Amit Paranjape’s Blog

12 July 1961 – Panshet: A day that changed Pune

Posted in Pune by Amit Paranjape on July 10, 2011

12 July 1961 – this fateful day will remain forever etched in Pune’s history. A day that changed the history and geography of this great city. Call it a bad coincidence – but two events that happened almost exactly 200 years apart have played a critical role in Pune’s history – to the extent that they have been added to the local Marathi lexicon.  The first one was the 3rd Battle of Panipat in 1761 and the second one: the Panshet flood. “पानिपत झालं” (Panipat zala) and “पानशेत झालं” (Panshet zala) are commonly used terms today to refer to a big disaster.

Half a century ago, the new under-construction Panshet dam had started developing some problems, even before it was complete. Against some recommendations, the dam was being filled up during the 1961 monsoon season. Cracks started developing and yet there was lot of debate on whether the dam was in real imminent danger. Read this technical article for a good engineering summary of what went wrong at Panshet: http://nptel.iitm.ac.in/courses/IIT-MADRAS/Hydraulics/pdfs/Unit41/41_2.pdf

A valiant last-ditch effort by the Army Jawans managed to delay the inevitable by a few hours. These few hours helped a lot. If not for this great effort, where thousands of sand bags were deployed, the dam would have burst in the middle of the night, creating havoc for the sleeping residents of Pune. The few hours delay meant that the burst happened early morning and the wall of flood waters reached Pune later in the morning. The deluge of flood waters of Panshet also broke the smaller Khadakwasla dam, further downstream.

Residents started getting some warnings early in the morning and the authorities started moving out the residents living near the riverside. Many residents fled to higher grounds, some all the way to the Parvati Hill. Apparently, All India Radio did not broadcast any warnings, and was playing a regular scheduled music program when the floods struck. The low lying areas of the old city were almost completely submerged. Except for the Bund Garden Bridge, all the bridges were under water as well. Water rushed into the old ‘Peths’ and along Karve Road, Deccan Gymkhana areas. For many hours, the high water levels persisted. Roughly speaking Panshet water reservoir stores enough water for all of Pune’s city needs today (today’s needs are probably 5-10 times more than the 1960s requirements). Imagine all that water being drained out in just a few hours! To give you an idea of the level of the water, just visualize the first floor of Abasaheb Garware College (MES) on Karve Road, nearly completely submerged! Some people and rescue workers were trying navigate Deccan Gymkhana, FC/JM Road areas in small boats.

The water levels finally started falling by late night. The floods completely cutoff the electric and water supply. July 12th was a dark, rainy night in Pune – with rumors still doing the rounds. Some of them pointed to more floods on the way… (even though the dams had been drained empty by then..). When the flood-waters receded, they left behind a trail of destruction and a muddy mess. The cleanup and rebuilding took many months. The old riverside city landscape changed forever. New localities (such as Lokmanya Nagar, Gokhale Nagar, etc.) were setup to resettle some of the flood affected citizens. Most of the bridges were damaged and needed fixing and in some cases complete rebuilding. With Khadakwasla and Panshet dams completely drained, there was no water supply for the city. The Peshwa era Katraj water aqueduct was used to meet some water requirements. Wells were another source. Wadas that had wells had to prominently list ‘Well’ on their main door – so that, the water source could be be made available.

I have found a series of good articles about the Panshet flood disaster, including many firsthand accounts. Some of these links are listed below. I will continue to add more links here. If you come across any good articles, do let me know. Also if you have personal memories from your own experiences, or from your friends & families, please share them here in the comments section.

http://chandrashekhara.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/%E0%A4%AA%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%A8%E0%A4%B6%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%A4-1961/

http://blog.khapre.org/2008/07/blog-post_4677.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panshet_Dam

http://nptel.iitm.ac.in/courses/IIT-MADRAS/Hydraulics/pdfs/Unit41/41_2.pdf

http://www.sakaaltimes.com/sakaaltimesbeta/20100711/5533988237134629489.htm

http://www.esakal.com/esakal/20100712/5620114474477528349.htm

http://www.sakaaltimes.com/SakaalTimesBeta/20100711/4801146537723084952.htm

http://www.esakal.com/esakal/20110711/5513754521977459281.htm

http://www.esakal.com/esakal/20110712/4755075539072260072.htm

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_scenario-in-deccan-gymkhana-when-flash-floods-inundated-in-pune_1565034

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtNITRk_TzA

 Indian Express Headline: July 12, 1961 http://twitpic.com/5owvo0

पानशेत प्रलय आणी मी – मधुकर हेबळे  (‘Panshet Pralay Ani Mi’ – Madhukar Heble)

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36 Responses

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  1. Gaurav Chattur said, on July 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    At the height of the floods when the water was released from Panshet, the sluice gates of the Khadakwasla dam mal-functioned. NDA and the Khadakwasla village were under serious threat of flooding. The day was saved by blowing up the Khadakwasla dam by rockets fired from Helicopter: a visual spectacle for the onlookers. Pieces of the original dam can be seen near the Khadakwasla dam.

  2. Gaurav Chattur said, on July 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Sahakar Nagar, a residential locality behind the Parvati hills, was born as a direct result of the floods. Residents from the Peth areas flocked to the higher grounds of Sahakar nagar, to secured plots available at throwaway prices. Sahakar Nagar retains much of the “Peth culture” just as Kothrud does.

  3. Pradeep Hardikar said, on July 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Panshet flood indeed was a major event. My uncle’s family, which used to live very close to the river near Vijay theater, and his sister’s family in Narayan peth were affected by it. My uncle moved to Prashant Nagar (10 minutes from Alaka theater) still was closer to river. However, they got the land for Rs. 0.50 per sqft that time and took it. There is another colony there called Nissan Huts which were temporary shelters created for folks who got displaced. In my school, which is next to the river on junction of Prabhat Road and Karve Road, there was a line marked in our Assembly Hall indicating the level of the water at peak of the flood. It is at a level of second floor! When I was studying there, we used to keep an eye on the river level during the monsoon. There was a mark on the banks of the river and the general notion was that if water rises above that, they will declare holiday! It never did!!!

  4. Amit Paranjape said, on July 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Hi Gaurav – Thanks for your comments. Had always thought that Khadakwasla dam fell through under the weight of the Panshet waters.

  5. Amit Paranjape said, on July 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Hi Pradeep – Thanks for your comments. I think you are referring to Vimlabai Garware School. I remember a similar flood water level line on the ground floor of Abasaheb Garware College, Karve Road.

  6. Amit Paranjape said, on July 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Got this comment from a friend:

    ————————-
    I lived through Panshet pralay. On Deccan Gymkhana a lot of things changed and I have quite a few instances that affected me personally, Deccan Gymkhanaites collectively as we had to organize sentry work under direction of Madhu Lokhande for all youngsters of the colony with 3-4 hour shifts 24×7 to protect against poachers and thieves, and our eternal abode Cafe Good Luck. That was also the fist experience of unkept promises by the government, on one hand and fabulous J.M. Road construction, cutting across Hanum,an Hill and extension of Law college road across the khind with sprawling Nissan huts for resettlement……
    ————————–

  7. Gaurav Chattur said, on July 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Hi Amit,

    Wiki on Khadakwasla dam also alludes to the incident “In 1961, the Khadakwasla Dam had to be blown, as the Panshet Dam overflowed, causing devastating floods in the city of Pune. The dam was later rebuilt.” The rockets fired from the chopper part is as told to me by a local claiming to be an eyewitness.

  8. Vivek Tuljapurkar said, on July 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Good article, Amit.

    Maybe any names that start with “Pan” are not auspicious for Pune and Puneites.

    For people who suffered thru the Panshet disaster, the memories must be very traumatic. A slightly humorous story as told by one of my relatives is about a huge Jafarabadi buffalo getting stuck on the top terrace of a house. She was carried there by the flood water, but once the water receded she was stuck as she was too big to climb down the narrow stairway. Eventually, after more pressing matters had been tackled, the government officials sent a crane to pick her up and put her down.

  9. suranga date said, on July 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I was in class 8 , in a school near Sassoon, then, and came home that afternoon with a bunch of classmates who lived in Deccan. They couldnt reach home because both Lakdi pool, and Sangam bridge were under water, I remember us going up Parvati that evening , (it was close to my house) and seeing oceans of brown water with stuff like cupboards and furniture floating around. Some doctor ladies very close to us lived in Narayan Peth, behind the Vijay talkies area. They lived in a very old house with a well, and their old father, a vedic scholar in his 70′s , climbed up on to a tree by the side of the well, and stayed up there for several hours . The well ended up receiving a lot of trash and junk, not to mention tons of silt . Many years later, when they had it emptied and cleaned, they found some wonderful swords and weapons at the bottom, that belonged to Shivaji’s time. The father , the vedic scholar was an old freedom fighter who was sent to jail , and it is said that he threw the family heirloom swords ad stuff into the well, to hide it from the British officers, before he went to jail.

    Some very interesting happenings post the flood. The doctor ladies I mention, owned some land behind their house which was trespassed upon by a tabela, and the owner with his buffaloes etc refused to vacate all these years. Post the flood, he had no interest in staying on, willingly went away, and thats where the Paranjape Clinic stands today, in Narayan Peth.

    I also remember people speaking in a definitive manner about the steeple of Onkareshwar mandir being under water. Apparently, it was never submerged in any of the previous floods. The fact that it was, now, was a sign of something, and was considered a divine comment on the calamity.

    The next morning after the flood, we saw a whole bunch of people and big crowds, rushing past our house from SP towards Peshwe park, carrying utensils and bags. Turns out, some miscreants had generated a rumour about another dam bursting, and Tilak Rd was supposed to be in line for flooding from the Alka theatre side. Folks returned back to their homes to find stuff ransacked.

  10. Amit Paranjape said, on July 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Hi Suranga – Thanks for your detailed comments!

  11. Shrikant Sathe said, on July 11, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    I was 8 at that time ,when flood news came, my mother came and took me from school to home,I remember it clearly.All the people were running vehemently from west to east on laxmi road. taking their household etc.on handcarts and on heads After comming from school my mother took me on gadgil steet.I strongly remember the collapse of a mud structured house at 500 feet away by the force of water.It was a horrible experiance on my little mind of 8.Next day my father took me to see the havoc on different peths.A foul smell of mud was all around .A stinky smell of grains was also there.I saw the cine talkies which showed the 1 run of pictures like jis desh me ganga baihti hai in hindavijay ,sarural at vasant talkies We had 1 month vacation for innundation.I saw some people who got mad.

  12. Vasuki Goroor Srinivasan said, on July 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    @Gaurav Chattur, the story of rocketing by helicopter told to you is a figment of imagination of your source who must have watched the movie ” Dam Busters”. First of all, and I am a close witness and later volunteer, no helicopters ever made an appearance. IAF did not have helicopters with rockets attached to them in 1961. An uncle of mine was the Sqadron leader at Lohegaon airbase and they were not mobilised. Later that day, Bombay Engineering Group was mobilised from Khadki for relief work to make the Railway bridge passable at night for people to cross over.
    What happened at Khadakwasla was that sheer volume and speed of water created a breach at 2.30 AM. On the down stream side, we have the Central Water and power Research station (CWPRS). They were on constant watch for the previous day and once panshet started oozing copious amounts and flood reached Khadakwasla dam, the authorities took their laboratory camera equipment, generator powered flood lights and have filmed the events of the night. There is a clear cascade over the dam wall and at 2.30 AM, a spray of water shoots from a lower level of the cascade indicating the breach. I have seen this film many times as we were connected with CWPRS. This film was part of the enquiry into Panshet and Khadakwasla dam bursts. The superintending engineer at Panshet was Mr.Bhalerao and was the main target of enquiry with lots of rumours circulating.
    We lived off Apte road , opposite Kanade hostel, near shrutimangal karyalaya. Apte road went under water by 9.30 AM and the water rose to 12 feet by 11 AM. Our home was at a higher level , but we still had 5 ft water by 11 AM . We were lucky, we could shift most assets to first floor amidst ridicule by neighbours, who never thought at 9AM that our building would be flooded. Our landlord was shouting at my brother and me for panicking. He had not seen what we had seen at 7.30 AM from the 3rd floor balcony of MES college where we had gone for NCC parade. The flow in Mutha river was fast and furious unlike previous monsoon flows. We had no idea that Khadakwasla had breached nor was it common knowledge that Panshet was in trouble 2 days before. There were no warnings, Radio broadcast was normal. No police activity. People had gone to schools , offices as usual. When we were standing on the ground the college peon beckoned Our NCC officer/chemistry prof R.N.Vidwans from 3rd floor shouting. When we reached , what we saw was unforgettably shocking. Bhagwat saheb said this is too big and said we should rush home and warn. We biked back shouting to people along erandawane, Deccan Gym, PYC gym, good luck area and on to FC, past Suresh Kalmadi’s dad’s clinic and on to our road. We didnt see our mom at home as she had gone near Hindvijay on JM rd along with outher ladies to see the flood! Taht was 8.30 AM. We biked to Neera Kendra to find the ladies of our building. By then JM road was flooded ankle deep. Still seriousness had not set in our area and apte road.

    After we got the ladies home, we started bundling things and carrying them up to first floor much to the amusement of neighbours and chagrin of our Landlord. We just finished locking up our home after switching off mains ( By then power was already out and we had not known that) and we left for higher grounds in Ferguson college. My dad and kid sister were on the otherside of river at Golibar Maidan. No phones were working. we had no info about them .

    We came back from FC by 5Pm by which time water had drained off, leaving 2feet deep clay muck. our neighbours at lower levels had received carcasses of animals.

    Late that night my Dad walked home at 1 AM carrying my sister. He had gone and collected her from her school by noon when he heard about the flood. He also didnt know what had happened. PMT buses were off road. He walked from Golibar maidan via Shankershet road and Tilak road and found roads blocked. Finally he crossed over railwaybridge at Sangam! and walked home . He said he had seen dozens of bodies.

    We spent the night on first floor. No food or water was available.
    Next morning, we ventured out to get Milk only to realise that the area had changed completely. Near Bank of Maharashtra on the Lodge side opposite Hind Vijay , there was a human body entangled in the electric wires on the pole. That sight hardened me.

    We reported To capt RN Vidwans and were taken right away to the BEG army group who were mobilised. Next one month we were helping in clearing the Narayan Peth to Omkareshwar stretch, house by house. Yes, I can relate to the report above about the presence of a buffalo shed near Vijay talkies area. One of those buffalos was stranded on the terrace of a 4 floor riverside building and was rescued, by Jawans Of BEG with ropes , not by helicopter!

    I still have a memorabilia that had floated to my home, a Satyanarayan bhagwan photo that had embedded in the muck, minus glass or frame but with no damage to the paper! I can say more, but then life moves on!

  13. Amit Paranjape said, on July 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Thanks for your detailed comments! Really great to see such a detailed account of your firsthand experience!

    Many thanks,
    Amit

  14. Amit Paranjape said, on July 12, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Adding another followup comment from Vasuki that I got via email:

    Dear Amit,
    How can I forget that day in 1961. The scale might have been matched only by the 9/11 World trade centre event in New York in terms of visual and cerebral impact. After that day I have seen many more such calamities including 2 major cyclone-floods in my current home city of Muscat, Oman. However these events pale in significance compared to how Pune was physically destroyed but mentally and spiritually the Punekar and his city was never mauled.

    I was trawling the net for recap articles and came across your blog. I planned to write later today, but the input about rocketing Khadakwasla spurred me into action immediately. You see, I was connected to the events that happened then. The first floor of building I mentioned in my blog was occupied by Mr.Venkatraman, a deputy director at CWPRS and was on the site directing lab camera, that’s how I saw the film many times. Infact he could return home from Khadakwasla only on 14th July after winding up the recording of various readings. Secondly my Uncle Sq.Ldr N.K.Ramprasad was second in command at the Airforce base at Lohegaon. Helicopters those days were not equipped to fire rockets, as the recoil system was not available and night time helicopter ops were not possible and the most modern equipment was the Hawker Hunter Fighter. My uncle came visiting us late that night to see whether we are alright. He brought us bread and biscuits from their canteen stores. Incidentally, I have one more association with Khadakwasla- my great grandfather was junior to Sir M.Vishweshwarayya who designed the flood gates of that dam. Incidentally, the gates did not jam. Authorities wrongly or rightly did not simply operate the gates that night. Many accused them of compounding the disaster by not letting out khadakwasla water before panshet water came to the dam. However, that woould mean watyers hitting Pune by 10PM of 11th July and that would have meant floods in darkness in areas where people were asleep! So, one is never sure!

    I have many more experiences of the next six weeks. Human spirit and teh ‘veerata” of my true maharashtrian brethren can never be forgotten. Life was tough, but no one cribbed. all were helping each other. people shared whatever they could lay hands on in supplies. It was always share and share alike. I learnt more in those 6 weeks in managing people than I learnt at IIM ahmedabad a decade later. After NCC work from 8AM to 2PM, I used to go with Bhagwatsaheb to Maharashra Mandal , Tilak road to help in the kitchen that cooked food for distribution in camps at SP, Narayan peth and so on. Never felt tired, inspite of the stench in the mornings where we cleaned up. We were never sure of what we would find when we gingerly let the army supplied spade dig into a pile of muck.
    Namaskar and Jai hind

    Vasuki

  15. Rahul Patwardhan said, on July 12, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    My parents wedding was to take place on 14th July 1961. Suvarna Smriti Mangal Karyalaya near Cafe Good Luck was hired for the purpose. All of a sudden Panshet dam waters rushed into the streets of Deccan Gymkhana and the marriage hall got under water. The “baratis” from the groom’s side were on their way to Pune from Bagalkot/Bijapur by railway train . In the morning after 9-30 am when the train crossed Daund junction, they could see horrified citizens running for their lives by the railway tracks. Panshet dam water’s havoc in Pune meant the marriage ceremony was almost uncertain. On the bride’s side there was total chaos as the very home of my mother near Apte road was feets under water on 12th July itself. Somehow they cleaned the house . But that relief was shortlived. The next day the lakdi bridge remained under water and the route to the temporary marriage hall in the premises of SP College was blocked. Somehow they reached the place.

    There was no question of the ceremony taking place in Suvarna Smriti Karyalay. In these out-of-the world circumstances a close acquaitance ,Prof. Gaydhani ( Professor of History in SP College, Tilak Road) , came to rescue. Owing to his untiring efforts and limitless energy and above all the genuine urge to help and solve the insurmountable difficulties that the Puneites had found themselves in due to the dam waters , a temporay place was made available for marriage near SP College. The entire ceremony could be conducted without any hitch and with customary elegance on 14th July 1961. It was against the backdrop of the entire Pune city being enveloped in darkness and despair due to the dam burst. A uniue marriage ceremony of its kind was witnessed by the relatives and those serving the assembled guests on that eventful day.

  16. Amit Paranjape said, on July 12, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Rahul – Thanks for adding this great story!

  17. Akshay Damle said, on July 14, 2011 at 12:31 am

    It was a great insight to read so many first hand accounts of the floods in Pune. I had heard a lot of stories from my relatives, but I never had much details. Thanks Amit for this blog post and ensuring that we have accurate details about the disaster of 1961.

  18. Amit Paranjape said, on July 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Akshay, Thanks for the feedback.

  19. Amit Bagaitkar said, on July 17, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Hi Amit,

    Very good recap of the event in Pune history. I passed on your blog to my parents. My mother used to stay near Deccan Gymkhana those days. They lost almost everything in flood. She narrated her memories to us. It took six months for them to get back on track again.

    Thank Amit for writing this. Also thanks from my mother, she has asked me to convey special thanks for writing this.

  20. Avinash Limaye said, on July 17, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    I was in 6- B th Std. @ Ground Floor-NES Ramanbaug scool, Morning Shift, was leaving @ Apte Road, Gymkhana, crossed Lakadi Pool on bycycal, @ about 7a.m. water level was at Deccan Bus Stand, Lakadi Pool spill over holes, Narayanpeth Road, half cycle wheel depth. Reachd school, they closed cycle Stand, and No classes were held. I went back to waeds my Aunts House, 1418 Kasaba, lane leading to river, Near Navapool, throudh AppaBalawant Chauk, on way met My Aunt and Grand Mother being carried away by one Mr. Raghu @ Navagraha Temple, Water had reachrd up to there. We went to my other Aunts house @ SP college, and took refuse there. My Aunts house @ 1418 Kasaba Peth was complrtly wiped out. For next week I could not come back to Deccan, and meet my perents, A week Later Walked down over Lakadi Pool, which was only arks & no road, animals and human bodies were hanging from road side cables. No water & Electricity and Floor mills for next 15 Days. I have

  21. Amit Paranjape said, on July 17, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Avinash – Thanks for your comments. Looks like your comment got truncated at the end?

  22. Amit Paranjape said, on July 17, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Amit – Thanks for the feedback.

  23. Abhijeet Kalhapure said, on January 1, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Hi Amit,

    I got significant details of the Panshet Pralay from your blog. At least you made our generation people to know about the impact of flood. We can just imagine what could have happened at that time….If I am not wrong it was 200th anniversary of Panipat during 1961….so one bad coincident for pune city. Also see how all words are linked with the initial letter ‘P’
    ‘Pune’
    ‘Panipat’
    ‘Panshet’.

    Anyway there was another incident which had affected Punekar’s life to about 1 year. It was ‘Joshi Abhyankar Case’ during 1976-77. I read the book ‘Yes I am Guilty’ and seen movie ‘Maficha Sakshidar’. If you could search and find some old articles regarding this case and put them on your blog it will provide more details to the readers regarding this case.I think besides above 2 incidents it was a 3rd big incident that affected the Pune.

    Continue writing such a great informative blogs.

    Abhijeet Kalhapure

  24. Amit Paranjape said, on January 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Abhijit – Thanks for your comments. Yes, I had mentioned this Pune disaster link with letter ‘P’ on my twitter feed! You can actually add ‘Plague’ (1890s) along with ‘Panipat’ and ‘Panshet’. Do checkout my blogpost on the 250th anniversary of the 3rd Battle of Panipat: https://aparanjape.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/commemorating-250-years-of-the-battle-of-panipat/

    I agree, the Joshi-Abhyankar case was quite a sensational incident in the peaceful Pune city of the 1970s.

    Amit

  25. s.r.kelkar said, on May 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    amit
    thanks for the what ever service you are doing tom prpomote spread of thoughts mexpresses in the vasant vyakhanmala.can you post all the days proceedings as some seniors who are sick and can not attend please do something
    sadashiv

  26. Amit Paranjape said, on May 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I try to ‘live-tweet’ some of the lectures that I attend. You can follow that at http://twitter.com/aparanjape

  27. mhpolicy said, on July 11, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    well, Panipat and Panshet are not strictly used in a comparable sense to denote a big disaster…Panipat is used as a metaphor for defeat, while Panshet is used as a metaphor for a ‘natural’ disaster (although strictly this was a man-made disaster)…

    soumitra

  28. Parag N said, on July 11, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Some of the unforgettable memories told by my dad (marathi gives good effect):
    पुराचे पाणी झांसी च्या राणी च्या पुतळ्यापर्यंत पोचले होते ..हिंदविजय सिनेमाच्या खुर्च्या पुराच्या पाण्यात तरंगत होत्या .प्रभात पर्यंत गुढघाभर पाणी होते ..सामान्य लोकांना चित्रशाळा चौकाच्या पलीकडे जायला बंदी होती ..पुण्यातील शाळांना ३ महिने सुट्टी होती ..निम्मे म .न .पा पाण्यात होते..मी मंडई मध्ये गेलो होतो ..मंडई च्या कळसापर्यंत पाणी पोचणार अशा अफवा पसरायला लागल्या होत्या ..वाड्यातील लोक पर्वती कडे निघाले..शनिवार वाड्याच्या भिंतींमुळे शुक्रवार पेठ वाचली असे म्हणतात ..

  29. Chandrashekhar Kolhatkar said, on July 12, 2012 at 8:40 am

    पानशेत धारण फुटीचा आणि नंतर आलेल्या महापुराचा मी प्रत्यक्षदर्शी साक्षीदार आहे. मी त्यावेळेस इयता ५ वी मध्ये रमणबाग शाळेत शिकत होतो. सकाळी ११.३० च्या सुमारास शाळेच्या पटांगणात पाणी वाढू लागले. शाळेत धारण फुटले असेल अशी कोणालाही कल्पना नव्हती. भरपूर पाउस झाल्याने नदीला पूर आला आहे अशीच समजूत होती. पाणी जसे वाढू लागले तसे मी जवळपास कमरे इतक्या पाण्यातून शाळेबाहेर निघालो. त्या वेळेस आम्ही सदाशिव पेठेत पेरूगेट पोलीस चौकीजवळ रहात होतो. येताना चित्र शाळा चौका पर्यन पाणी आलेले पाहिले.

    माझा एक चुलत भाऊ त्या वेळेस पोलीस खात्यात संभाजी पूल पोलीस चौकी मध्ये पोलीस उप निरीक्षक होता. चौकी लाकडी खोक्यात बनवलेली होती आणि पाण्या वर तरंगत चित्रशाळा चौका पर्यंत आली होती. संभाजी पुलावर जवळ जवळ ८ ते १० फुट उंचीवरून पुराचे पाणी वाहात होतें. १४ जुलाई रोजी सकाळी माझ्यां पोलीस उप निरीक्षक भावा सोबत संभाजी पुलावर गेल्याचे आठवते. पूल लष्कराच्या ताब्यात होता पण मी भावा सोबत पुलाच्या मध्या पर्यंत जाऊ शकलो. पुलाच्या Cement Concrete Slabs उखडून नदी पात्रात पडल्या होत्या ज्या नंतर कित्येक वर्षे तशाच नदी पात्रात पडून होत्या हे बरयाच लोकांना पाहिल्याचे आठवत असेल.
    पुणे शहराला अत्यंत अवकळा आली होती. पुरासोबत मोठ्या प्रमाणात लाल माती वाहून आल्याने पुण्यात त्या वेळेस चिखलाचे साम्राज्य होतें. पूरग्रस्ताना अनेक शाळां मध्ये आश्रय देण्यात आला होता. आजही आठवण आली की पानशेत पुराची ती दृश्ये डोळ्या समोर उभी राहतात.

  30. Amit Paranjape said, on July 12, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Thanks Parag.

  31. Amit Paranjape said, on July 12, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Thanks Chandrashekhar for the first hand account!

  32. Vasuki GS said, on July 12, 2012 at 9:27 am

    thanks Parag , Chandrashekhar. As a fellow witness, I could visualise your experience. We pay homage to all departed souls.

  33. Amit Paranjape said, on July 12, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Thanks Vasuki!

  34. Ashwin Panemangalore said, on July 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Dear Amit

    I stumbled upon your blog on Panshet while thinking about the wet horrifying day of 12th July 1961 and the dry skies of July 2012 when we are yearning for a little rain which wont come What a strange way for Pune to change

    As a student at COEP it rained the whole week preceding that fateful day and we spent time in the hostel playing bridge in the evenings as it poured It was college as usual for us that morning little knowing that floodwaters would engulf us soon Classes were closed as the news came in and we hurriedly cycled to the Sangam bridge little realizing the impact of what a flooded Mutha can do The sight was frightening Cascades of ever rising waves were bringing in broken pieces of roofs of houses, furniture and household belongings I shuddered to think it might carry people and children too The rapidly rising waves soon engulfed the bridge and entered the bungalows on the banks We retreated to our Met Dept building and came back to the Mech Dept only to see the Mula had breached its banks The Hydraulics Dept was submerged and water was coming on to the library Fortunately the Mech Dept with its higher level ground floor was spared however the Boilers on the lower floors were not
    We went to the hostel and then ventured out to Deccan Of course it was impossible to go on JM Road which was a sea We then managed to get towards higher ground on FC Road It was completely chaotic as everybody was out People were trying to move their belongings to higher floors to escape the flood waters It was continuing to rain

    The next day I ventured out again the waters had receded Lakdipul was unrecognizable I found tons of a fine mud like brown substance deposited all over Deccan It was gruesome i thought this will take months to clean up Will it ever be possible I thought The picture across the river was even more devastating It resembled a WW II scene we used to see in the war movies

    Going back to the hostel we went to college and crossed to the Sangam Two spans of the bridge were gone But the Railway and road bridge across were mercifully intact The Principal declared college and the hostel closed for a month We went back to our respective home towns catching whatever train we could A month later when we returned Pune had come back to near normal We could see the flood lines in each of the houses everywhere with a little evidence of the devastation at many places Our machines in the college lab were all cleaned up and running The Hydraulics and Mech Depts were back and it was work and play as usual Puneites had recovered remarkably The government was generous with people giving them land and places to stay which today have become very pricey

    Soon Panshet was forgotten and for the next generation it was only a vague story

    The Commissioner and the Police Chief were unceremoniously sacked for being away from duty on that day We were sad to hear that the Chief Engr committed suicide for no fault of his Today, when I see politicians grossly misusing and plundering water with impunity and Puneites wasting water in times of scarcity I wonder where has the conscience gone

  35. Rahul Sharadkumar Patwardhan said, on July 26, 2012 at 10:14 am

    ” Panshet blog ” is a great effort at spreading awareness about our collective past, especially the natural disasters which have brought out the best and worst in human sensitivity and nature .Amit , it would be a step ahead if the blog starts featuring the popular literature ( books, authentic accounts of legal/political issues, interviews, reports, public speeches etc.) written and published about the Panshet dam burst. Noted marathi writer Pra.Ke.Atre was at his hard-hitting best while criticising the responsible persons in his humourous style.There can be many many collections of views and opnions like this.

  36. Amit Paranjape said, on July 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Rahul – Thanks for the comment. Yes, would be great if we can collect more links/material and post it online. Hope readers can contribute more links. Thanks.


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