Parts of Pune city were inundated on Thursday following a major breach in the right wall of the Mutha canal, causing damage to homes situated along the Mutha riverfront area.Rescue teams and Fire department authorities, who rushed to the spot said there was no loss of life and that all people who were in harm’s way had been evacuated.According to authorities, the wall of the canal’s right bank caved in sometime after 10:30 a.m. in the morning, leading to flooding inside hundreds of shanties and slums in the city’s Parvati area, affecting more than 5,000 residents living in these parts. “The situation is under control now. The flow of water reduced by late noon,” said a fire department official.Irrigation department officials immediately stopped further discharge of water from the Khadakwasla dam — one of Pune’s lifelines — to the canal following the breach and said the matter was being investigated.Angry residents Angry residents surrounded Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak when she visited the homes of those afflicted. “All our utensils and savings have flown away. If this had occured at night, it might have led to great loss of life. The city’s politicians only come to us for votes during election time, but are least bothered in maintaining any infrastructure,” said an irate resident.Ms. Tilak however said that the Pune civic body had, in the pas,t warned the Irrigation Department authorities about repairing the canal wall, but the Irrigation authorities allegedly failed to take cognizance of it.“The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) will do everything to provide respite to those afflicted by this incident. We will make provisions for lodging those residents in temporary homes whose shanties have been destroyed by the discharge. We will make sure they are recompensed,” said Mayor Tilak.Smaller mud homes and tin-shed shanties across a 12-km stretch from the areas around the Khadakwasla dam to the Dandekar bridge were hit by the breach. Police personnel, who rushed to the spot, stopped traffic along the Dandekar bridge which remained submerged owing to the sudden flooding.“This is sheer negligence on part of authorities. The canal wall caved in owing to the tremendous force of the discharge from the Khadakwasla dam. The discharge has been going on at the rate of an excessive 1200 cusecs of water for more than a month. The question arises as to who authorized this discharge which could have proven fatal,” said noted city-based environmentalist and RTI activist Vivek Velankar, speaking to The Hindu.Demanding an explanation from the irrigation authorities for the sheer lack of maintenance of the structure, Mr. Velankar noted that the decision to release water was all the more mystifying as the city’s water needs were satisfied for the moment and the rains had stopped.“Currently, the city requires only 300 cusec of water to fulfill the needs of those living in the Cantonment area. So, what was the motive behind this excess discharge which put strain on the canal walls?” he said.The 140 km-long Mutha canal built during the period of the British Raj, which conveys the water from the Khadkwasla dam to Indapur tehsil, has scarcely been subject to audits on part of the State of civic body authorities. “This incident clearly proves the lack of any frequency audits to check the condition of the canal wall. The prime reason for this negligence is the eternal conflict between the State Irrigation Department and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) with both bodies passing the buck when it comes to maintenance of any structure,” said RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar, speaking to The Hindu.
As actor Tanushree Dutta — who has made allegations of sexual harassment against veteran actor Nana Patekar — began to find support from within the film industry, his lawyer Rajendra Shirodkar sent her a legal notice.Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Shirodkar said, “We have sent a legal notice to Ms. Dutta today in the evening denying all allegations made by her and seeking a written apology. If she does not respond to the same, we shall take further action which can either be filing for criminal defamation or a suit for damages.”The actor has claimed that she was sexually harassed by Mr. Patekar on a film set in 2008 — with choreographer Ganesh Acharya, producer Sami Siddiqui and director Rakesh Sarang being complicit. She also said that members of Raj Thackeray’s political outfit Maharashtra Navnirman Sena encircled and damaged her car when she attempted to leave the set with her parents. Ms. Dutta is said to have filed a complaint with the Cine and Television Artistes’ Association (CINTAA) shortly after the incident. A statement from Ms. Dutta to The Hindu said, “A man who is claiming to be Nana Patekar’s advocate is calling up people close to Tanushree and media houses alike threatening to drag Tanushree to court for speaking up. Even after 10 years Nana Patekar is still harassing Tanushree Dutta with legal threats and intimidation tactics while the whole world is watching.”Standing in solidarityFormer broadcast journalist Janice Sequeira has corroborated Ms. Dutta’s account. Ms. Sequeira tweeted what she had witnessed while covering a behind-the-scenes account of a song shoot on the day. Shyni Shetty, then an assistant director, also wrote a personal account of what transpired on the day, partly confirming both Ms. Dutta’s and Ms. Sequeira’s accounts.Farhan Akhtar tweeted, “This thread is very telling. @janiceseq85 was there at the time of the incident being debated today. Even when #TanushreeDutta had career concerns to keep quiet 10 years ago she did not & her story hasn’t changed now. Her courage should be admired, not her intention questioned.” Retweeting Farhan Akhtar, Priyanka Chopra tweeted, “Agreed..the world needs to #BelieveSurvivors”Twinkle Khanna tweeted, “A working environment without harassment and intimidation is a fundamental right and by speaking up this brave woman helps pave the way towards that very goal for all of us!”Siddharth Suryanaryan wrote on Twitter, “Reporting abuse is traumatic. To be analysed in public for it is torture. To have some bastard suggest the woman is doing it for attention is inhuman. You always give the victim benefit of the doubt. Enough with shaming! Innocent men will overcome any accusation!” Apurva Asrani tweeted, “Sad. My people don’t think twice about raising their voice for the West’s #MeToo movement, but sit silent, promoting each other’s films, whilst #TanushreeDutta fights a lone battle against #NanaPatekar. Too many skeletons in too many closets. A #HouseOfCards waiting to collapse…”Richa Chadha said, “No woman wants publicity that opens the floodgates of trolling and insensitivity. What happened to her on set was intimidation. Her only fault was she didn’t back down — takes a special courage to be #TanushreeDutta.” Raveena Tandon tweeted, “When our industry fails to stand for and protect its own. They get their chance and lose it. Makes our films on women empowerment hollow. The deafening silence on #TanushreeDutta case is sickening.”Parineeti Chopra tweeted, “Survivors… have dealt with something horrible and come out on the other side. So believe them, respect them.”
Veterans Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, along with their respective partners, advanced to the third round of the Wimbledon mixed doubles event after notching up straight-set second-round wins here.Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi won their respective mixed doubles second round matches. APBhupathi and his Russian partner Elena Vesnina, seeded fourth, beat Australians Stephen Huss and Anastasia Rodionova 6-2, 7-6 (3), while 14th seeds Paes and Zimbabwe’s Cara Black got the better of the Dutch-Polish team of Rogier Wassen and Alicja Rosolska 6-1, 6-4.But it was curtains for Somdev Devvarman in the men’s doubles event after he and Japan’s Kei Nishikori lost 3-6, 4-6, 6-7 (5) to the sixth seeded French-Serbian combine of Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonjic in the second round Monday.Bhupathi and Vesnina will now be facing an American-Belarussian combination of Eric Butorac and Olga Govortsova.On the other hand, Paes and Black will be up against the winners of the second-round match between the third seeded Serbian-Slovak pair of Nenad Zimonjic and Katarina Srebotnik and local favourites Ross Hutchins and Heather Watson.