A day after intense showers ravaged several parts of Pune district, Guardian Minister Chandrakant Patil faced the ire of citizens on Friday, even as the death toll across the district rose to 18.Speaking here after surveying the worst-hit spots in the city and the district, Mr. Patil blamed illegal constructions and encroachments for the flash deluge that resulted in massive damage to property and loss of life.“Illegal constructions and encroachments on various canals have diverted the natural flow of streams, which led to water entering residential societies and wrecking property. The causes for these constructions have to be investigated. Moreover, why weren’t basic security measures followed at the time of these constructions?” Mr. Patil asked. Team to probe disasterHe said a team comprising senior IAS officials would be constituted to investigate the disaster. He also said all relief measures for the rain-affected in Pune would be applicable under the government resolution (GR) issued at the time of the Kolhapur and Sangli floods.On Thursday, when the city was coping with the rain damage, the Guardian Minister was in Delhi to iron out the seat-sharing issues between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena for the elections.Earlier, irate protesters blocked Mr. Patil’s convoy near Tangewala Society in Aranyeshwar area, prompting him and his entourage to leave the spot after barely 15 minutes. Five people died after the society’s compound wall collapsed owing to the relentless downpour. Protesters demanded to know what Mr. Patil was doing in Delhi when the city was being battered by flash floods.Urging him to go back, they said the Guardian Minister’s belated visit was merely a photo opportunity.Mr. Patil said those heckling him were mere “troublemakers” hired by the opposition parties. “There were no problems whatsoever. I was [at Tangewala Society] for 20-25 minutes. Genuine citizens told me about their problems. The rest were troublemakers hired by opposition parties.” He said because the model code of conduct is in place for the Assembly elections, he was compelled to put things before the aggrieved citizens in a restrained manner.Toll up to 18Meanwhile, the death toll across the district rose to 18 with at least four people still missing. There were unconfirmed reports of two more bodies being recovered, indicating a likely rise in the number of the deaths.More than 3,000 people in the city are lodged in transit camps, while teams of the fire department and nearly 2,000 municipal workers carried out cleanliness drives and relief operations.Despite the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) warnings of likely heavy rain on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday, the weather remained calm throughout the better part of Friday. Schools and colleges across the city and four other tehsils of the district remained shut following a precautionary directive of the Pune District Collector.According to a release issued on Friday afternoon, the IMD has forecast light to moderate rain on Friday night to be followed by light rain over the weekend.
The controversy generated over players auction in the IPL 4 on Saturday and Sunday, threatened to snowball into a major controversy after Sourav Ganguly, former Indian captain, was left unsold after the two-day auction.SRK says that KKR cannot be complete without Ganguly.Along with some other greats, the former Kolkata Knight Riders captain went unsold, sparking protests in his home town Behala and at other places in West Bengal.On Monday, when Headlines Today asked the question ‘Have the IPL team owners done an injustice to Sourav Ganguly by not bidding for him?’, the reactions came on expected lines. That team owner Shah Rukh Khan tried to soothe the ruffled feathers by extending an olive branch to one of the most successful captains was no solace to the furious fans. Sourav’s omission has sparked a heated debate over the crash commercialization of the sport at the expense of its beauty.An angry Somnath Chatterjee, former Lok Sabha Speaker, told Headlines Today, “What is the expertise of people who are deciding the worth of players? There is too little of sport and too much of commerce in IPL.””There is something wrong in deciding who are useful players. Sourav being dubbed useless is very surprising. If playing ability is criteria, Dada should have been bought,” Chatterjee said, asking, “what is the criterion (of the selection), as unknown players are being offered huge sums.”Former captain Kapil Dev, who is known for calling a spade a spade, said, “I wouldn’t have accepted SRK’s olive branch.”advertisementFormer selector Kiran More said, “After the snub, Sourav shouldn’t accept mentorship.””On purely cricketing grounds, Sourav should have been bought. I was surprised at Sourav being ignored at the IPl auction. Ganguly has a big fan following, which can’t be ignored,” added Kapil Dev.And there were tweets from Ganguly’s fans that told of the murky world cricket threatens to become.”I cannot imagine Ganguly, being left out. There’s definitely more than meets the eye,” writes Rhythm.Sagarika Deb, said, “Almost all the franchisees stood against ONE powerful man, Sourav Ganguly.””Dada’s our God. Without him it’s like temple without God,” Shankar Sampath tweets.Ganguly is a legend and an icon of Indian cricket, should not be ill-treated like this, says G.Ravi Kanth.T. Mehta tweeted: “Now it seems like KKR is like a box of chocolates without a chocolate & wrapper.”