Wednesday, August 7, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Can Pune Smartly Tackle the Floods!!!

Dear All, 

There's too much of news flooding about areas around us drowning into water, bridges closed due to water discharge from the dams, shifting of informal settlements near low lying areas to safe areas, parking areas of many housing societies flooded since they are built in the flood zones etc.. Yet I thought of penning down about the same issues, since last year around the same time, Kerala faced terrible floods. I remember writing that Pune is not far from such a situation. So here WE are... if the rains continue with the same pace or heavier we are likely to face terrible floods, I hope not too. However, I would like to ask the same question again as I did last year... Are we really prepared for any such disaster???

No, I don't think so.. to start with I feel we don't even have a common portal where we can get all the required information about areas flooded, total rains that will occur in this week, precautions to be taken in such situations, emergency contact nos, relief centers etc etc...Everyone just forwards messages from #Whatsapp or #Twitter randomly flooding the phones with loads of information but not really sure about the authenticity of the information. This creates more panic rather than precaution. Whatever measures are being taken are simply reactive instead of being proactive. We cannot be proactive because there is no appropriate infrastructure set that will inform us about the rains well in advance so that we can equip ourselves accordingly.

PC: Pune mirror news on VMD screen
However, we do have some systems installed in the SMART city under the SMART city mission by the Pune Smart City Development Corporation as SMART elements which I think is great!!! But these systems are not equipped or programmed or not functioning in order to help us in such situations. For instance, we have the smart screens known as Variable Message Display (VMD) screens that mostly show us the time taken to travel from one place to another just like google maps. Yes we need real time traffic information, but what about other information that these screens should display like key notices about roads closed, etc., in such situations... There are other elements as well such as the emergency call box, flood sensors, public address systems etc... You can find information about these systems here

So, why can't these screens display messages of areas ahead that are flooded or safe for travel. They can also display information regarding safety measures to be taken, area specific rain forecasts, display emergency numbers or locations of relief centers based on the situation in that particular area. I think these initiatives will be SMART only when they enable us to sustain in difficult situations. 

A recent news on VMD was published in Pune mirror, it seems no action has been undertaken after this news as well.

I think we as citizens should raise our voice for our safety now. I would like to invite suggestions from all of you as to what can be done in order to save Pune from this grave situation. What all measures we as citizens should take now in order to keep Pune from drowning!!! 

Please write back to us on OR give your comments in this blog OR write to us on our Facebook page.

Pournima Agarkar.

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Anonymous said...

Reviving canals and streams and plant riparian trees along them , not using storm drains for replacing them is crucial.
Taking strict action against encroachment or modification of the River flow or river bed.
Organized Disaster Management and First Aid training to volunteers and officers.
24×7 helpline to direct people to nearby rescue centres.

Aditi K said...

Mapping flood plains and low terrains and publishing relevant notices in societies and buildings.
GIS Mapping for recording changes in Floodlines.

pournima said...

Thank you for your valuable comments!!!

Swati Iyer said...

Hi. These are thoughts to ponder...