4 Pune bridges shut for first time in decade, tourists cancel I-Day plans for hill stations
For the first time in over a de cade, four bridges in Pune had to be shut to traffic as river levels rose rapidly due to two days of incessant rain in the catchment areas. In Kolhapur, which has so far received over half of its annual average rainfall, the Panchganga river was close to the danger level.Moreover, warnings of a downpour over the next few days in central and coastal Maharashtra have affected many holiday plans as popular hill stations remain inaccessible.
Mumbai recorded 129mm of rain, highest in the state, Mahabaleshwar came second with 117mm followed by Dahanu (61mm), Pune (42.8mm) and Ratnagiri (42mm) between 8.30am to 8.30pm on Friday . In fact, the Met department had to revise its forecast for Pune on Friday to include heavy rains.
Bridges across Pune’s Mutha river -Jayantrao Tilak bridge, SM Joshi bridge, the two-wheeler Kakasaheb Gadgil bridge (Z-bridge) and Baba Bhide causeway -were closed following heavy discharge of water from dams. The river was in spate after water released from Panshet dam flowed into the Khadakwasla reservoir. The irrigation department increased release of water from the dam, from 9,218 cusecs in the afternoon to 42,000 cusecs by evening.For the first time in years, Pavana dam too was nearly 85% full.The state irrigation department released 1,200 cusecs of water from Pavana dam at 1pm, which was increased to 3,160 cusecs at 3.30pm due to heavy rain.
IMD officials say inland and offshore weather systems have both contributed to the new spell of rain. “There has been a convergence over Gujarat and northern Maharashtra, along with offshore weather systems.Both have contributed to the moisture which caused rains,“ said P C S Rao of the weather forecasting department at IMD, Pune.
“Over the next 24 hours, Pune will receive intermittent showers. Some regions in central Maharashtra like Mahabaleshwar and coastal parts like Mumbai, will receive very heavy rain,“ he said.
On Thursday , the tehsildar’s office in Mahabaleshwar had restricted access to six popular tourist spots in Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani, after streams were reported to be gushing across certain roads.The route to Sinhagad fort and the primary route to Lavasa remained shut. The fear of landslides and water-logging has already prompted several people to cancel their travel plans for both the coming weekend and the next, which is a long weekend linked to the Independence Day holiday .