AS THE Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) gears up with its Smart City dream projects, the civic body is set to face some tough reality checks this year with only 60 per cent of rain-related infrastructure works completed so far.
Year after year, the commuters voice their concerns over potholes and inadequate cleaning of drains, and it remains to be seen how prepared the civic administration is this year to take on the challenges.
Although Mayor Prashant Jagtap had directed the civic administration to be prepared for monsoons by May-end, and even the Municipal Commissioner said that no digging work will be allowed after May 31, in a Standing Committee meeting on Tuesday to review the monsoon preparedness work, it was informed by the civic administration that only 60 per cent of work has been completed so far.
The rest of the work, the administration said, is being hastened. The work includes cleaning of storm-water drains, nallahs, chambers and culverts. “The civic administration has been slow in completing the monsoon preparedness work. This is very serious as the rainfall is expected anytime now. The work should have been completed by May-end,” said Balasaheb Bodke, Chairperson of Standing Committee.
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Every monsoon, the city witnesses crisis during monsoons with water logging, water gushing into housing societies and slums, potholes on city roads, Bodke said, adding, “The delay in completing the work is not acceptable. We have directed the civic administration to make the staff accountable and take up the monsoon preparedness work seriously. There has to be action against those failing to get the work done properly.”
Despite the decision to not allow digging of roads after May 31, the work is going on at some roads in the city. The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) has requested the civic body to allow them to complete the ongoing work of laying undeground cables by digging roads. “The PMC has decided not to allow digging of roads after May 31. Anyone found violating the civic body decision will face action,” said civic officer. The ward offices were also asked to ensure that all road works, including concretisation, are completed, he said.
Last year, after flooding incidents, Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar had said that there has been a lot of concretisation within the city, therefore rain water was not percolating.
“The trend of concretising the roads have been popular among corporators. The civic body has not learnt its lessons from previous monsoon chaos,” said civic activist Vivek Velankar. According to activist Satish Khot, the storm water drains are unclean as the waste collected after sweeping roads is dumped in the drains, blocking them.