Pune Metro’s failure to clear riverbed raises concerns of flooding

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By: Pune Pulse

July 1, 2023

Pune: The Mutha riverbed in Pune is facing a significant risk of severe flooding as the clearance of murum soil, earth fill, and a substantial amount of metro construction materials remains incomplete. Despite being given a deadline by the irrigation department to clear the riverbed before the monsoon season, Mahametro has failed to meet the deadline. Worried about the potential dangers posed by the situation, the department is planning to conduct an inspection of the riverbed and issue a notice to Mahametro.

Vijay Patil, the Executive Engineer of Khadakwasla Irrigation Department, had previously sent a letter on May 29, urging Mahametro to remove the materials from the riverbed. Construction materials, debris, soil, and silt were deposited in various locations along the riverbed, such as Deccan, Sangam Bridge, and Bund Garden, as part of the Pune Metro project. The letter emphasized the risk of obstructing the natural flow of the river and creating conditions that could lead to future floods, for which Mahametro will be held fully responsible.

However, Mahametro failed to meet the June 15 deadline for clearing the riverbed, citing delays in the arrival of rainfall. With the onset of the rainy season, the increased rainfall could result in water release from the Khadakwasla dam chain project. Officials within the irrigation department have expressed concerns about the potential for flooding in Pune if the metro materials remain in the riverbed.

The encroachment and construction activities in the Mutha riverbed have significantly reduced its capacity, exacerbating the risk of flooding. Previous monsoon seasons have witnessed floods caused by heavy rains in short durations. The construction of large pillars for the metro within the riverbed has further narrowed its width, intensifying the risk of flooding, according to sources within the irrigation department.

While only 20 to 30 per cent of the riverbed has been cleared by Mahametro, a substantial amount of materials and machinery still need to be removed. The irrigation department plans to conduct further inspections of the riverbed and send another letter to Mahametro, urging prompt action.

A senior official in the Mahametro assured that the necessary materials and machinery will be removed as soon as possible to mitigate the potential risk of flooding in the area.