After Pune escaped a near flood-like situation, the district administration disaster management cell on Thursday blamed the Met department for not giving an early warning regarding incessant rains and other areawise warnings.
As the entire disaster management or the flood-control system works on the Met department’s directions, a general warning — issued for the state and not for Pune — left the disaster management cell in a tizzy on Wednesday when the irrigation department had to release up to 40,000 cusecs from the Khadakwasla dam. It, however, released only 4,000 cusecs on Thursday.
“Had we known that Pune would get such heavy rains in the city and its catchment areas, the irrigation department could have started releasing water two days earlier so that the pressure of storing water would have reduced. The Met department had issued no such alert and only when the incessant rains continued, the irrigation department took a stock of the situation and started releasing water. We, however, got no alert from the Met department,” said Pune District Resident Deputy Collector Rajendra Muthe on Thursday.
The disaster management officials, too, maintained the same. However, the Met department officials said they had given the warning for the entire state and they did not have the facility for issuing warnings for particular areas.
“We are yet not technically equipped for such details. We have station-wise and not taluka-wise data. It is a shortcoming,” said a senior Met official.
The Mumbai Met office issues warnings for the entire state.
Earlier on the wee hours of Wednesday, the old bridge linking Mahad and Poladpur on the Mumbai-Goa Highway in Raigad district in Konkan collapsed due to heavy rain.
The Pune district administration has directed the Public Works Department (PWD) to conduct a structural audit of all the old bridges and each sub-divisional magistrate has been given powers to initiate action after getting reports from the PWD.
Muthe said of the 17 bridges, one in Baramati and two in Bhor division had been closed and traffic diverted.
Among the old bridges, Rani Laxmibai Bridge in Bhor, Yelawade Bridge in Dehu, Ambi and Takve bridges in Bhor have been closed by the administration and traffic diverted to avert any kind of tragedy.
Reports from Bhor and Junnar division had been recieved, Muthe said, adding remaining reports would follow. The instruction to the PWD to give structural audit of all old bridges in the district was issued late on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, an SMS alert system — linking all sarpanches with the irrigation and district administration — has been activated so that in case of an alert or evacuation, the needful is done at the earliest, according to a district disaster management system official.