An activist from Pune has blamed the Maharashtra government for the recent deluge in Kolhapur. He alleges that flood lines of the Panchganga river were “redefined” to provide benefits to the construction sector.
Hundreds of villages in Kolhapur and neighbouring Sangli were flooded after heavy rains earlier this month. While 55 people died in flood and rain-related incidents, lakhs were evacuated in these western Maharashtra districts.
Environmentalist Sarang Yadwadkar claimed to have accessed some documents of the Irrigation Department through an RTI. He said around 500-hectares land along the Panchganga river, which should have been in the flood-affected area (prohibited zone), was marked as residential zone in Kolhapur’s development plan (DP) by “redefining” the flood lines.
There are two types of flood lines – blue for the flood level that occurs once in 25 years and red for the one that occurs once in 100 years, he said.
“The Irrigation Department issued a circular in 1989 to mark the flood lines for all the rivers in Maharashtra, but it was ignored. Instead of the flood lines, flood levels (general level of a particular flood) were marked and these levels were later superimposed on the DP maps of Kolhapur,” he claimed.
In one of the cases in 2015, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued directives to the Irrigation Department to mark both the flood lines over rivers across the State, the activist cl