 mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours, with the Met department forecasting more rainfall in the coming days. On Sunday, the city received 34.5 mm of rainfall till 8.30 pm. After night-long showers, it was 60.2 mm by 8.30 am Monday. Since then till 5.30 pm Monday, the city recorded 2.2 mm of rainfall.
Meanwhile, the catchment areas in the district received good rainfall for a second day. According to irrigation officials, dam levels had gone up.
Pune’s Guardian Minister Girish Bapat said at the DPDC meeting on Monday that there was enough water for the city to last till August.